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RET: Rational Emotive Therapy for Compulsive Gambling - Gambling Addiction and other Addictive Disorders

Abstract: The principle of RET: rational emotive therapy, is the relationship between thinking, feeling and action.

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RET: Rational Emotive Therapy for Compulsive Gambling - Gambling Addiction and other Addictive Disorders

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Jul 2008.

How can RET: rational emotive therapy help in the case of a gambling addiction and other addictive disorders?


The principle of this therapy is the relationship between thinking, feeling and action. It is an analysis model: what is going on? It has self-control procedures. This helps you become able to easily influence the situation (like a fixed amount in your wallet, or be deregistered from the gambling hall). You can gain insight into a certain way of thinking. When we look at the gambling situation, it often turns out that there have been thoughts or events that have preceded the gambling, which lead to a bigger need to gamble, which have made that you started gambling. There are five factors that play a role in gambling:

  • event: what has preceded the gambling (be alone, feel unpleasant, be bored, a fight).
  • thoughts: that you have during the event (if I gamble now I will probably win, when I go gambling I feel better).
  • feelings: usually decisive for the level of gambling need.
  • behavior: gambling.
  • consequences: of the gambling (fights, loss of money, feeling of guilt, shame).

By describing these five items, you can gain more insight into the possibilities to respond. This way you can learn how to deal differently with the event. By thinking differently about it, you also get a different feeling about it. You often don't know which feelings are present. You also learn how to react to your behaviour, by thinking of alternatives, for example.

There are several books on sale about RET.

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