Change Strategies and Associated Implementation Challenges: An Analysis of Online Counselling Sessions

Simone N. Rodda, Nerilee Hing, David C. Hodgins, Alison Cheetham, Marissa Dickins, Dan I. Lubman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Self-change is the most frequent way people limit or reduce gambling involvement and often the first choice of people experiencing gambling-related problems. Less well known is the range of change strategies gamblers use and how these are selected, initiated or maintained. This study examined change strategies discussed in counselling transcripts from 149 clients who accessed a national online gambling help service in Australia. Using thematic analysis, we identified the presence of six change strategies; cash control and financial management, social support, avoiding or limiting gambling, alternative activities, changing thoughts and beliefs, and self-assessment and monitoring. Four implementation issues were also identified; a mismatch between need and strategy selection or maintenance; importance and readiness versus the cost of implementation; poor or unplanned transitions between strategies; and failure to review the helpfulness of strategies resulting in premature abandonment or unhelpful prolonged application. This study is the first to identify change strategies discussed in online counselling sessions. This study suggests change strategies are frequently discussed in online counselling sessions and we identified multiple new actions associated with change strategies that had not previously been identified. However, multiple implementation issues were identified and further work is required to determine the helpfulness of change strategies in terms of their selection, initiation and maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-973
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Change strategies
  • Counselling
  • Gambling
  • Internet
  • Minimal treatment
  • Self-help
  • Treatment

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