Adapted Couple Therapy (ACT) for pathological gamblers: A promising avenue

Abstract

The study of the effectiveness of treatment for pathological gambling constitutes a field that is still largely unexplored. To date, the models assessed primarily target the individual and include little or no involvement of the family circle. Yet, the deleterious effects of gambling on loved ones and especially spouses are well recognized. Further, the addition of a couple modality to individual treatment has been shown to be effective on many levels in the treatment of substances use disorders. This article therefore proposes a critical review of (1) the literature providing a better understanding of the complex interactions between the couple relationship and pathological gambling, (2) studies on the effects of couple therapies on gamblers and their partners. We then present the therapeutic model developed by our team of clinician-researchers in collaboration with actors from Québec clinical settings: Adapted Couple Therapy (ACT) for pathological gamblers. In the Québec context, this model will serve as a complement to an individual cognitive-behavioral treatment model that has been proven effective and is employed throughout the Canadian province. The assessment of couple therapies could reveal avenues of solutions to better assist pathological gamblers who tend to drop-out of treatment and relapse.

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