Clearly the most cost-effective system of Level II care delivery is to “train up” counselors already in place in treatment settings across the state. We plan for this to lead quickly to trained counselors and certification for those interested in such recognition of their commitment and skills.
Research indicates counselors benefit form the specialized knowledge of gambling treatment, so they learn how to help with complicated financial restitution needs, legal conflicts, vocational and interpersonal and relational conflicts specific to problem gamblers and their families.
One of the first problem gambling counselor training programs was started in Maryland. Following the V.A. gambling treatment program model we have added and refined clinical training into three levels of training using current research and evidence based and practices.
One of the strengths the Center is proud to have is our partnership with the clinical trainers of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling. These trainers have worked in over 43 states, ten Canadian provinces, and nine other countries. Our training staff includes the current president of the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board and an international expert on gambling treatment among diverse populations.
To support the clinicians new to gambling treatment the Center will also provide two monthly clinical case conference calls at no charge to the counselor. These calls are intended to offer support, mentoring and coaching to counselors new to gambling treatment to assist in the integration and consistent use of effective gambling treatment strategies.
Please note the State of Maryland does not require certification of gambling counselors at this time. The Center’s training program offers approved gambling specific training for those counselors who may be interested in this level of recognition of their training and skills. Please go to www.IGCCB.org for details on certification.
Evaluation of program effectiveness cannot be sacrificed. This field has little published research on treatment effectiveness and we cannot contribute to the dearth of data when a reporting system for counselors on client care speaks to accountability, system improvement, quality controls and can significantly contribute to the research on treatment outcomes. Some of the earliest contributions to the problem gambling research field came from the early treatment programs the State funded in Maryland. This research tradition needs to continue as we step forward funding only those efforts we know work because they have been researched and refined based on the outcomes of that critical research.
Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine