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Psychodynamic Theory and Gambling . Today’s Agenda Psychodynamic Theory PPT / Discussion Movie Emersion . Basic Assumptions of Psychoanalytical Theory. A great deal of human behavior happens at an unconscious level. Humans are driven by instinctual drive states

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Psychodynamic theory and gambling

Psychodynamic Theory and Gambling

Today’s Agenda

Psychodynamic Theory PPT / Discussion

Movie Emersion


Basic assumptions of psychoanalytical theory
Basic Assumptions of Psychoanalytical Theory

  • A great deal of human behavior happens at an unconscious level.

  • Humans are driven by instinctual drive states

  • Human development unravels through a predictable series of stages, hence a trauma or block of such maturation can affect the development of a viable ego / sense of self.

  • The self is first and foremost and energy system.


Basic assumptions of psychodynamic theory
Basic Assumptions of Psychodynamic Theory

5) A fifth assumption of psychodynamic theory speaks to the process of sublimation, whereby an individual substitutes a desired behavior for a more socially acceptable behavior.

  • Ultimately, pathological gambling in one form or another can be looked upon as a regression of sorts whereby the gambler essentially returns to a former developmental stage so as to complete its development.

  • Such gratifications are considered to reflect past impingements of ego development and may be viewed as escapes, affect regulators, ego inflators, self love actions, etc.


  • Hans von hattingberg
    Hans Von Hattingberg

    • Tenets

      • Gambling in adulthood becomes a means to control anger and guilt associated with the failure to understand parental socialization or come to terms with (which was not worked through in childhood).

      • Thus, gambling can be understood as return of the repressed, because as an adult one uses gambling to control their inner and outer world.

    • And yet, this act of gaining control through gambling also brings about states of guilt especially when losing, as the gambler re-experiences such guilt as being delivered by parental imago's.


    Ernst simmel
    Ernst Simmel

    • A controversial character, held that gambling was a sublimated expression(s) of unresolved fixations.

    • Whereby money is symbolic, in the sense that winning is orgasmic, and losing represents castration (withdrawing of parental love).

    • Essentially the gambler has a developmental block (age 2 – 3 years), and through gambling the individual seeks to work through his attachments to his parents and gain independence.

    • An independence that he was not afforded as a toddler.


    William stekel
    William Stekel

    • Distinguished the “real gambler” from the from the “professional.”

    • The professional gambler plays because gambling is his livelihood, whereas the real gambler plays because he wants to escape from his current world.

    • For Stekel, gambling was a regression in time (to childhood) where their were no worries or cares.


    Stekel s contributions to theory
    Stekel’s contributions to theory

    • First to suggest that gambling produced alternate states. Thus, at the heart of gambling was a need for tension and release.

    • He also was the first clinician to point out that gambling was highly tied to superstition and ritual.

    • Stekel also saw the symbolism behind gambling and held that winning enabled the gambler to seize and hold onto to love or get back that feeling of lost love.


    Otto fenichel
    Otto Fenichel

    • One of the first theoreticians to point out the narcissistic qualities of the gambler.

    • For instance, the gambler who continues to think they are going to win, does so because he/she holds that their omnipotence is greater than fate or for that matter, more powerful than the odds themselves.


    Edmund bergler

    Bergler (1958), like Freud, invested much interest into the unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    Hence, Bergler was the forerunner of diagnostics in consideration to delineating the specific qualities held by the pathological gambler.

    Edmund Bergler


    Bergler s contributions
    Bergler’s contributions unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Systematically identified:

      • The gamblers habitual risk-taking.

      • Preoccupation with gambling.

      • The irrational persistence to quit despite reoccurring defeat.

      • The inability to stop when losing or winning.

      • The wagering of too much money.

      • The intoxicating and euphoric effects that gambling has on the gambler; and,

      • The pleasure-painful tension that a gambler experiences between the time a bet is placed and its outcome.


    Edmund bergler contd
    Edmund Bergler (contd). unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Clinically Bergler, was also the first “real treatment specialist” and created a practice around treating problem / pathological gamblers.

    • His main tenet was that the gambler had an “unconscious wish to lose”.

    • This was based on the fact that because the infant/child lost their omnipotent power (between 0 -2) they tried to reinstate or seize it through gambling.


    Bergler contd
    Bergler (contd). unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • And yet, gambling too, is a withholding and essentially a losing game.

