Stages of change - Pre-contemplation

"I don't have a problem"

Pre-contemplation is the stage where a person hasn't connected their gambling to the problems it may be causing in their lives. 

For example, track gamblers typically associate gambling with big wins and periods of abstinence and the consequences of gambling - financial hardship, marital discontent and alienation from their children and family as just 'normal life'.

What can you do?

  • Build a rapport with your client
  • Explore the issues presented but do not label them 'a gambling problem'
  • Emphasise the client's ability to make decisions, their responsibility for those decisions and their consequences
  • Make it easy for the client to raise the issue again
    • "keep the door open"
    • "keep it low key"
  • Explore the surrounding issues
  • Be willing to follow up
  • Use motivational interviewing techniques

What can Gambler's Help do?

By definition a pre-contemplative client will not accept a referral to a Gamblers Help organisation – why would they?

If you have rapport and an ongoing relationship with this client, it is better for you to continue working with the client but don't ever collaborate with their gambling, always be prepared to bring it up and factor it into any other interventions you are doing. 

For example when setting a budget or managing time you may want to, incorporate their gambling in a matter of fact way.

Gambler's Help services can provide support for family members of pre-contemplative clients and provide YOU with advice and information, through:

Contact Gambler's Help

Stages of gambling


"I don't have a problem"


"I know I have a problem and need to change. I will do something about it, one day"


"Yes I have a problem and I need to do something to change - now"


"I am doing something to change my behaviour now"


"I've changed"


"I have started gambling again"

The Professional Development Centre has a range of training and development opportunities.

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