Sometimes, people do things that start out as fun but become a problem later. Gambling can be one of those things. People start gambling for a wide variety of reasons including, but not limited to: fun with friends; helping charities at work, school, or church: passing the time; or because it is a family tradition. Many people are able to decide that they have a certain amount of money and make a choice how to spend it; movie or gambling. For those who can go in with a relatively small amount of money and stop when it has been lost, and only do this occasionally, gambling may not be a problem. For others, the gambling starts to take over. It becomes inconceivable not to gamble. Based on a few wins, people start to get the mistaken belief that they can make money gambling. People start to spend more time thinking about how to get money for gambling and it starts to interfere with their family life or job performance. They start chasing their loses. At this point, the gambling is in control and it is time to get help.
If you are unsure if gambling is a problem for you, it may be useful to have a look at the Gambler’s Anonymous 20 questions.
Gambling problems can be addressed in therapy. I work first to determine my client's specific situation and assess the extent of the problem. I then work collaboratively with my clients to create a treatment plan designed to maximize the chances of returning to a life with excitement and meaning that goes beyond gambling. In addition to my other training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I have completed specialized training through the California Problem Gambling Treatment Services Program.
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