    • Thus, at an unconscious level (gambling) offers a return to the omnipotent state that was taken away during infancy/childhood.

    • However, as an adult, the game despite it bringing frustration, the gambler at least controls their frustration.

    • Essentially, allowing them to deriving pleasure from pain (masochism).


    Breaking with tradition later psychoanalytic theorists
    Breaking With Tradition Later Psychoanalytic Theorists unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Bolen and Boyd

      • Although holding allegiance to some early theories on gambling Bolen and Boyd set themselves apart from their predecessors distinctively. . .


    Bolen and boyd s theoretical contributions
    Bolen and Boyd’s Theoretical Contributions unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Found gambling to function socially, religiously, and spiritually.

    • Were the first to suggest that a great deal of problem gamblers had parents that gambled and held that this may provide a propensity to gamble in the future.

    • Found that gambling served to counteract feelings of nothingness or emptiness replacing these emotions with a euphoric sense of importance, power (power seeking), and control.

    • Thus, laying the earlier foundation which holds that addiction is a self-medicating habit to deal with hidden psychiatric problems.


    Bolen and boyd s breaking with tradition
    Bolen and Boyd’s: Breaking With Tradition unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • For them, gambling was a defensive psychodynamic function, but both Intrapsychic and Interpsychic.

    • Having in roots in childhood, but also throughout the lifespan, more object related psychodynamics.


    Richard rosenthal
    Richard Rosenthal unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Modern day psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, has been treating gamblers for twenty-years.

    • Greatly responsible for the DSM criteria of the pathological gambler.

    • Although trained in psychoanalysis, largely studies the process by which gambling continues and how to go about treating it.


    Rosenthal and the gambler s defenses
    Rosenthal and the Gambler’s Defenses unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • For Rosenthal, treatment of the pathological gambler liesin the understanding, of how these five defense mechanisms:

      • Omnipotence

      • Splitting

      • Idealization/devaluation

      • Projection, and

      • Denial

  • Interact and help the gambler control his/her inner and outerworld(s), although eventually leading to their demise.


  • Omnipotence
    Omnipotence: unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Refers to feeling of being all powerful, which is a direct defense against feelings of helplessness.

    • This is a quality found in a great deal of gamblers and is exempflied in their wishful thinking.

    • I will win because I have to win or I can will myself to win (despite the house odds).


    Splitting
    Splitting: unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Is a defense mechanism whereby the gambler thinks himself/herself to be two separate people.

    • One is all good: the “winner,” and the other, all bad: the “loser.” Hence, the gambler oscillates between these two personalities types.

    • One hand, they can act all powerful whereby they seek to try to control others, thus, repressing the loser into the background.


    Idealization and devaluing
    Idealization and Devaluing unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Essentially, the idea of controlling others is seen in either, I idealize you, or I devalue you.

      • Thus, as much research points out, we see why gambler’s appear to have problems with intimacy, because the relationship is based on. . .


    Projection
    Projection unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Process of casting your feelings, thoughts, judgments onto somebody else.

    • Hence, the gambler routinely goes about controlling his inner world by devaluing/idealizing others.

    • He or she can then deal with the division with themselves (splitting, good or bad), but never really perceiving that it is them who are bad and good. DENIAL

    • Or that people themselves can be bad or good, a milestone that the self usually negotiates between the age of 0 – 6.


    Rosenthal and treatment
    Rosenthal and Treatment unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Ultimately, Rosenthal suggest that successful therapy hinges on helping the client realize that they are employing the latter defense mechanisms.

    • Not to mention how they are related to current gambling binges, and possibly how and why such defenses originated in the first place.


    Rosenthal and treatment1
    Rosenthal and Treatment unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • The question maybe asked then, “How does the therapist go about bringing these defenses to the clients awareness . . .

    • The answer is simple, the patient will try to deceive the therapist, idealize him or her, or devalue him/ her, thus projecting their good and bad onto to him or her.

    • Hence, learning to hold such projections, while equally learning when to help the client peel away their defenses, is key to assessing the role that gambling plays in the client’s life, and why there is a need to feel omnipotent in the first place.


    Rosenthal and further insights staying in the action
    Rosenthal and Further Insights: Staying in the Action unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • Most recently, Rosenthal has brought attention to the issue of dry drunk syndrome and this operates in the gambler; a terms he calls “staying in the action.”

