Chapter 7
THE TREATMENT OF COMPULSIVE GAMBLERS

DAVID LESTER

COMPULSIVE gambling has been viewed as an addiction, and the compulsive gambler seen as being quite similar to the drug addict and the alcoholic. Thus, the therapeutic techniques applied to compulsive gamblers are similar to those tried on addicts; and similar kinds of problems exist in the treatment.

The major obstacle to treatment of the compulsive gambler is that he is usually unmotivated to change. Few gamblers admit that they have a problem and few seek treatment. Often, they are brought into treatment by a relative, normally a spouse, and so they are reluctant patients. Therapists have proposed very little in the way of special techniques to overcome this reluctance. They customarily have presumed motivated patients.

Let us first look at the views of those who have tried individual psychotherapy with gamblers.


INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY

Fink ( 1961) feels that the appropriate treatment for the compulsive gambler is similar to that used for other kinds of addicts. Fink stresses that the gambler needs love and tenderness, concern and interest, understanding and reassurance from the psychotherapist. The gambler needs to be told that he is important for himself, in his own right, and not for his gambling habit. He needs to learn that gambling is not necessary for his self-esteem and that material possessions are not a sign of superiority or excellence.

While Boyd and Bolen ( 1970) note that psychoanalytic psychotherapy is effective with gamblers, Barker and Miller ( 1968) note that individual psychotherapy is alleged to be of limited

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Gambling Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • CONTRIBUTORS vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 The Impact of Casino Gambling on a Small Town the Case of Atlantic City 3
  • References 11
  • Chapter 2 Economic Aspects of Gambling 12
  • Introduction 12
  • Conclusion 26
  • Chapter 3 Illegal Gambling a Brief Review of Law Enforcement Problems 30
  • Introduction 30
  • Conclusions 50
  • References 51
  • Chapter 4 Gamblers Disturbed or Healthy? 53
  • Abstract 68
  • References 68
  • Chapter 5 Why People Gamble - A Behavioral Perspective 71
  • References 83
  • Chapter 6 Why People Gamble a Sociological Perspective 84
  • Abstract 103
  • References 103
  • Chapter 7 The Treatment of Compulsive Gamblers 106
  • References 114
  • Chapter 8 Gamblers Anonymous 115
  • Conclusion 122
  • Appendix 124
  • Chapter 9 Gambling a British Perspective 127
  • Introduction 127
  • Conclusion 141
  • References 142
  • Author Index 143
  • SUBJECT INDEX 147
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