Poker machines are designed to addict, but the damage can be undone.

Trish Dewberry

Poker machines are especially designed to induce an altered state of consciousness that creates an addictive response in the brain that may lead to problem gambling in susceptible people. But, hypnosis can also be used very effectively to undo the damage, and to return problem gamblers to the happy, healthy people they used to be.

Playing the pokies can be an enjoyable social pastime, and many thousands of people each week have a flutter and walk away unharmed. But, for many, the result is financial hardship and emotional distress for themselves and their families.

Federal government statistics show that between 15 and 20% of regular gamblers are likely to have a gambling problem, and that on average they lose around $21 000 each per year.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation reports that over $1.3 billion was lost in poker machines in the last financial year in Victoria.  This equates to an estimated $7 Billion hit to the economy. A staggering amount that is taken from ordinary family budgets and local businesses.

What most gamblers probably don’t realise is that the machines are designed especially to create an addictive response. Research has shown that the lights and bells and other sounds create a hypnotic state of consciousness, where the analytical part of the brain is switched off.  These sensory experiences are carefully calibrated to generate the maximum desire in the mind of the gambler to keep pouring that money in, even when they know that they have little chance of coming out ahead. Rational thought is suspended until the horror of the realisation of how much they have lost kicks in when they run out of money.

Indeed, research has also shown that poker machines are the most addictive form of gambling as every time a gambler plays, the parts of the brain that are linked to addiction fire, and this activation triggers a repetitive and ever-more damaging desire to play again.

However, just as hypnotic responses play a part in triggering continued gambling, so too can hypnosis be applied to counteract this response. Hypnotherapy can effectively and quickly undo the damage and generate a new response in the mind, removing the urges and rewiring the brain to change behaviour.

Trish Dewberry from Change in Mind Hypnotherapy is a skilled and experienced counsellor and hypnotherapist in Brunswick, has designed a program specifically to undo the damage caused by poker machines.

By applying specific hypnotic techniques she takes clients into an altered state of consciousness that allows a new pattern of behaviour to be set which helps the gambler successfully move away from gambling.  In her practice she regularly helps people get rid of the negative gambling response and return to a happy, normal life.

You can see more about Trish at www.changeinmind.net.au or call her on 0409 803 696.

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