Ready to Change: A scheduled telephone counselling programme for problem gambling

Abstract

Objective: This study describes the implementation of an innovative 4-6 week cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme for problem gambling, Ready to Change (RTC), delivered via telephone and workbook. Method: Participants referred into the programme during the first three years of operation had a mean age of 45 years (range 19-81 years). The majority of participants were female (56%, n=129) and had problems associated with gaming machines (81.7%, n=188). Results: Between January 2008 and December 2010, 230 people were assessed and offered the RTC programme. The main reason for referral of a person into the programme was difficulty in accessing a face-to-face agency. Conclusions: We describe the components and challenges of a 4-6 week programme for the treatment of problem gambling delivered via telephone. While distance-based treatments address concerns over access to services, further research investigating their effectiveness is required.

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