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Counsellors sought for problem gaming

The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission is to offer a free training series on gambling disorders for local counsellors, this month.

The series will be led by University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, Programme Director, Lori Rugle and hosted by the Problem and Responsible Gaming Council.

The first workshop will be held over two days from 9am until 5pm on Thursday, November 30 and Friday, December 1, at Ocean View Golf Course in Devonshire. The training, which can accommodate up to a maximum of 60 counsellors, is almost fully subscribed.

Roger Trott, the director of Problem and Responsible Gaming, said: “We are thrilled to see how engaged local treatment providers have been when it comes to receiving this specialised training.

“So far, we have 55 persons registered for this two-day event, which is probably one of the largest that's been hosted over the last ten years.

“The truth is, the problem of gambling addiction already exists here in Bermuda, but it hasn't been exposed to the degree that other substance abuse problems have, and local counsellors are trying to stay ahead of the eight ball in anticipation of the arrival of casino gaming in Bermuda.

“While there are similarities among the various addictions, there are also stark differences and with this training clinicians and agencies will be able to provide a broader range of services and better identify those with gambling disorders who may not have been previously screened for it.”

Interest has been shown from a range of addiction treatment service providers, including: independent organisations, charities, those who provide clinical services through the Department of Corrections and a few psychologists on Island, Mr Trott said.

“It's really exciting because the aim is to ensure our local clinicians are equipped with the tools and most up-to-date research to provide services and support to anyone with a gambling disorder,” he said. “Dr Rugle brings a wealth of experience and has worked with several problem gaming boards across the United States, including past stints with the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Ohio Council on Problem Gambling and her current role as president of the Association of Problem Gambling State Administers.”

Dr Lori Rugle is an award-winning expert in the field of problem gambling. In 2004, she received a Service Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling, while in 1997 she was named the recipient of the Herman Goldman Award, an accolade given in recognition of a career dedicated to improving the lives of problem gamblers and their families through advocacy, research, training and the promotion of public awareness.

Dr Rugle is a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified clinical consultant in the speciality area of disordered gambling. She is also a certified recovery coach.

She began her career in adult general psychology at a private practice in 1982, and from 2008 until 2014 served as director of the Problem Gambling Services at a state funded institution for gambling disorder treatment.

While there, she developed and implemented a comprehensive programme for substance abuse so that mental health agencies could address the impact of problem gambling on recovery, health and wellbeing.

In addition to this month's training, a remaining two sessions will be held in early 2018. Participants will be introduced to what problem gambling is, types of gamblers and stages of gambling addiction, as well as the various treatment options available and industry best practices.

This month's free session will count towards 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Local treatment providers are required to have 30 CEUs in order to move towards being certified as a problem gambling therapist on the island.

Anyone interested in reserving a space for future sessions should e-mail executive administrator Deborah Trott at d.trott@bcgc.bm

Loreen Rugle

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Published November 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm (Updated November 24, 2017 at 12:13 am)

Counsellors sought for problem gaming

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