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Introducing the Pathological or Mistaking Him/her Entirely • Today’s Agenda • The Birth of the Pathological Gambler PPT and Discussion • Group Exercises / Phenomenology of PGD
The Birth of the Pathological Gambler • The “pathological gambler”, has become a common term in society and although many may not know what it completely encapsulates, it seems to carry with it connotations. . .
General Themes from Your Readings • I will discuss these!
The Birth of the Pathological Gambler • What do you associate with the term?
The Birth of the Pathological Gambler • Does anyone see a problem with this construct or for lack of a better word “LABEL.” • Or, • Is it a label?
So what is a pathological gambler? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D50bjRjwHc • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVk8Y--Ry0o&mode=related&search=
What do folks feel/think about this? • Should we add something? And if yes what?
What do folks feel/think about this? • Should we take away anything? And if yes what?
Where are we going with this? • Well 50 years or ago or so, such a definition did not exist? • Hence, the author of your reading, Collins, asks us why this is so? • His argument suggests that the government learned that they could not. . .
Why the Pathological Gambler (contd). • Prohibit it, just doesn’t work, but • Their were still a proportion of society that disagreed with it. • And it wasn’t just a moral issue (i.e., medicalisation, physiology of addiction, GA) • But governments, agencies, businesses, could make a great deal of money off it, • Hence, as law continues to be influenced by the Psy sciences. . .
Why the Pathological Gambler? • Not to mention that governments realized that gambling wasn’t going away, and considering the age of neo-liberalism. . . • It became possible for an “explicit construction of government [sic] to pay attention to the psychology of the gambler” (Collins in Cosgrave, 2006. p. 377). • Alas, their was a “space” for the emergence of the compulsive gambler to be taken more seriously, a space that would soon be occupied in greater detail by the Psy. Sciences.
Agree or Disagree with the Label • Thus, whether we agree or disagree with the label or whether or not the Psy. Sciences have become just another industry, whereby they reduce human behavior into categories. . . • It appears that these categories are here to stay. • Thus, in future lectures will look more closely at how the gambler/problem or pathological gambler and his or her behavior is conceptualized and understood.
A Helpful Definition? • This definition is not always helpful because it leaves one to question whether impulsivity and loss of control are due to gambling itself, or is impulsivity a personality trait that is core to the etiology of gambling disorders…….?
Addiction Isn’t the Problem it’s the Personality? • According to some clinician's/theorist’s problem gambling or pathological gambling is just a symptom of a more enduring personality problem. • The gambling personality, supposedly highlights these characteristics or more: • Flashy • Manipulative • Grandiose • Overconfident • Impatient • Competitive • Energetic • Success Driven • Resourceful • Anti-social • Aggressive • Shallow • Immature • Impulsive
Search for an Identifying Trait… • Unfortunately, empirical literature suggests that personality theory and it’s relation to gambling is rarely supported. • Meanwhile, their exists a consistent stream of research that continues to try to nail down a specific personality which reflects the problem/pathological gambler. • To date, research has yet to find such a personality, two predominant reasons for this are: • Infancy of gambling research (empirically driven) • Sampling issues
Gambling as a progressive entity. • For today, however, we will talk about gambling as a progressive entity and how these levels of progression so to speak, are assessed. • Before that, let’s take a look at the progressive level of gambling.
Robert Custer • Custer is considered the father of modern gambling theory or pioneer (began in later 70’s). • Prior to his research, the gambling literature was considered by some to be inconsequential and seemingly based on case study phenomena. • This highly debatable mind you, but in the age of empiricism the phenomenological experience of the gambler is sometimes forgotten.
