Motivational Interviewing for Gambling Addiction Recovery

Motivational Interviewing for Gambling Addiction RecoveryMotivational interviewing (MI) helps patients increase awareness of themselves, their values, their ambivalence on any given issue, their behaviors and coping skills and how those might be impacting their lives in negative ways. Addiction to behaviors such as gambling is often the result of a dysfunctional coping mechanism. People engage in the behavior without knowing precisely why they do so. MI is an effective method of treating gambling addiction, since it helps the patient to recognize and identify underlying motivations for engaging in destructive behaviors and help him or her to resolve feelings of ambivalence, develop healthier coping strategies and find the motivation to change.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing is a method of counseling that was developed by clinical psychologists William R. Miller, Ph.D. and Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D. for the treatment of problem drinking. MI is a client-centered, goal-oriented approach that attempts to elicit changes in behavior by increasing self-awareness and encouraging the motivation to change. During motivational interviewing therapy the therapist will utilize the following methods to increase the client’s self-awareness and help motivate the client to change his or her behavior:

  • Establish a rapport with the client. MI is non-confrontational and non-judgmental, and the therapist will accept the client and his or her values as they are.
  • Express empathy. Genuine empathy for the client involves being able to see things as the client sees them and expressing that empathy to the client to encourage trust and a willingness to share openly.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Questions such as, “How has this behavior caused problems for you?” encourage exploration on the part of the client and lead to increased self-awareness.
  • Explore discrepancies. The therapist will help the client explore the discrepancies between ideals and reality, between goals and current behavior and between the way the client would like things to be and the way they currently are. This will help the client to understand how his or her current behavior might be standing in the way of achieving the life that he or she wants.

Advantages of Motivational Interviewing for Gambling Addiction Recovery

In MI the client is not coerced into changing his or her destructive behavior but is helped to understand the roots of it as well as the consequences and is then helped to find the motivation within him or herself to change. In MI therapy the responsibility for change resides in the client. The therapist will not try to coerce change but is there to facilitate it. Problem gamblers will gain a much greater awareness of themselves and their values as well as the reasons behind the gambling addiction. They can find within themselves a real desire to change based on knowledge of their true selves. This increased awareness of values and goals for living will help the problem gambler to remain cognizant of their motivation to change this destructive behavior which in turn will facilitate long-term recovery.

Need Help Finding Motivational Interviewing Therapy?

Gambling addiction is a serious disorder that can wreak havoc on all aspects of a person’s life. Motivational interviewing is a proven method of treating gambling addiction. If you are struggling with the devastating effects of gambling addiction and would like help finding motivational interviewing therapy or other forms of addiction help, call our toll-free 24 hour helpline today.