I’d been counselling compulsive gamblers for the Gordon Moody Association for two years when I was approached about delivering support and therapy to problem gamblers online. The decision to provide online support had been taken a few years earlier on the basis that GMA had 40 years experience in the field, which not many organisations can say! So they decided to give the global online community access to their expertise and the Gambling Therapy website was born.
Now I’m no stranger to a chat room and have been known to play a fantasy MMO or two in my time but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t convinced! How could I convey empathy, compassion and understanding via a computer screen? How could I work with body language without a body to observe?
Putting my reservations to one side I logged on to GT and found a therapeutic community so rich, so diverse and dedicated that no one could fail to feel the power of digital culture at work across continents as these people held hands in cyberspace……corny right? Yup, but also true. I was touched by the peer support I had witnessed and as I started to deliver e-mail, group and chat support I was struck by the strength of feeling I had time and time again when engaging with these people. Stranger still, they could perceive this depth of feeling and they responded to it! So I had to admit it, I’d fallen in love with online therapy….
This article first appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Student Spotlight article.
Jane Fahy, MBACP is Clinical Services Manager for Gambling Therapy, part of the Gordon Moody Association – www.gamblingtherapy.org
Access TILT Magazine archives: http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs