Patouna Spyridoula [1] & Poulopoulos Charalampos [2]

[1] Teacher ΒSc, MSc Counseling Psychology and Counseling in Education, Health and Work

[2] Professor of Social Work, Department of Social Administration and Political Science, Democritus University of Thrace, e-mail:


The purpose of this study is to understand perceptions and experiences of persons dependent to gambling as well as those of their partners. The aim of the study is to highlight the meaning that gamblers and their partners find in gambling and to understand the motives that lead them to seek treatment, aiming first to change this behavior and improve their lifestyles. The benefits of treatment to the individual and the couple are also studied.

In order to carry out this research, a qualitative methodology was employed. The research tool is the biography. In total, 60 biographies were gathered by 30 gamblers and their 30 spouses / partners, whose profile corresponded with the above research aims. The biographies were collected with the collaboration of KETHEA ALFA, a Gambling Relief Program, that offered access to its archives and the relevant data concerning its clients. Content analysis was employed for studying biographies. Relevant categories emerged for each one of the research areas, highlighting a significant number of issues that emerged in each domain.

The study suggests that gambling is a situation that carries multiple meanings and serves various purposes for both, men and women. However, it is obvious that there comes a moment in the lives of gamblers and their spouses that gambling losses its meaning. This moment is significant as it acts as a motivating force, that drives both, men and women, into the search for a new meaning of life. Treatment is the way through which a new meaning can be constructed, to empower both the individual and the couple to transform their behavior. It is also a moment that illuminates the optimistic and promising side of life and relationship that each person seems to need.

Key words: gambling, meaning, couple, therapy

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