Treatment for Problem Gambling
Free treatment, including counselling, is available to anyone in Ontario affected by gambling. This includes family members. Counselling can help people understand why they gamble, so they can stop, cut down or change their gambling. It can also help repair hurt feelings and regain trust with family members.
In most areas, an agency that offers specialized counselling for problem gambling is available close to home. In addition, telephone counselling and a self-help guide are also available. Credit and debt counselling services, family counselling and other resources may also be helpful. The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline can link people to the support and resources they need. It is open 24 hours a day.
Counselling for the person who gambles
People often ask if they will have to stop gambling to begin counselling. Only they can decide to quit gambling. A counsellor should not pressure the person to make changes before he or she is ready.
Gambling affects people and their families in different ways. Problem gambling counsellors provide information about gambling. They help people look at their options so they can decide what is right for them. This may include taking a break from gambling. Some people know right away what actions they want to take, and others aren’t sure. Either way, taking a break from gambling can help. Then the person can think about how gambling affects him or her, and how to get back in control.
Counselling is a learning process. With new information, people can make good decisions. Counsellors can help them solve their main problems. This may include fixing a financial situation, healing family relations and restoring trust between the person and his or her partner.
Counselling for family members
When someone has a gambling problem, it can be hard for other family members to find hope for the future. Counselling can help them see that things can change. It can also help them see their family’s strengths and the positive steps they may already be taking.
Adapted from problemgambling.ca © 2010 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health