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On the last track we discussed exposure to gambling. We examined five methods of avoiding exposure to gambling. These included self exclusion, being near a gambling establishment, being in a gambling establishment, being alone in a gambling establishment, and receiving an invitation to gamble.
Think of your client. What single element contributes to the persistence of gambling habits more than any other? Clearly, it is the amount of money available. I find this fact is undeniable regarding each pathological gambler I have treated. For example, Tom actually stated, "The more money I have, the more I risk gambling it." Consequently, in addition to avoiding exposure to gambling, you might consider that your client restrict their access to money as much as possible.
Therefore, on this track we will discuss finances and relationships. Strategies for dealing with finances and relationships in the face of a gambling problem might include transferring management and the "Relationship Developing Technique." The three steps in the Relationship Developing Technique are to increase awareness of needs, focus on nurturing relationships which meet those needs, and journal positive relationship development. Could your client benefit from a technique like this? Perhaps playing this track during a session might be beneficial.
#1 Transferring Management
However, as you probably know, certain gamblers like Tom, may find it humiliating to give control of their finances to a close friend or relative. Therefore, Tom and I discussed the possibility of requesting the services of a financial consultant or an organization to learn how to establish a budget according to his income and current expenses. Tom’s financial consultant benefited him by accompanying him during procedures such as declaring bankruptcy. Tom stated, "I feel like my finances are finally getting back in order. It makes me think about gambling less because I don’t feel like I need a big win in order to be okay financially."
Think of your Tom. Could these strategies help put your client in a better position to undergo therapy?
#2 Four Additional Financial Strategies
I feel this can benefit clients for two reasons. First, ATM cards allow the gambler to place bets, buy lotto tickets, or get casino chips without manipulating money. Also, ATM cards help the gambler avoid considering his or her account balance when purchasing something.
-- 3. In addition to canceling credit cards and not carrying ATM cards, a third financial strategy is limiting access to the bank account by requesting that a cosigner be required for all cash withdrawals. Perhaps your client’s wife or husband might be able to help limit access to accounts.
But how can the gambler prove him or herself trustworthy enough to foster new relationships from the broken old relationships? This can be a vicious cycle for the gambler. Social isolation leads to a desire to gamble. Gambling leads to social isolation. In addition, gamblers find a sense of community among fellow gamblers within gambling establishments. Tom experienced difficulty with his relationships.
As mentioned in track 1, Tom had gotten divorced. Tom stated, "But not only did I lose my wife. I lost her family and I’ve become separated from my own!" Think of your Tom. How might your client overcome loneliness and develop relationships that can help him or her overcome a gambling problem?
Technique: Relationship Developing
On this track we discussed finances and relationships. Strategies for dealing with finances and relationships in the face of a gambling problem might include transferring management and the Relationship Developing Technique." The three steps in the Relationship Developing Technique are to increase awareness of needs, focus on nurturing relationships which meet those needs, and journal positive relationship development.
On the next track we will discuss attaining and maintaining abstinence from gambling. Three effective methods for attaining and maintaining abstinence from gambling are self help groups, photographs, and time management.
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