Gambling addictions become a problem when they impact negatively on your employment, finances, relationships, health or personal goals.

Counselling can assist with the psychological aspects of addiction including exploring the behavioural and emotional causes of addiction. Problem gambling can exacerbate if left untreated and may go on to affect your family members, work situation and social life.

If you or a family member notice gambling behaviour that shows signs of an addiction, it might be time to access gambling support services available at New Vision Psychology. Our counsellors can work in conjunction with other health specialists to achieve the best outcome for problem gamblers.


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Signs of a Gambling Addiction

  • Constantly being short of money.
  • Borrowing money regularly.
  • Secretive about spending habits.
  • Unpaid bills.
  • Taking sick days to gamble.
  • Unexplained absences from work or social occasions (to go gambling).
  • – Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Claiming to win more on gambling than losing.
  • Change in work performance.
  • Increase in social withdrawal.
  • Needing to gamble more to achieve the same level of excitement.
  • ‘Chasing’ losses.

Feelings of shame and remorse may occur for those who have gambling addictions. This may prevent problem gamblers from accessing support. Psychologists at New Vision Psychology provide an understanding and non-judgemental environment when exploring your gambling issues.

Problem gamblers may be aware that their gambling behaviour is irrational and ‘doesn’t make sense’. They are aware that the odds are against them. They also recognise that their losses have a significant negative impact on their finances, and causes instability in their lives. Despite this, problem gamblers may continue to gamble to ‘chase’ their losses, with feelings of desperation, and trying to regain their money.

Gambling addiction generally stems from wanting a feeling of excitement and escape. A gambling addiction can create an ongoing cycle, with a constant battle with oneself to reduce gambling. Stopping problem gambling can be incredibly difficult. This is why problem gamblers can benefit from the help of professionals.

Addiction Counselling with New Vision Psychology

At New Vision Psychology, psychologists and counsellors look to proven methods to assist clients with their addiction. Psychologists explore the underlying reasons for the use, the triggers and patterns of use, to help identify the problem and break the habit. Our psychologists and counsellors will discuss realistic goals with clients, with a recognition that abstinence may not necessarily be the goal for some clients.

Proven clinical methods of understanding the issue include the use of:

  • ‘Motivational Interviewing’ (to assess the stage and readiness for change, and to assist with increasing motivation for change).
  • ‘Harm Minimisation’ principles (to minimise the harm caused by the continued use).
  • ‘Relapse Prevention’.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (to explore the thoughts and behaviours that maintain use, and replace these with more helpful thoughts and behaviours).

New Vision Psychology counsellors have extensive experience working in counselling, using a wide range of evidence-based frameworks and therapeutic methods. A key principle of our therapy is to work collaboratively with clients to meet their individual needs. This is achieved through working with the therapeutic method that best suits the needs of the individual client across multiple counselling sessions.

Some of these methods include, but are not restricted to:

  • Client centred approach
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Psycho-education
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Interpersonal Therapies
  • Solutions-Focused Therapies
  • Psycho-dynamic approaches

New Vision Psychology provides counselling services for gambling addiction. Our addiction counsellors can provide an assessment on your gambling behaviour and your general mental health. Face to face counselling is available, however we are also happy to spend time with you over the phone to discuss your particular situation and explore how our psychological services can get you the gambling support that you need.

Problem gamblers are able to access help for their gambling behaviour through a variety of avenues including online supports, through group support settings (like Gamblers Anonymous) and through individual psychological support.

Some clients prefer a combination of these supports to best meet their needs.

Gambling becomes a concern if/when the following occurs:

  • there is a need to gamble more and more to maintain interest.
  • when there have been repeated and unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling.
  • when people being to ‘chase’ their losses.
  • if you find yourself lying about the amount of money spent on gambling.
  • when gambling is impacting on significant relationships such as with family, fiends and colleagues.
  • when gambling causes financial stress, and the delay in the payments of household bills.

Problem gambling is very distressing for partners, who may feel powerless and unable to help with gambling behaviours. Trying to get your partner to attend counselling may be difficult, and you may have tried many ways to get them to attend.

If your partner agrees, we are happy to give them a call to discuss how counselling might benefit them.

Gambling behaviour, if severe enough, can be classified as an addiction. As with all addictions, it becomes very difficult for the person to stay abstinent. Counselling often helps a person identify and address the underlying causes that maintains your gambling addiction, as well as develop specific strategies to help you identify emotional triggers and work on staying abstinent. Getting professional help will most certainly improve your chances of success.

Case Studies

John has come to counselling because over the years, he has lost a lot of money on gambling. He says that he could have had a house deposit by now if he hadn’t been gambling.

On top of the financial loss, John says that his gambling goes hand-in-hand with drinking too much and smoking. He is now in his late 30s, and feels that it is time for him to stop these behaviours, and have leisure time in more healthy ways.

Gambling can range from less serious gambling behaviours (like social gambling), to the more chronic behaviours that can be classified as a psychological disorder. Some criteria required to meet the definition of a Gambling Disorder include:

  • The need to increase the amount of money gambled to achieve excitement.
  • Irritable when trying to reduce or stop gambling.
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling.
  • Frequent thoughts about gambling (such as thinking about past gambling wins, planning the next time to go gambling, or thinking of ways to get money to gamble).
  • Gambling when feeling upset or sad.
  • ‘Chasing’ losses, where you gamble more to win back what has been lost.
  • Lying to loved ones about the amount of gambling.
  • Gambling causes a negative impact on important areas of life, like in relationships, work and finances.
  • Borrowing from others to gamble, or to pay gambling debts.

In the first session, the psychologist helps to uncover the extent of John’s gambling behaviour, and whether it can be classified as a ‘disorder’. Sessions are then tailored to meet John’s needs and include looking at triggers, gambling habits, and finding healthy alternatives to gambling.