At Gambling Help Online we know it can be difficult to approach a total stranger about what is going on in your life. We thought we’d introduce you to three of the counsellors you might talk to if you ring the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or go online to chat.
These three counsellors are just some of the many counsellors who may respond when you reach out. Our counsellors come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some are just starting out, while others have been working with people who are struggling in their lives for many years. Some have personal experience with the struggle, or have been through it with family or friends. Some have just been touched by the journeys they see in the world around them. The one thing they all have in common is: they’re here to help.
Frank’s initial training was in Social Work. After working for many years developing a speciality in drug and alcohol treatment and counselling, he redirected his skills by joining the Gambling Help Online counselling team.
His interest in becoming a counsellor came early in his life and comes from a point of curiosity around why and how people change and move on in the face of complex feelings and experiences. He considers it a privilege to have a conversation with someone about what is happening in their lives and in the lives of their family when faced with a gambling problem. He is aware of the pain, stigma and shame around any form of addiction, and his focus is always on how to address these issues through normalising and individualising people’s recovery experiences.
What he enjoys particularly about being a Gambling Help counsellor is the moment when he discusses an idea that is new to a caller and he can hear the shift in their thinking.
As a counsellor he is aware that because he talks about gambling constantly, there is a danger he can forget how complicated life is for the person going through it. Therefore he takes special steps to help the caller understand the ideas he might be discussing with them and makes frequent uses of stories and metaphors, in addition to factual information. He says he is aware of how much people want to stop gambling and will usually focus on what the person can do now to stop gambling rather than focusing on the past.
Mark comes to Gambling Help Online with a Masters in Social Work and is currently studying a Masters of Clinical Psychology. Mark’s passion for working with people affected by addiction developed when he saw firsthand how his best friend’s family struggled to deal with their family member’s drug addiction and the effects it had on their health and wellbeing. This formative experience assists Mark with his work at Gambling Help Online as he understands how families and friends can both be impacted by a loved one’s gambling problem and be of great importance to help them in overcoming it.
Through talking to callers on Gambler’s Helpline and undertaking his own research, Mark has developed an interest around the increasing number of gambling elements found within videogames played by young people and adults. He has presented at international conferences about this topic to help bring greater awareness to the issue of the overlap between gaming and traditional gambling.
Mark sometimes finds himself in the position of educator when he is with friends who talk with him about their gambling. While being very aware of maintaining the boundaries between his personal life and his professional role as a counsellor, Mark says he talks with them about the intentionally enticing nature of various forms of gambling and videogames. He will direct friends to various resources on the internet to watch and become informed if they are hesitant to begin a deeper conversation with him.
Tanya’s path to working at Gambling Help Online began with two main sources. Her initial career was in education and training but her path diverged when she volunteered to be part of a service that made connections between isolated people. Enjoying this work she switched to counselling as her career. She was introduced to Gambling Help Online by a lecturer who was also working with us.
Tanya says that some of her best learning in the role of Gambling Help Counsellor has come from listening to the struggles of people who have had a problem. Since working with us she has realised that one of her parents had poker machine issues, but she didn’t realise it when she was much younger. She understands the difficulty people have with making that first call to the service, and aims to help people make one commitment to a new action before the call is finished. With her background in training, she knows that taking just one step, leads to another and thus sets people up for success with regaining control over their gambling.
We’re proud of the team we’ve assembled at Gambling Help Online and grateful that such kind and intelligent people choose to work with us. They’re here for you 24/7 to chat, strategise, and help you begin the journey to recovery or if you have already made some changes to help you maintain your motivation and manage any urges to gamble that will almost inevitably come.