    • While it is know that most substance abusers have to remain abstinent, it is a near impossibility for gambler’s to not indulge in the use of money, similar to eating disorders.

    • Thus, this poses a risk for the gambler as they are somewhat still involved in the action (at least when it comes to money).


    Staying in the action i m not talking about money
    Staying in the Action: I’m Not Talking about Money. unconscious mind of the gambler, yet, he, unlike Freud, differentiated the “non- clinical” from the “pathological” gambler.

    • And yet, using money is not the only way in which the gambler stays in the action.

    • As Rosenthal’s clinical research makes clear, and suggests, that there are many ways for the gambler to take risks, or remain in agambling mind-set, without making a bet.

    • Examples of staying in the action

      • Mind Bets

      • Success

      • Playing with Reality

      • Covert gambling

      • Lying, cheating and stealing, and;

      • Switching addictions


    Staying in the action through the guise of switching to another addiction
    Staying in the Action: Through the Guise of Switching to another Addiction.

    • The concept of dual addiction is not new, but Rosenthal suggests that a dual addiction for the gambler might not be the case.

    • Essentially, their supposed co-addiction, may actually represent gambling phenomena or an unconscious or covert way of staying in the action.


    Switching addictions one gambler stated
    Switching Addictions: One gambler stated, another Addiction.

    • After a period of individual therapy and regular attendance at Gamblers Anonymous, Mr. A appeared to have turned his life around. He abstained from gambling, which no longer seemed attractive, and his old debts were being paid off. He had remarried (his first wife divorced him because of his gambling), and claimed he and his wife were happy. His career had gone in a new direction and he was doing even better than before. He worked hard, but got satisfaction from his work. His employer and clients praised his accomplishments, and he was rewarded with frequent bonuses. By all accounts he would be considered successful.

    • What was wrong? With a great deal of embarrassment, he confided that he had begun frequenting prostitutes. He attempted to rationalize his behavior by telling the therapist that his sex drive was stronger than his wife's, and that she had been less available for him recently because of their different work schedules, and because of her involvement with her ailing mother. His turning to prostitutes, he said, was "quick and easy."


    • As he continued talking, the self-deception became obvious. If all he wanted was sexual gratification, he knew a number of women willing to accommodate him. He was a good looking, rather charming and outwardly confident young man, and women were sometimes quite forward in indicating interest. They did not even seem to mind that he was married. However, he rejected any and all such opportunities, preferring instead to seek out prostitutes on the street.

    • Such assignations were anything but "quick and easy." He experienced enormous anxiety that the prostitute would give him AIDS or some other disease which he would then pass on to his wife, or that the prostitute would turn out to be a policewoman and he would be arrested. In addition, he was certain that if his behavior became known, his wife would leave him and his career would be ruined. It dawned on him that he was gambling, and that the more he engaged in this behavior, the more certain he was to lose.

      • Why, he then asked, when he found a prostitute who appeared "safe," would he not go back to her, but would insist on trying someone different each time?


    • Obviously he either wanted to lose, or was excited by the risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • Mr. A then recognized that the feelings he had while looking for prostitutes were identical to the feelings previously experienced gambling. He not only had the same "rush," but the compulsive aspects were the same. He would find himself preoccupied by it while at work, inventing excuses for driving home through neighborhoods where there were streetwalkers. The anticipation, and the guilt afterwards, and the need to lie about where he spent his time and money, all reminded him of his previous gambling.


    Opinions please
    Opinions Please? risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • What do folks think about this case?

    • Is it gambling or is it a sex addiction?


    Switching addiction and treatment
    Switching Addiction and Treatment risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • For Rosenthal, gambling and his sexual compulsion can be fused, which is not an uncommon occurrence.

    • However, when looking at addiction this way, the therapist needs to be sure that the phenomena he/she is hearing is actually what is happening.

    • Thus, making treatment easier, despite the complexity in treating an addiction switcher.


    Switching addiction and treatment1
    Switching Addiction and Treatment risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • Essentially, at the core of the behavior was risk-taking, and more pertinently, reliving / reenacting former gambling behaviors.

    • As such, these behaviors needed to be pointed out, investigated, and brought to light, whereby staying in the action is understood fully by both client and therapist alike.


    Lying cheating stealing
    Lying, Cheating, Stealing risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • A second way gamblers stay in the action is through, lying, cheating, and stealing.

    • For some pathological gambles, lying, cheating, and stealing are the heart of their addictive behavior.