Custer’s Progressive Gambling Paradigm • Custer (1985) delineated gamblers into one of six categories along with delineating a progressive problem gambling paradigm. • professional • antisocial • casual social • serious social • escape or relief, and • compulsive gambler (or what we consider today as the pathological gambler.delineated gamblers into one of six categories: the professional, antisocial, casual social, serious social, escape or relief, and compulsive gambler
Custer’s Classifications • Before we break down these classifications and how gambling proceeds in stages, Custer eloquently describes such a progression: The metamorphosis from a recreational gambler into a pathological gambler is subtle. It can be compared to a man in a canoe who is floating gently beyond the periphery of a whirlpool and then drifts leisurely into the outer whirls. At this stage, the water seems calm and safe. But there has been a change: the man no longer controls the canoe’s direction. The canoe picks up speed, slowly at first, then with frightening rapidity, the man is carried to his doom.
Social Gambler • The first level of development in moving towards becoming a problem/pathological gambler is simply playing for the fun of it or taking in the entertainment value that the gambling venue provides. • The social casual gambler, makes up the majority of gamblers found in the general population today (National Research Council, 1999).
Serious Social Gambler • Serious social gambling, is often gateway toward pathological gambling (Custer & Milt, 1985), and ushers in Custer progressive gambling paradigm. • This phenomenon occurs usually after a “big win,” (1st stage) and instils the gambler via the rush and operant reward with the belief that he or she can win an even larger jackpot / score (Custer & Milt, 1985).
Phases and Stages: Serious Social A Deeper Look • However, over a period of time, the wins lose out to the house (2nd stage) and the serious social gambler begins to chase his or her losses in an attempt to recoup what he or she has already spent. • Desperation, our 3rdstage, is where the gambler loses complete control of his or her gambling, bets increase, and the individual’s behaviour becomes riskier (Walker, 1992).
An Escape or Compulsive Gambler? • During this time, the gambler’s behaviours can help identify his or her gambling subtype as either a compulsive gambler or delineate him or her as an escape gambler, but in most cases, the escape gambler will not completely display traits from the compulsive category (Custer & Milt, 1985).
Phases and Stages: Serious Social A Deeper Look • For instance, the escape gambler gambles to escape from a dysphoric mood instead of gambling for the euphoria or high. • These individuals usually gamble to distract themselves from a life that they consider to be empty, which could be reflective of an ongoing state of being, or from a recent loss, marital break-up, or death in the family (Bazargan, Bazargan, & Akanda, 2000; Custer & Milt, 1985). • Alternatively, the compulsive gambler, or better-known today as the pathological gambler, encompasses the final stage.
Compulsive Gambler • He or she is one who routinely chases his or her losses, gambles to avoid withdrawal symptoms, is no longer solely interested in the big win, repeatedly experiences euphoria and dysphoria, and “hits bottom”. • According to Custer (1985), this stage is where one may find individuals committing crimes in order to continue to gamble. • Moreover, by the time they come in for treatment, they are not only destitute relevant to finances, but also have little or no support systems and basic ego functioning is tattered.
Three Stage Model of Gambling • Hence, we have seen that Custer delineated gambling into 4 phases: • Winning • Losing • Desperation • Hopelessness
Strengths of Custer’s Progressive Levels • A strength of this particular perspective is its delineation of categories for the different subtypes of gamblers, as such; this paradigm places gambling behaviours on a continuum from non-gambling to extreme gambling, whereby, not all gamblers are labelled as having a permanent disease or pathology. • Secondly, from the developmental orientation a gambler may be treated by many forms of therapy. Thus, the addict can take charge of his or her own treatment path. • Following the second advantage, gambling can rightly be perceived as a normal behaviour, where a great proportion of gamblers gamble for recreational and social pursuits, whereas “ideographic (individual factors), based mostly on chance, combine to encourage gambling addiction”
Some Limitations to Custer’s Progressive Classifications • Although the Custer delineates classifications of gamblers and establishes a process by which one becomes a compulsive gambler. . . • His account of how or why one does or doesn’t become a pathological gambler stands on chance phenomena (Shaffer et al., 1987). • Nor does his perspective offer a hypothesis as to why over the past 20 years a greater percentage of younger and older adults are becoming pathological gamblers.