Problem gambling counselling in Cheadle, near South Manchester and Stockport

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling counselling in South Manchester Problem gambling occurs when an individual’s gambling has a negative impact on their relationships, their free time activities , their job as well as their mental health/self esteem. Problem gambling can result in relationship problems (lying, being secretive, relationship breakdown); problems at work (lying, losing your job); financial problems (being in debt, losing money/savings); mental health problems (low self esteem, feeling out of control, magical thinking).

Problem gambling is an addiction and, like other forms of addiction, it is a distraction from feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Gambling is a coping strategy which allows the gambler ,temporarily, to feel in control of their life/feelings. Ironically – in the absence of a healthier way- the addictive and compulsive gambling behaviour is an attempt to heal, to meet a need and to feel alive.

When does problem gambling start?

Problem gambling often starts in the teenage years - slot machines, scratch cards, going to the bookies with an older relative - then it progresses as the gambler gets older to roulette, casinos, online gambling as well as betting shops/bookies.

How can counselling help my gambling problem/addiction?

Counselling can help the gambler reconnect to, experience and manage in a healthy way their uncomfortable feelings (of powerlessness, helplessness, lack of control). Counselling can also challenge the false beliefs that maintain the gambling behavior as well as replacing these limiting beliefs with healthier, non destructive ones.

What are the limiting beliefs held by gamblers?

False beliefs Reality
  • Gambling relaxes me.
  • Gambling is a distraction from real life. Gambling causes a lot of stress in my life/relationships. When I gamble I lie/am secretive. I need to be honest with myself. Gambling is a way of dealing with negative emotions.
  • Gambling gives me a high.
  • The risk taking of gambling holds my attention, which temporarily relieves the symptoms of my poor concentration/restlessness. Ultimately gambling is self destructive and lowers my self esteem.
  • If I don't gamble, I'll feel empty/bored.
  • Money I've lost is owed to me.
  • The money I've lost belongs to the bookies/casino. I can't beat roulette.
  • Winning makes me feel special.
  • This is selective memory - not seeing the whole picture. As the number of times I've lost outweighs how often I've won. To be real I can't separate winning from losing.
  • Fantasising about spending the winnings is healthy.
  • This is magical thinking. In reality I have 1 in a billion chance of winning the lottery. Putting my energy into how I will spend the winnings is not real/unhealthy; it raises unreal unexpectations.
  • I can control my own luck.
  • Selective memory means that I don't remember the whole picture/reality. Focusing on the times I have won is not reflective of reality- focusing on the proportion of times won/lost is real.
  • Gambling helps me escape my problems.
  • Gambling causes many problems for me and my relationships. Gambling is a compulsion. I feel out of control with gambling. It lowers my self esteem. Gambling is not my friend.
  • Winning (money) will make me happy.
  • Happiness/contentment/fulfillment in life comes from close relationships, a fulfilling job, good health, high self esteem and passion for hobbies. Money/gambling won't make me happy.
  • The urge to gamble is overwhelming.
  • I can wait and think between having the urge to gamble and actually gambling. This will give me time to realise I have a choice about gambling or not gambling. I am in control of my actions/feelings.
  • I can lose money then carry on with my normal activities.
  • My body tells me how anxious I am- heart racing, body shaking, being forgetful, headaches. Often I can't sleep. My body is telling me that gambling is a big problem for me.
  • I'd lose my gambling friends.
  • These gamblers are not your friends. They are fellow addicts.
  • I've lost some money but it's ok I'll rectify it tomorrow . It's my turn to win.
  • Gambling will only get me in more debt. I need to be real to stop gambling. I need to be honest with myself and not lie to myself.

“The biggest part of healing or making ourselves whole is to accept all of ourselves, all the many parts of ourselves” Louise Hay