First Advisor

David Capuzzi

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)






Compulsive gambling -- Treatment



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, iv, 206 p.)


Pathological gambling is a treatable, but complex addiction. Defined as out of control gambling that disrupts relationships, employment and/or education. People from all social, economic and cultural groups are affected. Pathological gambling is a problem throughout this country, and in Oregon 61,000 people are estimated to have this disorder. There is a lack of information and extensive misinformation about gambling; and gambling has, historically, been considered a moral weakness. Treatment for pathological gambling is a recent development, and still is not widely available. Pathological gambling is pervasive, poorly understood, and costly and deserves further study. Existing literature on pathological gambling, both the profile of the disorder and treatment is thoroughly reviewed. The portrait of the pathological gambler is contradictory. The only clear demographic trend is that the majority of pathological gamblers are men. Psychodynamic theories explain pathological gambling through developmental and psychological determinants. Behaviorists and learning theorists delineate a series of environmental and physiological factors which combine to "teach" pathological gambling behavior. Researchers who study pathological gambling have enumerated three to four phases of progression of the disorder. There are a variety of disorders and physical problems correlated to pathological gambling, and depression and dual addictions are clearly an issue for many. GA has a high drop out rate and tends to work better for pathological gamblers who have few or no relapses. The intake interview should: initiate the therapeutic alliance, provide crucial data for assessment and diagnosis, and provide information about the nature and scope of the treatment. Individual therapy has a relatively long and respected history as helpful treatment for pathological gambling. Group therapy is a common and effective mode for treatment of pathological gambling. Psychodynamic treatment of is popular and effective, works at achieving abstinence, and helping the pathological gambler make deeper personality changes. Cognitive-behavioral approaches have a role in helping pathological gamblers change irrational beliefs surrounding gambling and themselves. A program which uses cognitive-behavioral, behavioral and psychodynamic approaches in individual, group and family/marital counseling settings designed by author is presented and discussed. The program has four stages and includes an education component.


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