Your treatment sessions

We will conduct a thorough assessment before we offer any treatment to ensure our approach is the right treatment for you (link to your first appointment). We work in conjunction with a range of other services both within and outside St Vincent’s Hospital. We will refer you to these if needed.

Following your initial assessment, you will begin by attending weekly appointments (50 mins in length) with a Clinical Psychologist. The aim is to progress to fortnightly sessions as you make changes.

Depending on your needs, our treatment will likely include some or all of the following:

  • Education - maintaining cycles of gambling; changes to brain pathways; rates of gambling returns; and the design and mechanisms involved in various forms of gambling (e.g. poker machines).
  • Cognitive Therapy - learning to identify the thinking that causes you to gamble; thinking that keeps you gambling once you have started; and practicing thinking differently about gambling.
  • Behavioural change - identifying triggers and high risk situations; reducing access to money or venues; modifying routines; setting goals; creating action plans; and alternative activities.
  • Coping with negative emotions - learning alternative ways of dealing with strong emotions (e.g. improving problem-solving skills and relaxation techniques).
  • Relapse prevention - helping you to maintain your changes over time so you can avoid returning to gambling in the future; developing plans for future situations; and how to recover from a slip.
  • Problem gambling is often associated with other serious problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as relationship, financial, family and legal difficulties. Our treatment program assesses and treats these issues where possible or, when necessary, you may be referred to another specialist service for assistance.