I have worked in this area since 2001, but I’ve been a psychologist for over 20 years.
Many people who I’ve seen have never spoken before about their gambling problem. Gambling problems affect people from all walks of life; it doesn’t discriminate between status or socio-economic backgrounds. It affects people who have never before had issues with money or difficult behaviors as well as those who have a range of problems that co-exists with their gambling problem.
My role is to help them feel heard and supported in their journey to managing their problem gambling behavior and improving their quality of life. It is my job to help them understand the role that gambling is playing in their lives.
Often when people come to counselling for the first time and discuss this, they feel overwhelmed, confused and ashamed. They wonder how this could have happened to them, and what can they do to pull themselves out of the dark hole they are in?
My aim is to develop their awareness of what might be driving their gambling behaviour. I’m able to help them develop stress and anxiety management strategies and assist building up their self-esteem and self worth. Most importantly helping them to discover their own strengths and a sense of hope will allow them to live in a more fulfilled and joyful way. My job is done when they can walk away and feel confident in their ability to manage and deal with the stresses that life will throw at them.
There is no judgement here, only support and a place to unload all your worries and fears. No one has to do it alone. We are here to help.
I am always touched by people’s stories upon their first contact with Gambler’s Help Southern. I find it striking that so many people in our community find it difficult talking about their gambling as families and friends typically have difficulty understanding this issue. People often report feeling perceived as ‘stupid’ for gambling. While we have come some way in destigmatising mental health, drug and alcohol and other issues, I feel that excessive gambling is still a somewhat taboo conversation topic and therefore very isolating for people experiencing problems.
I hope that people I work with find me non-judgmental and open to really listening and getting to know them in order to work towards change. I endeavor to be responsive to their needs as an individual, while often incorporating an ‘Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’ (ACT) approach. This approach utilises mindfulness to support people to notice their thoughts and feelings and manage them more effectively so they have less impact on their lives.
It can be very daunting and confronting to sit and talk about ourselves. I strongly believe that change is very difficult without gaining some awareness of our own thoughts, emotions and habits. A good counselling relationship can provide a space to be supported while working through difficulties, in order to reflect on how different actions can lead to improvements in our lives.
I feel really privileged to get to work with people presenting with a diverse range of issues and experiences. It’s always so rewarding to share in the process of clients gaining significant insight into their past and present difficulties, and how they can break unhelpful patterns in their lives. I feel very fortunate to work in a team of incredibly knowledgeable and committed professionals who have a wealth of experience and are passionate about the work they do.
Every journey is different, and while for some clients a measure of success may be getting to a point where they no longer need counselling, for most people they experience frequent examples of progress during sessions. It’s always a pleasure to reflect on and validate the insights people gain throughout their counselling experience.
I work with people who are worried about their own gambling habits, or the gambling habits of a loved one.
Taking the first step to seek help is hard but coming along to speak to someone is often helpful in making a connection that offers hope for the future.
When someone is seeking help with their gambling issues, I offer them time and space to consider the role gambling is playing in their life. We question, how it is impacting on work, day to day living and relationships in order to help them consider what is possible.
Problem gambling counselling gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people; bear witness to client struggles and celebrate triumphs.
It’s very satisfying when clients report some change for the better or when they find a voice to speak about something they have struggled with.
I have been a counsellor with Gambler’s Help Southern for the past 18 years, supporting individuals, couples and families affected by a gambling problem. I have worked with people from various backgrounds, who beyond gambling, presented with a range of other challenging issues. I am particularly interested in working with couples and families.
It’s normal to hesitate when seeking help. Any new step we take in life can be challenging, including talking to a counsellor about our personal issues.
We are all in need of support at some stage of our life. Sometimes, family and friends are not there, or their support is just not enough. I see my role as an opportunity to talk about the person’s issues in a confidential and safe space without any judgment, to find hope for a better, happier road ahead.
