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Online counselling

What is online counselling?

Counselling is a safe, confidential therapy which involves talking through your situation and your feelings with someone trained to listen with empathy.

As well as face-to-face counselling, GamCare offers online counselling sessions via webcam (currently through software called Zoom - check for technical requirements). You can access this service through a PC, laptop, smartphone, iPad or Android tablet.

You will have an initial assessment with a counsellor to discuss what type of counselling is right for you, then you will be given a personalised plan and a regular appointment to attend each week. During your assessment you have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about how counselling works, and you can also familiarise yourself with Zoom before your regular session begin.

For gamblers

GamCare online counselling for gamblers is primarily delivered as a group, which gives you regular input from your counsellor as well as support from others with similar experiences. From our experience, we believe that this is really beneficial to your recovery.

Counselling offers you the chance to explore the causes of your gambling behaviour and the effects gambling has on your life, and helps put it in context of your life experiences. This can be a great start to helping you feel in control.

Your counsellor will help you explore and consider your life and relationships and will help you find the best method to deal with the effects that your gambling has. They will also work with you to help you make a sustained change to your gambling behaviour and support you during the process of change.

There may be occasions when we feel you would benefit from individual online counselling. This may be discussed with one of our counsellors at your initial assessment.

For friends and family

If you are affected by a friend or family member’s gambling, we can offer one-to-one online counselling support. Speaking to a counsellor can help you to explore the impact that gambling has on your life and to focus on your own needs. Please get in touch to find out how we can help you.

Who can receive online counselling?

GamCare provides confidential online counselling for anyone adversely affected by gambling over the age of 16 in England, Scotland and Wales.

How many sessions will I have?

GamCare usually offers 10 sessions of online group counselling, and up to six sessions for individual counselling.

Group sessions last an hour and a half and individual sessions are 50 minutes. Your live sessions are conducted on the same day and at the same time each week.

You are most likely to benefit if you can attend counselling therapy on a regular basis.

What does online group counselling look like?

Each week, your group will examine an element or theme around problem gambling. Group counselling is designed to support your recovery from problem gambling and reducing the harmful impacts associated with gambling.

The group is open to those who want to stop gambling as well as those who hope to control and reduce their gambling. The sessions will explore:

  • what leads to your gambling
  • how you can cope with situations that usually lead to gambling in a different way
  • how to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling
  • how to prevent and manage (re-)lapses

You will benefit most from the programme if you:

  • attend all sessions
  • are open about your experiences, struggles and (re-)lapses
  • actively participate in the discussions and exercises

You will be sent handouts via email before each session, which you are welcome to keep for future reference. The handouts may also contain some optional exercises.

We cover the following topics:

  • Setting and sabotaging goals
  • Reasons for gambling
  • Triggers and choices
  • High risk situations and set-ups
  • Cravings and urges
  • Dealing with difficult feelings (Part 1): The link between thoughts and feelings
  • Dealing with difficult feelings (Part 2): Anger and grief
  • Guilt and shame
  • Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries
  • Coping with stress

Once you have completed the programme, you can still access further one-to-one counselling if needed.

When does the online group take place?

We are currently offering this group on:

  • Mondays from 6pm - 7.30pm
  • Tuesdays from 6pm - 7.30pm
  • Wednesdays from 5pm - 6.30pm

Please note that if you are more than 10 minutes late without informing your counsellor, you may not be admitted to the group.

I think this might work for me, how can I register?

You can complete our online registration form or contact the HelpLine to register for counselling, and you can talk through the options available for you at your initial assessment.

If you are placed on our waiting list, we will email you when a space in the group becomes available. When registering, please provide an email address that you check regularly. To ensure confidentiality, please always provide your own email address.

Please note, GamCare counselling is not a crisis service. If you currently feel distressed or suicidal, before registering for our services please contact your GP, the Samaritans on 116 123 or the emergency services on 999.

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