July 9, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Stoyan Todorov

Innovative Therapy Program Aims to Combat Gambling Addiction

Over the course of six weeks, the program immerses participants in counseling and group discussions that delve into the underlying reasons behind their excessive gambling

At the heart of Las Vegas, the International Problem Gambling Center is tackling gambling addiction with an innovative approach: intensive cognitive therapy designed to uncover and address the deep-seated emotional triggers that drive compulsive gambling.

The Program Uncovers the Roots of Gambling Addiction Through Cognitive Therapy

The program offered by The International Problem Gambling Center includes intensive cognitive therapy sessions led by Stephanie Goodman, reported The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Over six weeks, they put participants through their paces with counseling and group talks focusing on what really drives someone to gamble so much. 

While most Nevadans are not long-term problem gamblers according to Goodman – who says around 6% struggle significantly – she also emphasizes that people should see gambling addiction as a serious mental health issue instead of just a lack of self-control.

The stigma associated with gambling addiction often leads to societal dismissal, making it harder for individuals to seek and receive necessary help. Goodman stresses that like any addiction, gambling addiction requires comprehensive treatment and societal understanding. 

Dr. Kobie West, the center’s assistant clinical director, explains that the program has chosen cognitive therapy as its main treatment since no pharmacological remedy is known. This kind of therapy looks at what makes people gamble in terms of emotional triggers and traumas that they have not resolved as gambling addicts are using betting as an escape from them. It also enables addicts to realize and deal with their past griefs, traumas, or other major life events that might have led them into addiction.

Holistic Therapy Approach Yields High Success Rates for Gambling Addicts

The center’s new approach involves individual counseling sessions along with group activities among the patients where they talk about their problems related to this disorder. The idea behind this strategy is to help these individuals find healthier alternatives for dealing with their emotions instead of engaging in destructive behaviors like gambling. 

For example, therapists may use a technique called “pizza pie”, an analogy which means asking an addict what his life would be like if he did not gamble anymore thus indicating how important it is that he or she fills up all those hours spent on betting with positive actions.

The effectiveness of the center’s approach is notable, with a recovery rate significantly higher than the national average. Goodman notes that while only 8-10% of problem gamblers typically remain in recovery after a year, the center boasts a 44% success rate, which increases to 98% for those who continue with follow-up sessions. The program of the center is a light in the dark for those who have an addiction to gambling.

According to Goodman, participating actively in the process of getting better and wanting it enough is what it takes to beat gambling addiction. The stories that show how successful the center’s methods can also reveal just how difficult this type of addiction is to beat without treating every aspect of a person’s life affected by the problem.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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