Counselling

On the basis of information obtained during the course of the assessment, there must be some discussion of the nature of the activity of gambling. Attention needs to be drawn to some of the snares involved, such as exaggerated ideas of the importance of skill (information from tipsters and various dubious numbers systems), as well as the subtle ways in which loss of control can occur. This will involve discussion about the processes of habit formation and may best be dealt with by a clinical psychologist.

The person whose gambling has become pathological and the spouse/partner should be encouraged to review their social relationships. In doing so, the involvement of a social worker can be helpful. This is especially so if there have been serious marital problems that predated the pathological gambling. In particular, the couple need to consider how they spend their spare time, what friends they cultivate, and what interests they pursue. It is often within specific settings that incitement to gambling has occurred in the past, and the couple need to make very careful arrangements to avoid such situations or, at least, to be prepared for them. They may be helped in achieving their objective if they draw up a joint contract, which spells out in detail those types of behaviour to be avoided as well as those to be encouraged. This needs to be reviewed regularly.

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