On September 15th, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) held our 35th Annual Statewide Conference. In the spirit of this year’s theme, “The New Frontier in Gambling Treatment,” we invited various experts to speak about innovations in research and therapy via workshops given to conference attendees. Here are just a few of the enlightening presentations that helped to make this year such an interesting and educational experience:
“Cultural Implications in Choosing the Most Effective Therapeutic Techniques”
Jessica Alomar, LPC
Jessica Alomar, a therapist based in Oakhurst, New Jersey, presented the first workshop. Alomar’s session focused on cultural considerations that therapists should consider as they determine the most effective treatments for their clients. No matter the treatment, however, cultural competency and sensitivity remain paramount. Alomar used specific examples of cultural competency in therapy with Native American, African American, and Latino populations.
“Harm Reduction and Contingency Management Strategies in Working with Gambling Disordered Clients”
Jeffrey M. Beck, ICGC-II, BACC, J.D., ABD
In his workshop, Jeffrey Beck talked about shared decision-making between patients and their providers. Sometimes, patients may defer to their doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist when making important medical decisions, rather than acting as full participants in their own treatment. The medical professionals in these situations need to ensure that they present information in clear language that emphasizes the patient’s autonomy. This helps to align goals and reduce the risks of harm or relapse in the short, medium, and long-term.
“Remove Subconscious Blocks to Abstinence”
Anthony F. De Marco, LL.B. (J.D.), Ph.D., DNGH
For over 26 years, Dr. Anthony De Marco has served both as a member of the CCGNJ’s Board of Directors and its Secretary. In his presentation, he led a group guided meditation. This session served as an example of the introspective explorations of the subconscious that he employs in his hypnotherapy practice. The methods he uses help patients overcome a variety of issues, ranging from disordered illegal sports betting in Atlantic City to weight loss struggles, to disordered substance use, by identifying and addressing obstacles in their own minds.
The intelligence and passion on display at this year’s conference – like every year – serves as an important reminder of why we do what we do. If you or a loved one need help with disordered illegal sports betting in AC, or any other form of problem gambling, call our hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER. The line remains completely confidential and available 24/7. Alternatively, visit us at https://800gambler.org/. As always, the CCGNJ offers support, treatment, and hope.