Anyone coming into our service will be met with compassion, understanding and a commitment to help you get your life back on track. Our focus is on you.
There are certain individuals that we must prioritise as a service, and we explain more about this on the who we can help page.
This page explains our approach, from initial contact to treatment, review and follow-up.
Initial contact and assessment
Click on one of the drop-down boxes below to find out what you can expect from us.
Once you refer yourself or contact us, you can expect to receive a response from one of our team within 72 hours. We will ask you for some basic information, including some personal details. We will also provide you with details of other organisations that can offer immediate support and advice.
We will then send you, by email or post, a questionnaire to complete. This is so we can find out more about your gambling problems and any other issues you may be facing.
Once we have received your completed questionnaire, we will contact you within 14 days and arrange an assessment meeting for you with one of our team’s practitioners. The meeting will typically take place via video call using Microsoft Teams, though it may be possible for this meeting to be held over the phone or in person. You can choose which method you prefer.
During the meeting, the practitioner will go through your responses to the questionnaire and ask you follow-up questions to find out more about your current situation and your gambling activity. They will explain more about the assessment process and the work of our service. They will give you some initial advice about how to control your gambling – for example, by encouraging you to assess what sorts of situations, thoughts, and feelings trigger strong urges to gamble, and trying to remove them. Or by thinking about ways to block opportunities to gamble, including the use of apps and changes to banking and access to money.
They will also discuss how to cope with high-risk situations. They will explain the importance of getting help if you are in crisis and will ask you to provide an emergency contact number.
Your practitioner will then meet with a group of other clinicians within the team who will assess your needs. If it is agreed that our service is able to support you, the clinicians will develop a treatment plan that they feel is right for you. We will share this plan with you.
What happens if I miss the assessment meeting?
If you do not attend the assessment meeting for any reason, don’t worry – we will write to you and offer you the opportunity to rebook. If you do not reply within 14 days to reschedule the meeting, your referral will be closed.
Our treatment programme helps people to overcome problem gambling by learning specific techniques and adopting more realistic attitudes and beliefs about the prospects of winning. It also gives you the tools to build an alternative, more meaningful lifestyle, free from gambling and with new ways of coping.
We will tailor your treatment and support to meet your needs. All our programmes are evidence-based – in other words, research shows they work.
Click on the drop-down boxes below to learn more about the most common treatment programmes we provide.
Following assessment, you will be allocated a named worker who will you support you with elements of your care plan. You may also be booked onto a series of three Preparation for Change workshops. These workshops are delivered by our assistant psychologists and other members of our team. They are usually delivered virtually, using Microsoft Teams, though it may be possible to attend the workshops at our clinic.
Most people take part in these workshops in a group, whilst some attend them individually; we will tell you which option we recommend as being right for you.
What topics will the Preparation for Change workshops cover?
- Workshop 1 will explore the motivation to change
- Workshop 2 will focus on ‘stimulus control’ – looking at the situations, thoughts, and feelings that lead you to have urges to gamble, and helping you find ways to remove them
- Workshop 3 will focus on recovery and planning for the future.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a type of talking therapy that teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems. It focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and actions. Learn more about CBT on the Mind website.
If it is felt that you would benefit from CBT, the allocated therapist will telephone you and/or the person who referred you to advise you of the date of the first session. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire ahead of that first session, and every session.
Typically, you will have eight CBT sessions, meeting with your therapist via a Microsoft Teams video call or, where it’s required, face to face.
The eight sessions will cover everything from triggers and cravings to alternative activities and planning for the future.
Following each session, you will be asked to do some homework. The homework will often consist of some questions and exercises, and will help you to reflect on the session. You may be asked to send in your responses to the homework ahead of your next appointment.
During the final session, your therapist may recommend further treatment for you. If this is the case, a follow-up telephone appointment will be made with you, to discuss the treatment options. If your therapist feels that you don’t require further treatment, you will be given the opportunity to attend post-treatment group sessions, or to be discharged from the service.
What happens if I need to miss a CBT session?
We understand that plans sometimes have to change. Please make every effort to attend all eight sessions and please give your therapist as much notice as possible if you cannot attend a session. If you were to miss two of the sessions, our clinical team would need to review your treatment plan with you.
Instead of CBT (see above), you may be offered psychodynamic therapy. Psychodynamic therapy – sometimes known as psychodynamic psychotherapy – helps you understand how your current feelings and behaviour are shaped by your past experiences and your unconscious mind and impulses.
Your therapist will help you to explore events in your past and get to the roots of your problematic gambling. In this way, you can make a long-lasting change.
Above all, your therapist will work with you to understand and develop solutions to your problems. In this way, you can become your own therapist and develop the skills to manage your own recovery journey.
We appreciate that you may experience other difficulties alongside your gambling, such as debt, alcohol and substance misuse issues, stress, depression, anxiety and trauma.
Where you and our clinical team agree that it is the right thing to do, we will put you in touch with other organisations and services that can help you.
In certain cases, we may also offer you other specific therapies to help address your needs.
Review and follow-up
At the end of your treatment programme, it is important that you feel confident that your needs have been met and that you can continue on your journey of recovery.
When you are nearing the completion of your treatment, your therapist will review your progress with you. They will ask you to notify us if you feel that you would benefit from further treatment.
If you believe that further treatment would be helpful, one of our team will discuss this with you and identify next steps.
If you feel satisfied that no further treatment is needed, we will ask you to complete a questionnaire that allows you to reflect on how far you have come and give your feedback on our service.
Your therapist will then work with you on a discharge care plan – sometimes called a relapse prevention plan – to help you continue to develop your skills, resilience and relationships, so you can achieve a lifestyle that you value which is free gambling.
Recovery is a process that starts with treatment and continues beyond treatment. We will not pretend that your journey to recovery will be easy. You may experience lapses and relapses along the way, and sometimes feel like giving up. It can be helpful to think about these occasions as opportunities for learning how to do things differently next time.
We will be keen to hear from you about your progress, and the challenges you still face.