Gambler's Help Counsellor, Cherry Louey
Cherry Louey: My name is Cherry Louey. I am one of the counsellors at Gambler's Help, city and inner north at the Salvation Army. There are number of ways where people can come to Gambler's Help city, inner north. A lot of them are self-referrals. People just found our contact number on the web.
There is no such thing as a quick fix. With any counseling, it really depends on the readiness of the client to address their issues and also the clients commitment to the process.
I think that often people enter counselling with different degree of readiness. If the person isn't ready himself or herself, is very difficult for the person to be committed to the experience to talk to a stranger because often not everybody will have supported someone else.
It's quite a freeing experience to talk to a stranger because often not everybody will have supported family or friends to be able to talk about this issue. Most human being yearn for some sort of emotional contact and counselling provides this relational contact.
One of the things that people worry about is that does the counselor tell the client what to do, but very much the counseling process is a very collaborative meeting of two people how the session is run depends on the goals that are being set by the client and the conversation is about helping the client to find some new understanding about the situation or to make some decision about what changes are helpful.
Sometimes they come to some deeper understanding of the issues, like what are the underlying issues that might fuel the gambling. As with any forms of addiction, be it gambling or drug and alcohol, it is not a simple matter of why don't you just stop.
Gambling often is used by people as an escape to break their social isolation, as a way to numb their emotional pain. However if you don't address what might be the underlying issues then the person is likely to return to the problematic behavior so it's useful to be able to address both both sides of the coin.
When is the right time to finish counseling? Of course it depends on the original goal that the client set along the way. It could be a combination of reduction in gambling, stopping gambling or that this person's quality of life issues have improved.
I would hope that the client will develop an ability to reflect on their lives so that they would have some ability to regulate their emotional say as well as ability to form more meaningful relationship with their loved one.
I think there is tremendous hope for recovery for people who gamble and people learn a lot about themselves through the process of counselling because I've seen clients being resilience in their struggles and the changes may not be linear but they are always changes when they are committed to the process.