Do you have a problem with gambling?

Have you found yourself gambling for longer or more frequently?

Are you losing more money than you intend to?

I can help.

What is problematic gambling?

Simply put, your gambling is likely problematic when it impairs your life and causes distress. Many people struggle with gambling on pokies, sports betting apps, online poker, horse racing and casino table games (like Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette). Recently, there has been an increase in gambling-like problems with bitcoin and forex trading.

The signs and symptoms of problematic gambling:

There are several self-help questionnaires such as the “PGSI” or “EIGHT” that are freely available for those who wish to self-assess their gambling. Alternatively you can be formally assessed by a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or counsellor.

Personally, there are 5 questions I tend to ask those concerned about their gambling:

  1. Have you spent a lot of time thinking about your gambling?
  2. Have you tried to stop, cut down or mange your gambling?
  3. Have you hidden your gambling sessions or losses from others?
  4. Has gambling caused serious problems in your relationships?
  5. Have you ever gambled to win back your losses or to repay debt?

If I hear “Yes” to one or more  of these questions, I’d likely conduct a thorough assessment to see if it was problematic.

When should you seek help for your gambling?

In my opinion, if your gambling has caused significant distress, impairment and you’ve been unsuccessful in cutting back or stopping.  Then you might benefit from specific gambling counselling or gambling therapy.

What causes a gambling problem?

There are a variety of reasons why you might have started a gambling session, such as elevating your mood, escaping from stressful situations or simply for entertainment. However, the core problematic part of gambling, is that you don’t stop a gambling session when you would like to. In therapy, we’ll unpack, hone in and break up what keeps you playing and betting more than when you first started.

Treatment of gambling

For most, gambling is a very treatable mental health disorder but requires specific gambling-focused therapy. The treatment I use is based on Cognitive De-constructional Therapy (a innovative form of Cognitive Therapy which was developed at the University of Sydney, Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Both approaches aim to unpack and break the belief circuitry that keeps you gambling so that it is easier for you to quit. Both therapies are effective for poker machines (otherwise known as pokies, slots, cherry slots, EGMs), online / offline sports betting, horse race wagering and casino table games.

Book a session with me to work on overcoming your gambling issues.

Learn more:

Wikipedia: Problem Gambling | WebMD: Gambling Addiction


Online appointments only
(02) 9030-0301
Fax: (02) 8367-5120

If you’re not quite ready, visit my blog and you’ll get some helpful tips for managing your addictive habits, maintaining abstinence or controlled use.

Luke Vu is a registered psychologist practising in Maroubra Junction, supporting those who struggle with substance and online addictions. Call me or send me a message today.