Have you ever heard someone suffering from a gambling addiction say that their luck was about to turn?
It’s a common misconception that if you keep on placing bets, sooner or later your fortunes will change.
The truth, however, is very different.
That’s because gambling is set up in such a way that the house always wins.
So even if you do come out on top once in a while, the odds are always going to be stacked against you.
Why? Because that’s how gambling sites and establishments make their money.
They know that anyone with a gambling addiction or habit can’t help themselves.
They’ll keep playing in the hope that the tide will turn in their favor.
But it never (or rarely ever) does.
Fortunately, hypnosis can help. Check out the article below to discover how you can help your clients overcome a gambling addiction using hypnosis, and the main psychological reasons why people gamble.
The 3 Types Of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction was thought to be a problem with impulse control. But new evidence shows that it actually has a profile similar to other types of addiction such as cocaine and alcohol.
There are 3 main types of gambling addiction that you can identify. These are:
Someone who suffers from gambling addiction typically has lower dopamine levels or less sensitive dopamine receptors.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter called the feel-good hormone that contributes to overall physical and mental well-being.
Dopamine is also a component of the brain’s reward-motivated behavior. Anticipation of most types of rewards increases the level of dopamine in the brain, so the idea of a big win could give someone a temporary high.
That’s another reason why gambling can be seen as an addiction and not simply a lack of self-control.
Gambling addiction can lead to all kinds of other related problems including:
- Financial difficulties, such as going into debt or having to steal to support the addiction
- Medical issues such as depression, anxiety or even suicide
IMPORTANT NOTE: As far as hypnosis is concerned, gambling addiction doesn’t technically fall within the medical model. Before you agree to work with someone suffering with gambling addiction, you might be wise to check with a lawyer to find out what the law is in your particular area.
Personality Types That Are More Likely To Develop A Gambling Addiction
It’s estimated that about 2 million people in the US are addicted to gambling, while as many as 20 million report that their gambling habits are interfering with their work and social life.
There are certain personality traits that will contribute to whether or not a person develops gambling addiction.
- Narcissism – you probably won’t see a narcissist in your hypnosis office, because they think too much of themselves to admit they might need help.
- Risk and sensation seekers – risk seekers live life on the edge. Gambling fits in perfectly with this scenario because they risk their money and don’t know what the outcome is going to be. Sensation seekers are looking for the next thrill to inject some excitement into what they see as a dull, colorless life void of any real meaning or purpose.
- Impulsivity – gamblers tend to be very impulsive, acting on the spur of the moment rather than weighing up the options or looking at the process from any kind of balanced perspective.
One big reason why people end up suffering from gambling addiction is that it helps them avoid personal problems.
Instead of facing up to their problems, they bury themselves in their gambling habit and focus all of their attention on that.
Groups like Gamblers Anonymous can provide peer support and should be recommended to anyone with gambling addiction.
3 Cognitive Biases Found In Sufferers Of Gambling Addiction
Cognitive bias refers to an individual’s tendency to see the world based on their own experiences and preferences, rather than seeing the world as it actually is.
Where gambling addiction is concerned, there are 3 known types of cognitive bias that may be at work. These include:
1. The Gambler’s Fallacy – this is the idea that luck balances out. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, gamblers think that if they keep on playing the game, eventually their luck will turn, and they will end up winning.
It’s a nice idea, but it’s totally false. The odds are always against the gambler, because the casinos and betting establishments make sure the games are stacked in their favor. What actually happens is that the more the gambler continues to play, the more money they lose.
The proof is in the statistics. Gambling establishments in places like Las Vegas earn billions of dollars every year from people placing bets. But you never hear of casinos going bust because too many gamblers cleaned them out.
2. Illusion of control – this is where the gambler thinks they have more control over the situation than they actually do. You see this a lot with the many online gambling products available these days.
Some offer a mathematical formula that’s “guaranteed” to beat the odds. This kind of marketing appeals to the gambler because it makes it seem like he or she is in control, when in fact the system is still rigged so that the house wins.
3. Unrealistic optimism – this is linked to over confidence. It creates risk seeking coupled with an imbalanced assessment of the risk. If you’re unrealistically confident that you’re going to win, then you’re likely to place bets that you can’t afford and to keep on doing it in the mistaken belief that you will eventually win it all back.
Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to treat gambling addiction because it can help people deal with the things they don’t want to deal with, and it can give them better and more productive ways to deal with those things other than gambling.
3 Powerful Hypnosis Techniques To Overcome A Gambling Addiction
As a hypnotist, you have a whole range of techniques at your disposal to help someone suffering from gambling addiction. Here are 3 techniques you might consider using.
1. The Non-Awareness Set (NAS)
This is a way to induce trance without your subject having any idea that it’s happening. In other words, without them being aware of it.
It can be used to deal with unconscious behavior your subject may not be aware of, and to increase their awareness at the same time.
An example of this would be someone who intends to go home at the end of the day but ends up going to gamble instead, but not really understanding why.
The NAS allows you to cycle through a particular experience until something more meaningful emerges from the experience.
The Non-Awareness Set uses physical sensation as its symbol. Someone who goes gambling when they had no intention of doing so is most likely doing it unconsciously.
There may be something else underlying their behavior, such as perhaps they’re lonely. They don’t want to go home to an empty house, and they know that if they go to the casino there will be other people that they can talk to and share experiences with.
Gambling isn’t the problem. The problem is loneliness. Gambling is simply the way the person has chosen to deal with the loneliness.
The Non-Awareness Set can help you to help them find positive and healthier alternative methods of dealing with the problem.
There are two things to remember when putting the NAS to use in this way:
1. It’s important to imply things rather than saying them outright. You need to let the subject come up with their own ideas and solutions to the problem.
2. Before starting the NAS, it’s important to frame things and make sure the subject is suitably primed. Otherwise they might reject the idea or fight against it if they think it wasn’t their idea.
2. The Blitz
The blitz is a technique that you can use after you’ve done your “gold mining” to elicit positive resources from the person’s past.
You can use a question and answer format in which to elicit this information from your subject.
You do this by asking questions such as:
- What do you (i.e. the subject) do for fun?
- Who do you know?
- How do you socialize?
- What kinds of things did you do when you were younger?
Once you have the answers to your questions, you can use the blitz to make future memories in which the subject does things they enjoy that have nothing to do with gambling.
Here’s an example of how this type of blitz might work. Imagine the subject is an older lady living alone.
Because this is a hypothetical example, you don’t know exactly what the lady’s previous interests will have been. But chances are there will have been a few.
This is your opportunity to blitz around those things she used to enjoy and re-stimulate her interest in them.
Maybe she’d like to take up dancing, or painting, or flower arranging, or she might join a Meetup Group or a Walking Club.
Once the options are presented, she’ll have lots of potential socializing activities that have nothing to do with gambling.
The trick is to find out what the person might enjoy so you know which things to put into your blitz.
They have to come from her, and then you use them to create future memories where gambling does not enter the equation.
If your subject is gambling due to loneliness, this technique can be used to regress them back to a time when they could socialize happily without gambling.
A regression can be a powerful tool if your subject is dealing with any strong negative emotion, whether that’s loneliness, shame, despair, boredom or guilt.
Gambling is a way of compensating for or coping with an actual problem.
Let’s take guilt as an example. Guilt, interestingly, has been found to be self-rewarding, so that when your subject feels guilt, they’re actually getting a shot of dopamine.
That makes dealing with guilt a problem, but not an insurmountable problem as long as you’re aware of it.
To solve the problem that guilt presents, you’ll have to help your subject:
- Fix the problem or mistake they’ve made in their thinking and help them to make the situation as whole as possible once again
- Help them to look forward to how they want things to be different
Another approach is to use the safety to safety loop. In terms of loneliness, this would involve going back to a time when your subject wasn’t feeling lonely. A time when they had lots of friends.
Then ask them to tell you the opposite of loneliness. They might say socializing, or having fun, or friendship. So the loop becomes socializing to socializing, having fun to having fun, or friendship to friendship.
Loneliness is somewhere in the middle, and all it takes to eliminate it or move away from it is to re-establish some of the things that prevented them from being lonely in the past.
You can use any one of these techniques or, if more than one session is needed, you might be able to use all of them.
Whichever technique you choose, it’s nice to know that you have the power to help people lead more positive and productive lives through hypnosis.