Types of Therapies | The Salvation Army

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Types of Therapies

Research reveals that a variety of therapeutic approaches are helpful in the identification and management of gambling harm. Some of the common types of therapy are noted below.
Oasis - Therapeutic methodologies

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

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.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

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

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.

Family focused approach

  • Involvement of family early in the intervention with the gambler present is an important part of counselling that is strength based.
  • A strength based approach draws on the knowledge, insights and cultural norms of the families we work with.
  • The parents guide the family session where children can be present and the counsellor can be viewed as an additional resource to keep things on track, ensure everyone is heard and the goals for the session are met.
  • Recognition that family members are impacted by mental health and addiction issues and need support and at times a referral to another service.

Single session family consultation (SSFC)

  • Brief process for meeting with family/whānau. This helps families to engage and meet to talk about mental health and addiction impacts, concerns about wellbeing, and the way forward
  • Provides clear semi structured process to assist families to work through issues
  • Typically starts with a phone call from the counsellor to key family members to discuss their willingness to take part,  topics to be discussed, what is safe or not safe to talk about.
  • SSFC is typically one or two family sessions with a follow up session over the phone with  family members to check on progress and if further support, referral is needed.

Five Step Method of Counselling

  • An intervention that comprises five steps over five sessions that is based on research with family members. These people described being close to and concerned about, someone with a gambling or other addiction as a highly stressful experience that can impact on their own mental and physical health and impact negatively on their ability to live a happy life.
  • This method of counselling focuses on the needs of the family and whānau members who are affected by someone else’s addiction, in their own right.
  • The focus centres around the family member’s experience, explores different ways of coping, strengthens social support networks and provided information about the addiction.  
  • A work book provided with exercises and information.  

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)

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

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. 

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