Counseling Problem Gamblers

Counseling Problem Gamblers

A Self-Regulation Manual for Individual and Family Therapy

1st Edition - September 5, 2001

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  • Author: Joseph Ciarrocchi
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080490823
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780121746537

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Over the past decade, legal wagering has expanded rapidly in North America. In 1998 alone, people lost 50 billion dollars in legal betting and it is estimated that illegal wagering is twice that amount. A recent government report, based on the broadest population survey, concludes that the lifetime and pathological gamblers in the U.S. range between 4 and 10 million persons and is growing. If we include the families affected by problem gambling then the potential impact is indeed prodigious. Virtually no community in the U.S. and Canada is left untouched by entertainment or problem gambling. Treating problem gambling has evolved from a small group of practitioners in the 1980's working in specialty impatient units into an international enterprise that affects the caseload of many mental health professionals. Owing to its quiet origins, problem gambling treatment strategies are not well known throughout the clinical community. Consequently the average clinician is him/herself "learning as they go." This approach does not benefit either client or therapist. As the book's first chapter makes clear, problem gambling differs significantly from substance abuse, its nearest clinical relative. Not attending to these differences leads to poor results and clinical failure. This book is the one essential tool needed by clinicians treating or likely to treat problem gambling. Written by a clinician with wide experience, it is intended for the general clinician treating or likely to treat problem gambling desiring a comprehensive, yet user-friendly guide.

Key Features

  • Assessment and treatment of problem gambling and those affected by it is discussed
  • Includes diagnostic instruments developed by the author
  • An integrative approach is taken with a special focus on cultural concerns and clinical applications for women and minorities
  • Integration of spirituality in treatment is covered


In addition to clinical and counseling psychologists in private independent practice, therapists in publicly funded agencies represent a large audience relevant to treating problem gambling.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments.
    List of Worksheets.
    The Twenty Percent Difference.
    The Scope of Social and Problem Gambling.
    Research on Causes and Treatment of Pathological Gambling.
    A Self-Regulation Model for Understanding Pathological Gambling.
    Diagnosis and Assessment of Pathological Gambling.
    Overview of Clinical Interventions: A Plea for Family Involvement.
    Motivational Enhancement, Stages of Change, and Goal-Setting.
    Abstinence Control and Relapse Preventions.
    Managing Urges Through Acceptance.
    Depression, Anxiety, and Guilt: Cognitive Strategies.
    Changing Beliefs About Gambling: The Downside of Hope.
    Problem-Solving and Overcoming Procrastination.
    Financial and Legal Issues.
    Couples and Family Treatment.
    Spirituality, Virtue, and Character: A Model for Therapist Collaboration in Long-Term Growth.
    Appendix A: National Council on Problem Gambling Affiliate List.
    Appendix B: Worksheets.

Product details

  • No. of pages: 360
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2001
  • Published: September 5, 2001
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080490823
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780121746537

About the Author

Joseph Ciarrocchi

Joseph W. Ciarrocchi completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at Catholic University of America. For eight years he was Director of a comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment program for problem gambling and substance abuse at Taylor Manor Hospital in Maryland. In that capacity he coordinated a team of clinicians that included as its psychiatrist, Robert Custer, M.D., the individual most responsible for the inclusion of problem gambling in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Throughout this experience Dr. Ciarrocchi conducted some of the earliest empirical research with pathological gamblers as well as with their spouses. Since that time his accomplishments in the field are recognized by his certification as a Gambling Counselor Supervisor by the National Council on Problem Gambling and by his presentations at national and international conferences. He has conducted training workshops on problem gambling treatment in Iowa, Missouri, Delaware, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, and Maryland in the U.S., and in New Zealand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong internationally. His broad-based knowledge of the addictions field is acknowledged by his certification of proficiency in the treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive substance use disorders by the American Psychological Association’s College of Professional Psychology. Dr. Ciarrocchi has written four books in the area of mental health treatment including his popular treatment manual for obsessive compulsive disorder, The Doubting Disease: Help for Scrupulosity and Religious Compulsions (Paulist Press). He currently is membership chair and newsletter editor for the special interest group, Spiritual Issues in Behavior Change, in the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. His empirical studies, in addition to pathological gambling, include research on personality characteristics of substance abusers and the relationship of spiritual variables to psyc

Affiliations and Expertise

Loyola College, Columbia, Maryland, U.S.A.

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