Pathologic Gambling Outpatient Counseling Program

Pathologic gambling's existence is widely recognized to occur especially in famous and common gambling establishments such as casinos. There are numerous reported cases of pathological gamblers who continue to do excessive and uncontrolled gambling activities.

The acknowledgement of pathological gambling in the community created a positive response to this disturbing behavior in which counseling centers are immediately created to accommodate the growing numbers of problematic gamblers. A pathologic gambler may be treated in an outpatient or inpatient program. The decision basically depends on the severity of the present crisis encountered by a pathologic gambler.

The scope of this article is however focused solely to discuss the coverage of the outpatient program to provide a basic overview of the program procedure commonly but not necessarily uniformly used among counseling centers. The initial treatment plan would be assessing the present problem. A pathologic gambler may be required to answer some questionnaires and undergo interview with a counselor. The extent and level of behavioral problem involving gambling is determined.

Family members are encourage and are usually a part of the treatment program. Detailed history is taken and education of both the patient and family members are undertaken. Reading and video materials are provided as supplemental reinforcement for the counseling program. The gambler is usually enrolled in a group therapy session where individual plans are created for each problem gamblers. Orientations and counseling for family members are done separately.

It would be prudent for a family member to cooperate in the counseling session in order to be enlightened on the nature and condition of the crisis their loved ones are going through. The counseling aims to motivate family members to exert unconditional support and help that will aid the vital recovery of their loved ones who are victims of gambling addiction.

Lectures and meeting sessions are included in the treatment program where education plays a major impact to problem gamblers. They will also be taught of withdrawal process from their gambling activities. The length of treatment involved usually takes longer than 6 months but the duration of counseling session greatly varies. The outpatient program is suitable for gamblers who have not manifested any medical instability and counseling is still possible to be absorbed by a gambler.

The counseling structural program includes laying out plans that can help a pathologic gambler cope with financial distress. It involves the family members especially the gambler's significant other who is greatly affected by the financial burden a pathologic gambler may have created.

Once a pathologic gambler successfully completed the counseling sessions, a follow-up treatment is included in the program that helps monitor the once pathologic gambler's progress of overcoming their gambling problems. Hence, the cooperation of both the family members and the pathologic gambler themselves play a vital role on the success of every outpatient counseling session.