Those who come for counselling will have an opportunity to talk about gambling and any other issues that might be affecting them and their loved ones. I take great interest in people I work with, getting to know them well so I can provide the best care for them. I assist them in getting to know themselves better too. Through finding out what they need and want, we can employ tools and strategies to bring about the desired change. The person is always in “the driver’s seat”, able to choose the pace, able to stop, ask for directions, explore the options and more. We work together, seeking the person’s views on what’s working and not working for them.
Those who come for counselling, often talk about “great relief” or “ a weight being taken off their shoulders” after the initial session. Some are surprised how much easier it was to talk to “a stranger” than to a family member who may be frequently critical and blaming.
I feel touched and privileged when another human being places trust in me by sharing and letting me into their personal world. I also feel proud of every person who walks into my room because of their effort to try, to give it a go. What gives me satisfaction is not only seeing people making positive changes, but seeing them trying, one step at a time, even after they’ve relapsed.
For me, doing my job well means that as a professional I have done everything I could to support the person achieve what they desired.
Speaking to a counsellor can often be the first step in making changes in our life. The first step in any endeavor is an important one.
My role is to work with people who are questioning their gambling behaviour or who want assistance to change their gambling behaviour. I also offer counselling to those who are being adversely affected by the gambling behaviour of someone else.
I work in a collaborative way. I consider that each person has inner resources that they can call on to make changes. Counselling can assist a person to recognise their own strengths and resources. Counselling can also assist a person to clarify their goals, to plan steps to achieve those goals and to maintain the motivation to make the changes they want to make.
We provide a supportive and respectful counselling space for you at Gambler’s Help Southern. Your autonomy is highly regarded. Many people find counselling helpful in developing and improving their lives.
I feel satisfaction when I see that a person is benefiting from the counselling process. This benefit may be different for each person but can include, taking steps towards achieving their goal, improved relationships or an increased sense of choice regarding an old pattern of behaviour.
When people want information or assistance for their community group, workplace, school or sports club, we work with them to come up with approaches that will suit their setting.
The gambling environment is changing fast – opportunities to gamble are all around us and advertising promotes it as the ‘normal thing to do’. It can be hard for people to stay up-to-date about how the activities work, the likelihood of losing money and the risks attached – but very easy for them to get caught up.
We work to get information about responsible gambling and problem gambling out into the community, to reduce and where possible, prevent gambling harm. Since problem gambling affects individuals, families, friends and whole communities, it’s relevant for everyone, whether or not they gamble themselves.
We explain about the help options available, whether they’re over the phone, online or face-to face. We explain how and where they’re able to access the different support services and resources. People are sometimes not aware of just how many ways there are to get help through Gambler’s Help Southern. Once they know, they can choose the one that’s right for them.
Our services are free, confidential and professional. We understand that it can feel daunting, but clients often tell us that, looking back, taking that first step to get help was when they started to take back control over their situation.
For us, preventing harm and encouraging people to seek help are both key. It’s very satisfying to share knowledge and resources and to see communities build on their own strengths and skills to improve their wellbeing.
I bring with me extensive experience in a diverse background of work with a range of training and strategies to work with individuals, couples and families in my role at Gambler’s Help Southern.
I work as a Therapeutic Counsellor with individuals, couples and families experiencing problem gambling. I have worked with people to overcome gambling in their lives since 2001.
Gambler’s Help Southern provides a safe space for people to sit and we can think together about what’s going on for them, what can change and how they can start that journey.
Often I’m seen as the last port of call for people who have tried to independently make change and often feel quite defeated by this problem of gambling. It is important to ‘hold the hope’ for people; to be able to think about what is going on for them and realise they can find a way out of this dark, murky and seemingly overpowering place in their life.
I offer knowledge around the nature of gambling, how it impacts on people and strategies for change. People often make change in steps and it may take more than one go to get to the place you want to be in your life
In this role I work alongside people experiencing pain, struggle and questioning what is of value to them. We work together for as long as needed to overcome their gambling issues and they feel more in control of how they want to be in their life.
I know that our help is working when people are able to think about what is happening for them and make choices in their life they are satisfied with. When they have put the gambling behind them and are embracing more of who they are in their life.