A Cognitive-Behavioral Analysis of Gamblers Anonymous

About the Course:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often placed in opposition to twelve-step approaches in the treatment of addictions. While the former is accompanied by considerable empirical support and tend to be relatively brief and symptom-focused, twelve-step approaches are often more widely available, accessible without cost and can provide long-term, ongoing support. Very few studies have directly compared these approaches in the treatment of problem gambling. The purpose of this article is to briefly examine the twelve steps of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and show their essential comparability to concepts and strategies commonly found in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The striking similarities in intention and process between these two approaches are shown for each of the 12 steps despite their differences in their conceptual and linguistic framework. The result of this analysis is to encourage integration of these complementary approaches based on the common ingredients of therapeutic change rather than on ideologically based differences.

Journal/Publisher:

Journal of Gambling Issues

Publication Date:

Issue 21, July 2008

Author

Tony Toneatto

About the Author:

Tony Toneatto (Ph.D., clinical psychology, McGill University) is a senior scientist in the Clinical Research Department at CAMH. He holds a cross-appointment in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto and is also a registered clinical psychologist in Ontario. His research interests include the psychology and treatment of problem gambling, psychiatric co-morbidity and addictions, and mindfulness meditation.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about a cognitive-behavioral analysis of Gambler’s Anonymous. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the complementary nature of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

  2. Identify commonalities among the sequential steps of GA and CBT and the key concepts inherent to each.

  3. Explain the potential contributions of twelve-step approaches to the treatment of clients engaged in CBT.

Exam Questions

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