Remember change takes time

Many times family members and friends are ready for the gambling behavior to change while the individual that gambles is not. This can lead to conflict and stress for all involved. Understanding the process of change can be a useful strategy to use in deciding how to approach the issue and also for dealing with your own emotions as you deal with the individual. You can think about change as a staged process:


Pre-contemplation: the person does not see that there is a problem.

Contemplation: the person is beginning to consider the need for change. However, they are unsure of whether they want to change.

Preparation: the person is open to change and willing to seek what resources are available to make change.

Action: the person actively makes changes, for example, they have stopped or cut down their gambling.

Maintenance: the person has been able to maintain behavior change for a significant period of time.

Relapse: the person falls back into gambling behavior. This may be a one time slip or a return to previous levels of gambling.

*Prochaska JO and DiClemente CC ( 1984 ) The Transtheoretical Approach: Towards a Systematic Eclectic Framework . Dow Jones Irwin , Homewood, IL, USA .