    • Even after maintaining abstinence, LCS, may still frequent the gambler’s mindset.


    Confronting lying cheating stealing
    Confronting Lying, Cheating, Stealing risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • Hence, sometimes the slightest transgressions on part of the client need to be investigated.

    • Because part of the pathological gambler’s game is to have the therapist collude with them.

    • And in this collusion, the gambler wants them to accept their dishonesty, as something that cannot be changed. (At least I don’t gamble, right?)

    • Rosenthal suggests, that by not confronting the gambler on such matters, the client is unconsciously devaluing the therapist, themselves, and the work they have done together.


    Case of magazine theft
    Case of Magazine theft. . . risk of jeopardizing everything and escaping unharmed.

    • Mr. D took a magazine from the waiting room and brought it into the session with him, and then, afterwards, while driving home, realized he still had it with him. Actually he had wanted to finish reading an article, so his forgetting, although not conscious, nevertheless served a purpose. He had not thought of asking if he could borrow it, because the therapist might say no, and besides it would have made him aware of his dependency on another person, something he went to great lengths to avoid. He did have a momentary thought that he should go back and return the magazine, but "put it out of (his) mind.”

    • The following week he forgot to bring the magazine with him for his appointment. He intended to mention it but started talking about something else, and it was again forgotten. He was shocked when the therapist brought it up halfway through the session, and referred to it as a kind of stealing. Mr. D became very defensive, and argued that everybody did things like that, but then realized that he had been feeling particularly uncomfortable about coming for the session, and had not known why.


    • Nevertheless, he persisted in trying to trivialize the incident, and could not accept the therapist's contention that it was something for them to examine in the session. It was only later that he could admit to other "omissions"—obligations that were forgotten, bills he ignored, promises he failed to keep—a pattern of lying and cheating that he had not consciously recognized. By stealing the magazine, the patient was gambling that he could get away with it.

    • He was also protecting, and trying to keep out of the therapy, a part of his personality that believed these kinds of activities were all right. This included his secrecy and sense of entitlement. Only when this was acknowledged and dealt with was there any chance of recovery.


    Primitive avoidance and case of the magazine theft
    Primitive Avoidance and Case of the Magazine Theft. incident, and could not accept the therapist's contention that it was something for them to examine in the session. It was only later that he could admit to other "omissions"—obligations that were forgotten, bills he ignored, promises he failed to keep—a pattern of lying and cheating that he had not consciously recognized. By stealing the magazine, the patient was gambling that he could get away with it.

    • According to Rosenthal, this example illustrates not only how one little lie or omission can lead to another, but the kind of "primitive avoidance" so common among pathological gamblers.

    • Hence, uncomfortable realities can be just put out of mind, or "shoved under the rug.” But, the therapist cannot let little things like this go, because if they do, they actually are enabling covert behaviors to continue possible leading to full blown relapse.

    • Thus, Rosenthal suggests that the pathological gambler must develop, or reestablish, an internalized value system based on honesty and integrity.


    Guilt and staying in the action
    Guilt and Staying in the Action incident, and could not accept the therapist's contention that it was something for them to examine in the session. It was only later that he could admit to other "omissions"—obligations that were forgotten, bills he ignored, promises he failed to keep—a pattern of lying and cheating that he had not consciously recognized. By stealing the magazine, the patient was gambling that he could get away with it.

    • And the only way to help the gambler deal with their staying in the action behaviors, is to have the gambler take responsibility for their dishonesty.

    • Hence, as evidenced in a great deal of psychodynamic theories presented, the gambler needs to dispel their guilt.

    • Which is done by not decreasing their discomfort over their guilty actions and allowing them to get away with it, but to actively challenge it and get to the bottom of why the guilt is their in the first place.


    Guilt and staying in the action1
    Guilt and Staying in the Action incident, and could not accept the therapist's contention that it was something for them to examine in the session. It was only later that he could admit to other "omissions"—obligations that were forgotten, bills he ignored, promises he failed to keep—a pattern of lying and cheating that he had not consciously recognized. By stealing the magazine, the patient was gambling that he could get away with it.

    • One of the major reasons for intractable or unrelenting guilt is the continuation of some harmful behavior, however covert, subtle, or rationalized.

    • The first step toward self-forgiveness is an acknowledgment of change. In other words, being able to say “I used to do such-and-such. I don't do that any more.”


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