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Single-Session Exposure Therapy for Problem Gambling: A Single-Case Experimental Design

  • Barry Tolchard (a1), Lyndall Thomas (a2) and Malcolm Battersby (a3)


There is a paucity of treatment-outcome research for problem or pathological gambling. Single-session exposure therapy has been used successfully with a broad range of psychological disorders such as panic disorder and the phobias. This article will describe the use of single-session graded exposure to treat problem gambling with an Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) gambler. Pretreatment to 6-month follow-up repeated measures showed a significant reduction in client-rated gambling severity, that is, showed a significant reduction in client-rated gambling severity (Gambling Severity Checklist [GSCL]), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). This case demonstrates a novel intervention which is brief, convenient and accessible to the client, and which resulted in gains maintained over the medium-term. This promising single case indicates the need for further research to determine whether positive benefits are realised in larger randomised control designs.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Associate Professor Malcolm Battersby, F6 The Flats, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park SA 5042, Australia.


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