In Problem Gambling, Dr. Nancy M. Petry discusses and illustrates her brief, cognitive–behavioral approach to treating clients with gambling problems. Her manualized approach includes handouts and homework emphasizing self-monitoring and motivation to change.
In this session, Dr. Petry works with a 21-year-old man named Brian who gambles four to five times per week. He works delivering pizzas and makes good tips, attends junior college, and plans to go to a 4-year college. He gambles on riverboat casinos, regularly plays poker with friends, and also places bets with bookies.
Dr. Petry illustrates the first of her eight-session program, demonstrating the start of the treatment process. Brian is typical of a younger problem gambler who has begun to develop some substantial issues related to gambling but, nevertheless, is in some degree of denial. Dr. Petry demonstrates how to integrate the cognitive–behavioral therapy within this context and thereby highlights the adaptability of this approach for a variety of individuals with gambling problems.
This brief, eight-session, cognitive–behavioral approach to treating clients with gambling problems is a manualized intervention that includes handouts and homework exercises for each session. The approach is best suited for individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. They can be internally motivated (e.g., feel the need to seek help) or externally motivated (e.g., legal actions pending) for gambling treatment. Individuals treated with this approach are assumed to be receiving, or are referred for, other psychiatric treatments if other major mental health problems are co-occurring.
Nancy M. Petry earned a PhD in psychology from Harvard University in 1994. In 1996, she joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut Health Center, where she is professor of psychiatry. She conducts research on the treatment of addictive disorders, ranging from substance use disorders to pathological gambling, and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles.
Her work is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. Petry serves as a consultant and advisor for the National Institutes of Health, and she is on the editorial boards of six academic journals.
She received the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in 2003.
- Petry, N. M. (2005). Pathological gambling: Etiology, comorbidity, and treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
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