Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How much does gambling counselling cost?

All Central Coast Gambling Help services are free. We are funded by the NSW government through the responsible gambling fund to provide free help to anyone affected by gambling.

Do I need a referral?

No referral is needed. To begin the process, all you need do is ring or email the service closest to you to book an appointment..

What happens in the first session?

During the first session there is some paperwork to be read, completed and signed. This 'informed consent' is intended to ensure that you fully understand the counselling process and limits of confidentiality before beginning to discuss your private details.

Your counsellor will then conduct an assessment to explore your individual needs and situation and to better understand the factors around your reason for presenting. You will be asked questions about problem gambling as well as other information, such as your personal, mental health and social history. Following this assessment, you and your counsellor can negotiate goals, strategies and the future direction of your treatment programme.

How many sessions do I have to attend?

Most gambling interventions take between 6 to 8 sessions to complete but this is determined by people's individual needs. Sessions usually take around 1 hour. Counselling is tailored to your needs, so sessions may be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. Weekly sessions are recommended initially, but sessions can become less regular as therapy progresses.

What should I do if I cant get to an appointment?

Please contact your counsellor as soon as possible to let them know you can't make it so that another person can be helped.

What are the limits of confidentiality?

Counselling sessions are strictly confidential. Your counsellor will take some basic counselling notes to ensure the proper delivery of service. This information will be securely stored and destroyed after seven years. Your counsellor may also discuss your case in supervision. If so your identity will always be protected and your confidentiality maintained.

In most cases, your written and signed authorisation is required before information concerning your care can be disclosed to individuals outside of Gambling Help Services. That means your counsellor will not discuss your case with any other service, or any family member, friend or employer without your written consent.

There are however limits to confidentiality, when the law dictates that your signed authorisation is not required in order for your counsellor to release information. These include:

  1. if your counsellor isconcerned for your safety or the safety of someone close to you
  2. if there are serious concerns about the safety of children
  3. in the event that your records are requested by a valid subpoena or court order, we must respond.

Nathan Hindmarsh speaks about gambling and getting help:

If you're struggling with your gambling and need the help of those around you, don't be afraid or embarrassed to stick your hand up and say "I'm not okay".