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Gambling Counsellor: How to Become One?

With the online gambling community growing by leaps and bounds, it’s only natural to expect that the number of people who fall victim to problem gambling issues is going to rise. That should not be a surprise to anyone who understands that doing anything too much for too long can cause problems that could lead to addiction.

As the UK’s primary gaming regulator, the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) staff is very cognizant of how the proliferation of online gambling could increase problem gambling issues throughout the nation. As a possible remedy to such problems, the UKGC now mandates that licensed online gambling operators join the GamStop Self-exclusion scheme.

GamStop as a Remedy for Potential Online Gambling problems

When UK online gamblers first realize their gambling might be headed in the wrong direction, they might need nothing more than a break from online gambling. A break might give them time to gather themselves before resuming their gambling activities in a controlled manner. That break might be best spent after registering with GamStop.

As a voluntary self-exclusion program, GamStop gives gamblers a chance to get help from the actual operators. That help will come in the form of operators blocking them from all licensed UK gambling sites until the gambler’s self-prescribed exclusion period ends.

With the growing popularity of non-GamStop bookmakers listed at among GamStop players, some GamStop gamblers will soon realize they can get around GamStop before their self-exclusion ends. There is nothing wrong with using non-GamStop sites to get around GamStop if the GamStop gambler has regained control of themselves.

Caution is warranted. Prematurely ending self-exclusion could lead to gambling addiction, which could lead to the need for treatment and gambling counseling.

The Need for Gambling Counsellors

As more UK online gamblers graduate from simple problem gambling issues to full-blown addiction, the need for qualified gambling counselors is rising. It’s safe to say there is plenty of counseling work available for anyone who wants to help the gambling addict who is suffering from their gambling disease.

With the need rising, there is a call for more people to step up and provide this valuable service now. Of course, it takes more than walking into an office and sitting behind a desk to become a counselor. In the UK, gambling counselors are required to obtain the proper licensing or certifications. That’s going to require some schooling and experience.

How to Become a UK Gambling Counsellor

All gambling counselors are expected to have a thorough understanding of gambling addiction, the signs, and what drives people to fall prey to the cycle of gambling addiction. They will also need some expertise in communicating solutions to clients.

To be able to do this and truly be of help to a gambling addict, counselors are expected to fulfill certain criteria. At a minimum, candidates need at least a diploma level degree with a minimum of two years of experience as a member of either the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) or the NCS (National Counselling Society).

Getting the diploma requires a minimum of 60 hours of certificate-level training course, plus counseling experience under the supervision of a licensed counselor. There is also the need for training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and a Certificate in Addiction Counselling. Advanced degrees and experience are always welcome.

Regarding CBT, this is an evidence-based therapy that helps counselors search for the root causes of gambling addiction. During therapy, the discussions focus on the negative thoughts a problem gambler has that seem to be driving their need to harm themselves by gambling. Once the negative thought patterns can be identified, a trained counselor can then train the client to convert those negative thoughts into positive thoughts. By doing that, the client can learn to exert control over themselves, which should result in a diminished desire to gamble.

To anyone who might be interested in becoming a gambling counselor, there is nothing more rewarding than helping someone fix a problem on the way to becoming the best person they can be. It might take some time and effort, but in the end, it’s going to be worth it.