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For Clinicians - Identification & Brief Interventions

Who is this training for?

You may be a psychiatrist, general practitioner, nurse or counsellor. You may already be seeing problem gamblers in you practice. It is commonly referred to as the hidden addiction. Often, it goes undetected during therapy. Some may come across it as the main presenting issue, but more often than not it occurs a long side other co-morbid presentations such as depression, anxiety and substance related disorders. We know through our 17 years of treatment and training the devastating affects problem gambling can have on gamblers and their families. This includes higher than average rates suicidal ideation.

Training Summary

Our Identification and Brief Intervention course for Clinicians is designed to help you improve the care and support provided in primary care. We offer practical screening tools, the skills to manage problem gambling in primary care and knowlegde of specialist services available. 

Problem gambling identification

Research has shown only small proportion of gamblers disclose their problem or seek counselling. This may be due to a number of reasons.

  • Shame, stigma
  • Not believing they have a problem
  • Lack of knowledge about counselling or other treatments available
  • Lack of trust/belief counselling can help
  • Desire to stop on their own

To encourage clients to engage in a relationship of trust and improve the practitioner’s confidence, it is essential counsellors/psychologists and health care professionals to improve their level of understanding, where they are able to recognise, screen, assess, diagnose, stabilise and refer clients to specialist services.

Changing world of Gambling

Problem gambling is not as well recognised as other substance-related disorders such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco addiction. The American Psychological Association highlighted the similarities between gambling these disorders in terms of clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, physiology and treatment in DSM V (2013). The new version of the manual has moved problem gambling from impulsive/compulsive behaviours into the same category as substance related disorders.

How we prefer to gamble has changed rapidly over the last decade. New platforms and ways of gambling are continuously on the move. The full impact of new media e.g. the internet, interactive TV and mobile and apps on problem gambling in society is an unknown factor.

Signs of Problem Gambling

The signs and symptoms of problem gambling are complex and various. A few examples are:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time gambling
  • Increasing the frequency of gambling
  • Continuing to gamble despite negative outcomes

Dealing with disclosure of a gambling problem

When a client discloses they have an issue with gambling, whether it be themselves or someone they know. The management of disclosure will be influenced by a number of factors:

  • Gambling may not be the client’s main presenting issue or the agreed goals of the sessions
  • Other substance related issues may take precedence
  • A lack of confidence of the therapist in how to work with the issue
  • Gambling related issue not taken as seriously as others “no one ever died of problem gambling”
  • Lack of knowledge of the support available for gambling related issues
  • Referral to non-specialist organisations

Treatment for problem gambling

In a generic counselling settings treatment of problem gambling can vary across the country. GamCare is the largest provider of a free problem gambling specific treatment service in Britain.

“Counselling is an opportunity for you to discuss issues or concerns with a professional in a safe, confidential, non-threatening, accepting environment. The counsellor's role is to assist you to resolve your own problems and explore options to make life choices clearer” – GambleAware

The NHS has identified a relationship between gambling and alcohol abuse, among other disorders.

“Specialised addiction services that focus mainly on substance misuse often also treat gambling problems. They use the same techniques to treat gambling addictions that they use to treat substance misuse.” –

GamCare provides a consistent, effective service provision to problem gamblers and affected others. The service includes a free national telephone/internet based helpline and counselling service.  Please follow link to find out more about services. The service we provide is shaped and maintained through its up to date training.

For Clinicians - Identification & Brief Interventions Application Form