What is Gambling Counseling?

What happens in gambling counseling? What help can you expect? What questions can you ask, and what questions will the counselor ask you? Let’s find out if counseling for gambling […]

online gambling counseling

What happens in gambling counseling? What help can you expect? What questions can you ask, and what questions will the counselor ask you? Let’s find out if counseling for gambling addiction is something for you or if you prefer an alternative.

What Happens in the First Session?

People attending their first gambling addiction counseling session are often scared because they feel out of control. They know gambling hurts them, but they don’t understand why they can’t stop gambling.

A common reaction is that the person starts talking about their gambling, their life, and their feelings. Sometimes, it’s a relief when someone just listens to us. Listening is what counselors do best! Don’t worry about the structure of the conversation, what questions to ask, or what questions you might get. That first meeting is about creating trust and rapport (fancy word for connection) between you, too. If you don’t know what to say, the gambling counselor is experienced in asking exploring questions like:

  • How come you sought help today?
  • How does it feel when you’re gambling?
  • When did it all start?
  • How do you feel now?

Notice how there is no judgment in the questions. Counseling is about exploring the situation and your options. Here are a few common questions people ask:

  • How do I handle cravings to gamble when they feel overwhelming?
  • Is it normal to feel guilty and ashamed about my gambling?
  • Can you teach me techniques for managing stress and anxiety without resorting to gambling?
  • How can I rebuild trust with my family and friends after lying about my gambling?
  • How do I cope with cravings to gamble between counseling sessions?

Sometimes, the entire first session is just a long monolog. The person is talking, and the counselor listens. At other times, the monolog is short; most of the time, the first session is spent planning what to do next.

What happens next?

So, you did that first session; well done! Getting to that first session is often the hardest part. You set up a plan for your gambling recovery at the end of the first session or during the upcoming sessions. The counselor will help you with:

  • Help you understand what is going on
  • Creating coping strategies
  • Help you work on various areas of your life
  • Advice on how to deal with the consequences of your gambling (debt, relationships, health, etc.)

Together, you decide on a schedule and what to focus on first. Gambling addiction can be lonely because there is shame, guilt, fear, and pride involved. But when you take the step to seek help, you’re not alone anymore! Your problem gambling counselor is on your side!

Common Questions About Gambling Counselling

Can gambling counseling really help me overcome my addiction?

In counseling for gambling, you get tips and advice from someone who has worked with many in the same situation as you. You get someone to talk with and someone who can help you develop a plan to stop gambling. Attending gambling counseling will increase your chances of a successful recovery.

How long is a counseling session?

Sessions usually last between 35-60 minutes.

How often do I have gambling counseling sessions?

From experience, most people benefit from weekly sessions. It gives you time to work between sessions and the comfort of knowing that the next session is not far away.

How long before I can see improvement?

Stop gambling altogether takes time, but you’ll feel progress within a few sessions.

Can family members or loved ones participate in the counseling sessions?

Support is important so that significant others are encouraged to be part of the process as appropriate.

What happens if I experience a relapse?

Relapse is common in gambling. It’s part of the process to become gambling-free. You can even benefit from a relapse if treated like an opportunity to learn. If you want to know more about how to handle a relapse, Please check out the gambling relapse guide.

Will I have to stop gambling completely to benefit from counseling?

Most counselors will not work with you if you don’t want to stop gambling. However, there are alternatives to counseling; see the header below.

Can online counseling be as effective as in-person counseling for gambling addiction?

In our experience, it doesn’t matter if you meet in person or online. The key is to attend the session. If you’re more comfortable sharing and talking when you sit at home, online gambling counseling might work better for you. If you need that commitment to go somewhere to attend the session, then in-person counseling is better for you.

How to find a gambling counselor?

The fastest way to find a gambling counselor is to call a local gambling hotline. In some countries, there is free gambling counseling available through these hotlines. You can also use Google or choose one of the online gambling counselors we collaborate with below.

Paid or free counseling?

Naturally, free sounds good. But like anything, the most skilled people don’t work for free. If you struggle with gambling, you likely lose a lot of money. When you choose a support service, compare the cost of your current gambling to the temporary cost you pay for help. What would it be worth never to spend money on gambling again? Another argument to pay for help is that you get help quicker. Unfortunately, it might take some time before free gambling counsel is available.

Alternatives to gambling counseling

If you come this far and still hesitate about problem gambling counseling, there are some alternatives to consider. The most common reasons people don’t seek help (for any addiction or problem) are fear, pride, shame, and the thought that I can do this on my own. So what are your options?

Online gambling support

Online is a beautiful world because you can be completely anonymous. You can find online gambling support on platforms like this. Online, you can

  1. Do things on your own
  2. Do things from home (don’t need to go to any meetings)
  3. You don’t need to admit any problems to anybody
  4. Choose the level of support you want

Another advantage of online gambling support is that it’s available 24/7. By joining a community, you’re not alone anymore. QuitGamble.com has 6,500 members with gambling problems. In the community, you can find people to chat with and ask questions. 

Gambling coaching

We offer gambling coaching on QuitGamble.com. The coaching is similar to counseling, but instead of talking to a counselor or therapist, you get access to the founder of QuitGamble.com.

The coaching is oriented around 4 steps.

  1. Helping understand the causes of the addiction. (Gambling is rarely about winning.)
  2. Learning coping strategies and start working on the underlying cause of the addiction. Examples could be building self-confidence and learning ways to deal with stress and boredom.
  3. Deal with the consequences gambling has had. For instance, we work with debt, relationships, and health and set goals for the future.
  4. Help you create a better life. In the last step, we work with personal coaching to help you improve in critical areas of your life. You may want that promotion or learn a particular skill.

Gambling coaching aims to help you become the person you want to be. Stopping gambling is just part of that.

Gambling Therapy Center

Suppose you want to go all in on your gambling addiction recovery. You can sign up for a gambling therapy center. In a recovery center, you get access to group meetings and therapy sessions, and you’re cut off from the outside world for a few weeks or months. The idea is to give you intensive therapy and support while at the same time eliminating the risk that you gamble.

Only a few countries offer these services for free since they’re rarely publicly funded. Going to a gambling recovery center can be expensive, but if you have the means, it might give you the support you need to stop gambling.

Read More

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  • This article focuses on how you can protect yourself from a gambling spouse. If you want to read about support for spouses of gambling addicts, we can recommend our extensive guide how to help a gambling addict, or read an interview with a gambler’s daughter, use these links.

  • What is Gambling Counseling?
  • What happens in gambling counseling? What help can you expect? What questions can you ask, and what questions will the counselor ask you? Let’s find out if counseling for gambling […]

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