Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a direct yet client-centred counselling style for motivating individuals/tāngata to change. Motivational Interviewing helps people who are aware that change is needed and are experiencing a fear of letting go and trying something new. Motivational Interviewing avoids confrontation and reflects on the positive values that individuals bring to their own lives. MI works well for people who are unsure about change and are in the early stages of the wheel of change.
CBT helps the individual to change unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. In relation to gambling harm, CBT uses a range of cognitive and behavioural strategies to help identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts (for example, magical thinking and superstitious beliefs), responses to stress and life difficulties, and how a person responds to triggers for gambling.
Graded Exposure is a cognitive behavioural technique that assists people to reduce their gambling urges. Over time, through systematic exposure to gambling triggers (things that make people feel like gambling such as the sounds associated with pokie machines, money, etc) urges can significantly be reduced and in some cases extinguished. Exposure is one of the most effective psychological treatments that exist, having a 90% effectiveness rate with some anxiety disorders.
ACT has been shown to be useful in the treatment of unsafe gambling. ACT is based on the principles of mindfulness and living in accordance to one’s values, along with facing feelings, physical sensations and memories. ACT helps the unsafe gambler to stop avoiding or attempting to control their inner experiences, including thoughts, emotions, memories, and physical sensations. This therapeutic methodology provides practical techniques for the unsafe gambler to accept their emotions and experiences and also make a commitment to live life according to their own values.
The 12 Step Approach to reducing gambling harm was developed in the USA and designed for use in a group setting. Individuals support each other in order to regain control of their gambling. This approach provides awareness that uncontrolled gambling is a symptom of deeper underlying issues. Although we do not deliver 12 Step groups at Oasis, we do have counsellors who follow the 12 Step Approach while supporting people affected by gambling harm.
In some parts of Aotearoa, there are groups that follow the 12 Step Approach, known as Gamblers Anonymous. Information about these groups is available from Oasis on request.
Spiritual principles are embedded into the 12 Step Approach, such as honesty, humility, acceptance, courage, compassion, forgiveness and self-discipline. Radical honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are all key parts of transformation in this approach.