Our mission is to advance existing models of treatment and develop new models of psychological therapies for gamblers.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic is part of the National Gambling Treatment Service and is jointly commissioned by GambleAware and NHS England. The system includes other providers such as The Northern Gambling Service, GamCare and The Gordon Moody Association.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic is working alongside these other providers to deliver the most appropriate package of care for individuals experiencing difficulties with gambling.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic treats problem gamblers living in England and Wales aged 16 and over. The team assesses the needs of problem gamblers as well as those of their partners and family members.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic is an established provider of treatment for problem gamblers in the UK. It has gained an international profile through research, presentations at conferences and the provision of training for problem gambling services worldwide. The clinic employs psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists who have received broad training to doctoral level in both NHS and academic settings in the identification, management and treatment of a range of mental health disorders and addictions. The core clinical team at the clinic have a combined 30 years of experience in the management and treatment of gambling disorders. The National Problem Gambling Clinic has also served an essential function since its inception in the training of a range of mental health professionals in the treatment of problem gambling. Since opening, over 100 psychology and psychiatry professionals have worked in the clinic, going on to work in other mental health arenas taking the knowledge and awareness of the problem and treatment options with them. The clinic has also provided a regular contribution to the research literature on problem gambling and treatment in international publications. We offer the following services for problem gamblers:
- Individual psychological support using tried methods and techniques
- Behavioural couples therapy
- Support groups
- Psychiatric reviews
- Medication for problem gambling
Psychological support is offered in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Research shows that CBT is an effective treatment for problem gambling. CBT is a form of talking therapy with a 'hear and now' focus. It can be used to help people identify and manage the triggers to their problem behaviour, challenge irrational thinking and find ways to better cope with feelings, thoughts and urges that may precede a gambling episode. You and your therapist will work together to help you develop strategies and techniques to help you achieve your own treatment goal. Your therapist will encourage you to harness your resources and strengths to help tackle your gambling problem. CBT places an emphasis on putting what has been learned into practice between sessions, sometimes termed 'homework'. This homework may consist of filling out sheets to enhance awareness, trying out new ways of coping and developing new, more helpful behaviours including new hobbies. This work is seen as vital to the treatment effectiveness. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a treatment focusing on relational and emotional difficulties contributing to the initiation and maintenance of problem gambling difficulties. It may be of use with those who have failed to maintain abstinence using CBT methods or for those who are clear that there are emotional reasons for their lapses.
Problem gambling treatment in the UK is delivered by a number of providers. The National Problem Gambling Clinic, as an NHS provider, is commissioned to deliver care and support to problem gamblers who have difficulties that might be described as complex. These may include the following:
- A lengthy period of problem gambling, with little or no abstinence
- Previous unsuccessful structured psychological support for problem gambling
- Mental health difficulties
- Substance misuse or other compulsive behaviours
- Concerns about risk of harm to self or others
- Serious physical health difficulties
- Homelessness or unstable housing or chronic social isolation
- Frequent involvement with criminal justice system or history of serious offending
- Developmental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or difficulties with cognitive or intellectual functioning
- Adverse experiences in childhood that may underlie the gambling problem.
If you are not experiencing any of these difficulties, we would request that you contact the National Gambling Helpline in the first instance on 080 8802 0133 for support.
You may also choose to use the National Problem Gambling Clinic if you have a specific preference for it.
If you are unsure if you meet the criteria for our service, or think that you do and would like to make a referral, please do one of the following:
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org providing a contact number
- If you do not have access to email, call us on 020 7381 7722 leaving a contact number.
In both instances, we will return your call within 24-72 hours.
During this call a clinician will make an estimation of the best service to suit your needs, this may be with us or with other providers. This call should take no more than 10 minutes.
If you do meet criteria for our service we will provide you with a referral form to enable you to access the service. On receipt of that form we will contact you to book you in for an assessment at our London base in Earls Court.