Shannon M. Simms Insight Counselling & Consulting has a contract with the BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program, the primary provincial clinical resource for anyone negatively impacted by gambling. This program provides free, confidential counselling services for people who struggle with a problem with gambling, as well as those affected by the person with the problem.
The Clinical stream of the program provides free individual, couples, family and group counselling. The counsellors hold at least a Master’s degree, and most work in private practise. Services are flexible, evening and weekend appointments are often available, as are outreach and telephone services if attending in person is not an option.
In addition to drop-in groups and couples groups, the clinical program also runs a multi-day group treatment called “Discovery”. This group program offers specialized topics through the year. Topics include examining one’s relationship with gambling, building motivation for change, re-establishing/repairing relationships with loved ones (and oneself), exploring one’s relationship with money, dealing with grief and loss, just to name a few. Discovery programs run between 2 and 5 days and are offered free of charge to clients connected with a counsellor in the program.
Shannon is located in Langley, to locate a problem gambling counsellor in your area of British Columbia, please call the BC Problem Gambling Helpline, 1-888-795-6111 (24 hours) or check out www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca.
A note about counselling: people who seek support often recover faster than those who go it alone. Participating in our various groups is completely optional, in my experience, the group process can help to normalize one’s experience of the problem, recognizing they are not alone. It also provides an opportunity to connect with other high functioning, intelligent, supportive people who understand the problem in a different way than family and friends, because they have traveled a similar path. Recovery is a very individual process, what works for one is not necessarily going to work for another, but the more resources a person is aware of and has access to, the greater their chance of breaking free from the grips of the problem behaviour.
The Responsible & Problem Gambling Program also has a prevention stream, which provides presentations and trainings to a variety of community groups as well as the education system. This service is also available free of charge; the prevention specialist will work with your group to ensure the message regarding responsible and/or problem gambling awareness meets your group’s particular needs. Examples of community presentations include:
- training for allied professionals (probation, family physicians, mental health agencies)
- information sessions for parent groups, elementary and high schools, as well as college/university campuses
- drama projects and awareness initiatives for older adult populations.
- the program also has cultural prevention specialists for Asian Canadians and Indigenous Peoples.
For more information or to book a presentation for your group, please call the Problem Gambling Helpline (1-888-795-6111) and ask for a referral to a prevention specialist in your area.