Holly Riendeau: local behavioral health clinician on problem gambling | Community


What is your role at Tillamook Family Counseling Center and what attracted you to this work?

My role at Tillamook Family Counseling Center is that of a behavioral health clinician. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor, and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. My role as a Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor includes treating people with gambling problems and their other affected people, educating our staff, community partners and members of our community, and raising awareness of our community to increase awareness of services available to people in difficulty. with problem gambling.

What is your favorite part of your role? What is the most difficult?

My favorite part of my role is being able to see when a client is ready for change and beginning to establish their recovery.

I would say the hardest part is when a client is not ready for change, remains engaged in services to explore that ambivalence in treatment. Often people think that if they are going to get treatment they will have to stop gambling immediately and this is not always true. It depends on the person. We can use harm reduction techniques to help them slow down the game and decide what is best for them for their treatment and recovery. I’ve worked with people who need to refrain from gambling, and I’ve worked with people who have been able to successfully use money and time barriers, monthly financial snapshots, and other useful tools learned in treatment where they can continue to play responsibly.

What exactly is problem gambling?

Perhaps it would be better to start with what is the game? “Gambling can be defined as putting something of value at risk in the hope of gaining something of greater value” (Potenza 2006). During my training, I learned that there were forms of gambling that I didn’t even know were gambling, such as bingo, raffles and gambling that can happen on the stock market. There are also bets in video games.

The definition of problem gambling that I would like to share comes from the National Council on Problem Gambling website (https://www.ncpgambling.org). “Compulsive gambling – or gambling addiction – includes all gambling behaviors that compromise, disrupt or interfere with personal, family or professional activities. Symptoms include increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when trying to quit, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifesting as the continuation of gambling behavior despite severe and escalating negative consequences. . In extreme cases, problem gambling can lead to financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, and even suicide.”

How does problem gambling affect a person and the people around them?

People don’t just gamble with money. When we look deeper, they are playing with their relationships, their safety, their jobs, their homes, their time, their integrity, and ultimately their lives. Gaming disorder is associated with poor general health. There are high comorbidity rates with gambling and substance abuse, as well as mental health. Sometimes treatment will need to integrate all three domains (gambling, substance use, and mental health). Other people with concerns may undergo treatment to learn healthy boundaries, assertive communication, and learn more about gambling addiction. They are able to learn ways to not continue to contribute to problem gambling. the other person.

Are there any misconceptions about problem gambling? What would you like people to know?

Compulsive gambling is an addiction. You may experience withdrawal symptoms from gambling. It affects some of the same areas of the brain that are seen with substance use. Problem gambling treatment includes areas of focus such as financial barriers, creating a monthly financial snapshot, and wellness planning to address and develop the 8 dimensions of wellness. I strongly encourage family therapy and participation in Gambler’s Anonymous.

How can community members find support or services for problem gambling?

If anyone wants to access treatment, they can call the TFCC at 503-842-8201 and ask to make an appointment. They can also access services by calling 1-877-My-Limit (1-877-695-4648). It is important to remember that problem gambling treatment services are free for the person with problem gambling as well as for other stakeholders who are affected by that person’s problem gambling. Processing services are paid for by the Oregon Lottery. We also have a local Players Anonymous meeting held on Tuesdays at 5:30pm at the Serenity Club. Sometimes the GA meeting may be virtual, so please call the Serenity Club to confirm if it is in person or to get the virtual meeting link.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The treatment success rate is 70% if the client is able to use financial barriers and tools, engage in family therapy, and attend self-help meetings such as Gambler’s Anonymous.


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