The gambling industry continues to wrestle with problem gambling, being put in a position to solve an issue there is yet a solution for. Psychotherapist Jason Shiers believes we’ve been looking at it all wrong, and offered a different approach to our Becky Liggero Fontana.
“There’s always room for ingenuity and innovation in this particular thing, the current results have to suggest that it’s worth a look at something new,” Shiers said. “It feels a little bit like we’re spending more money on the same things that aren’t currently working. By working, I don’t mean that they’re not effective in anyone’s life and they’re not making a difference, I mean they’re not really sort of making a huge dent in the problem gambling.”
If we start looking at the root cause, we might find something that works. “A lot of the current way of looking at things is focused on the symptoms,” Shiers said. “There’s diagnosis, there’s illness and the psychiatric help, and the psychological help, talking therapies, undoing the struggles of the past or giving strategies and techniques to deal with problem gambling, and why do people actually make those decisions to spend money that they don’t have. “
By addressing people on an individual basis, you can start to find a solution to why they developed a gambling problem. “My way of working with people is helping people to understand why,” he said. “Why is it they’re suffering in the first place, what is it about their life that they’re unhappy about, then giving them an understanding of how that’s created in their own minds.”
Up to this point, popular solutions pushed by legislators have included capping bets. Liggero Fontana wondered if this was doing any good at all, if problem gamblers weren’t going to stop having a problem just by having smaller bets. “If I’m about to spend my mortgage payment on a bet, it’s probably a good idea to stop me from doing it,” Shiers responded. “But it really needs to be identified that, that is not solving any problems. It’s really just stopping people from hurting themselves. It’s damage limitation, it’s harm reduction, it’s not really helping people.”
Shiers is doing that work by working the convention circuit, and starting his own initiatives. “I’ve created my own treatment program as well, for people struggling with addiction,” he said. “[It] takes people through a process of understanding why they’re creating suffering, what’s going on for them, and how they create suffering, and how they escape from themselves, really looking at the core of the problem rather than just dealing with the symptom. My passion at the end of the day is helping people who are suffering.”
Watch the whole video to get a better understanding of why people start down the path of problem gambling, and what Shiers thinks they need to recover. And if you haven’t yet, make sure to subscribe to the CalvinAyre.com YouTube channel to see all of our great interview content as it goes up.
Jason Shiers is a Certified Psychotherapist & Transformative Coach who is the founder of Infinite Recovery an online immersive 28 day Addiction treatment programme. Helping free people from their addictions.