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Pathological Gambling Interventions for the Family
Gambling continuing education psychologist CEUs

Section 4
Track #4 - Interventions - Goals, Rehearsals & Contingency Planning

CEU Question 4 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Gambling
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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On the last track we discussed raising bottom.  In my practice, I find that the addict must ‘hit bottom’ and want to change.  Methods for raising bottom include no more bailouts, continued emotional support, deciding when to bail out, and knowing what to expect. 

On this track we will discuss interventions.  As you know, this type of confrontation involves the leadership of a trained professional and incorporates the help of a ‘team’ of people close to the gambler. This track will cover goals of the intervention, rehearsals and contingency planning, and the effectiveness of intervention.

As you may already know, accepted percentages of the effectiveness of intervention is between thirty and fifty percent.  As you listen to this track, you might consider playing it in an upcoming session for the family member of a gambling addict. Would playing this track in a session with a friend or family member be beneficial?

Three Steps of Interventions

Share on Facebook Step #1 - Goals of the Intervention
First, let’s discuss goals of the intervention.  Would you agree that the strength of the intervention process comes in the numbers it musters?  Every person in the gambler’s life who means anything to him can be gathered in one place with the gambler and asked to tell how the gambler’s behavior has affected him or her negatively.  Do you recall Sandra and John from track 2?  Sandra decided to stage an intervention for John. 

I stated to Sandra, “The atmosphere of the meeting is not one of grievance but of support.  When you talk about the intervention with John’s family and friends, advise them that they are not there to complain about what his behavior is doing to them, but to communicate to him that his behavior is affecting others.  This is important, because many addicts see their gambling as a personal thing only.

"When an addict says, ‘I don’t have a problem,’ what he is really saying is, ‘I don’t have a problem that bothers you, so get off my back.’  When an intervention succeeds in impressing upon the gambler that his behavior is indeed affecting other people, the gambler’s defenses may begin to break down.  Denial can then turn into acceptance.”

Do you agree that interventions can be a productive method for helping a gambler cope with and accept his or her problem?  I find that when enough of a gambler’s family, friends, and coworkers gather in a nonjudgmental way to just tell the gambler the facts by saying ‘we care about you and we want you to get some help,’ it can be a powerful process. 

Share on Facebook Step #2 - Rehearsals and Contingency Planning
Next, let’s discuss rehearsals and contingency planning.  Sandra stated, “It sounds pretty simple.”  I responded, “An intervention is no slapdash affair.  It involves the coordination and planning by a professional, and will probably include rehearsals. Gambling addicts, like alcoholics, can be unreasonable if they begin to feel threatened. Therefore, contingencies should be anticipated and planned for prior to the intervention. For example, if John gets upset and leaves, who would be the best candidate for going to get him and bringing him back? Who is going to speak first? Who should speak last? What are some possible treatment plans that might work for John?" 

Share on Facebook Step #3 - Effectiveness of Intervention
In addition to goals of intervention and rehearsals and contingency planning, let’s discuss the effectiveness of intervention.  Sandra asked, “How likely is it that an intervention is really going to help John?”  How might you have responded to Sandra? 

I stated, “The success rate of interventions is between thirty and fifty percent. But that’s thirty to fifty percent that wouldn’t get help otherwise. But keep in mind, it’s pretty much a one-shot deal. Due to the inherent drama and gravity which is characteristic of interventions, you’re pretty much limited to one chance, unless you try again years later.” 

Sandra then asked, “What do we do if the intervention doesn’t work?”  I stated, “Don’t give up.  Interventions aren’t for everyone.  As we have discussed if he has not hit bottom yet, he may not have felt a need to change.”  If we try it and it doesn’t work, we’ll just try something else until we find something that does work.” 

Think of your Sandra.  What other ways might there be for her to help a gambling addict hit bottom?

On this track we discussed interventions.  As you know, this type of confrontation involves the leadership of a trained professional and incorporates the help of a ‘team’ of people close to the gambler.  This track covered goals of the intervention, rehearsals and contingency planning, and the effectiveness of intervention.  As you may already know, accepted percentages of the effectiveness of intervention is between thirty and fifty percent.  As you listen to this track, you might consider playing it in an upcoming session for the family member of a gambling addict.

On the next track we will discuss teen gambling.  We will discuss complications unique to teens, such as lack of responsibility.  We will also discuss denial and financial motivation.  Finally, we’ll examine prevention. 

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 4
How effective are interventions? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Answer Booklet.

 
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