The most common technique employed by therapists is cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy is focused on specific problems and is usually not long-term in nature. This type of therapy allows patients to see the relationship between their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions and the resulting behaviour patterns and actions they take. With cognitive behavioural therapy the gambler will learn that his thoughts and feelings directly influence their responses to different situations. A good example of this is the gambler having a feeling that he is about to win, and so therefore he places a much bigger bet.
This form of therapy allows the addiction sufferer to realize that his thoughts and feelings directly influence the way he acts. This form of therapy also goes well with defining the true nature of chance to gamblers. When people that gamble better understand the concept of chance and luck, they will better understand their irrational thinking when it comes to gambling. Many therapists use the following example to teach the gambler about the true nature of luck. The therapist takes a large bowl of ordinary marbles and places one red marble in the bowl. The patient will be explained that if he closes his eyes and picks out the red marble he wins the jackpot.
The patient is also asked to guess if he will pick the red marble or not, he is also asked to estimate his chances of picking the red marble. After a few tries, the sufferer begins to learn about chance and how it is all random, there is no true way to guess what will happen.
With this example the person could choose ordinary marbles 50 times in a row without picking the red marble. Or he could choose the red marble on the first try and then not pick it again for 60 tries. There is no way to be sure what will happen. This example is very useful because it shows the gambler how he irrationally tries to guess what will happen next before he picks the marble. There is no way he can guess with any true accuracy what will happen when he picks a marble.
Because of irrational thinking many gamblers have lost thousands of dollars thinking they were just on the verge of winning. Because of this feeling they get they tend to bet much higher and place all their hopes on the next play. In therapy patients will also learn about VLT’s and how they truly work if the person has an addiction with video lottery terminals. For people with this addiction, you will learn about how these terminals were designed to make you addicted to them. The sounds they make, the colors they exhibit and the games themselves are designed to make you want to play more.
By giving you small gains every now and then and once in awhile a big payout the player will keep coming back for more. The player will press on the button for hours even if he keeps getting only small amounts because previously he has won a big payout. This form of conditioning is better explained in therapy. The therapist helps you learn about conditioning and how it is used by the designers of video lottery terminals. You are conditioned to expect small or large payouts on the machine, and despite getting a large amount of small payouts your conditioning makes you stay on the machine waiting for the big payout. When you do get a large payout you get a dopamine and adrenaline rush which also helps the conditioning process.
These machines were developed by mathematicians and experts in gambling addiction, so you can be sure that they were designed to make them addictive. People can often sit in front of these video lottery terminals for hours on end just waiting for the big payout.
Another form of therapy that is used to help treat gamblers is the use of weekly group meetings. By going to these 1 hour meetings, the person will get to meet other people with the same problem and they will learn about how they overcame their problem.
Family therapy is another way that people with this problem can recover. By bringing the family of the patient together with the sufferer they can all learn about this addiction together which can help them to better understand the problem. They can in turn work at learning about solutions that exist and how they can work together to promote recovery.
Another form of therapy that is sometimes used but not used as much as before is harm reduction. The player is told to set limits on what amounts he will play. Or he will set limits on the length of time he will play, he will limit the amount of money he will carry on himself also. While this form of help can be appreciated it has shown to be less effective with serious gamblers. Limiting access to money is the most popular form of this therapy, and several therapists use it. By making money less accessible the sufferer will have less occasions to spend money on betting.