What to expect from the Northern Gambling Service
Anyone approaching us for help can expect to be met with understanding, compassion and a determination to make life better as quickly as possible. Once we accept your referral, you can expect to be seen as soon as both you and one of our team are available.
We’ll start with an assessment of your current situation, the problems you’re facing, and how this is affecting you. We’ll use this information and work with you to come up with a personalised care plan. We’ll then move you into our active therapy programme.
We’ll discuss methods to block opportunities to gamble, including the use of technology and changes to banking and access to money at an early point.
You may also get access to a therapist if you are feeling unsure about changing your gambling habits. It is normal to feel this way about making a change.
The next step, if appropriate, is a meeting with your family or those close to you so that everyone understands the recovery process and the support you’ll need along the way. Recruiting support to help you stop gambling and sustain change can play an important role in the recovery process.
We’ll then begin our core programme which is eight to ten sessions of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for gambling addiction, usually in a group setting. CBT is a talking therapy that can help you sustain change by changing the way you think, feel, cope, and behave. It also gives you a platform to build an alternative, more meaningful lifestyle and give you new coping skills. You’ll get a range of resources to help you through the programme.
Following this programme a therapist will meet with you and your support network again to agree a relapse prevention plan, and to continue the process of connecting you with a more meaningful life and building something we call ‘recovery capital’.
Recovery capital is a mixture of positive things in your life that can help you build and sustain a lifestyle with an abstinence from gambling. It includes personal health, quality of life, social connectedness and citizenship. This can take various forms depending on the kind of support required.
Throughout the recovery journey you can connect with other people who’ve shared the same experiences and recovered well. We call this “peer support”.
A graduate group can also be accessed following completion of the core programme as well as periodic support from your therapist, so you can remain vigilant, check in on any ongoing challenges and receive support, and link in with other graduates, staff, and peer support. Mutual Aid groups will also be offered. These choices will all be discussed with you so you can make it your own recovery journey.
While the information above describes our core therapeutic service offer, the team takes a holistic approach and will ensure that any other difficulties such as distress, debt problems, alcohol/drug abuse, trauma, and mental health problems that you’re experiencing alongside your gambling addiction are also attended to.
Often treating the gambling problem alleviates other issues, but sometimes there are problems that require intervention before, during or afterwards. We will involve other services where necessary with your consent.
The NHS Northern Gambling Service is also able to provide stand-alone support to those affected by someone else’s gambling addiction. This can happen even if the gambler is not seeking treatment. We are able to provide information about gambling addiction, as well as teaching a range of coping skills to reduce stress and increase confidence to cope with it.
How and where can I access services?
Generally people will attend our recovery centres either in Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle if they possibly can. However we recognise this will not always be possible. Alternatively we can also use video conferencing technology (like Skype or FaceTime) or arrange to see people at a more convenient location wherever possible. Please do not turn up to our clinics without an appointment as we cannot currently accept walk in patients.
Our Leeds clinic is based at Merrion House, in the city centre near Morrisons.
Our Manchester clinic is based at St James’s Tower, 7 Charlotte Street, Manchester M1 4DZ.
Our Newcastle clinic is based at Regus, 30 Cloth Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EE.