One of the more effective treatments to stop gambling is the NLP stop technique. NLP is neuro linguistic programming. Simply stated, when anything becomes a habitual behavior, it builds neural pathways in the brain. The brain becomes “wired” to perform that particular behavior. Every time the behavior is repeated, the programming goes deeper and becomes more entrenched.
Sometimes this pattern of wiring the brain is useful. For instance, when any new skill, like playing the piano, is learned, we read music and move our hands through conscious effort, but after repetition, when the brain becomes wired and the neural pathways are formed, we automatically move our hand to the proper keys when they eye detects the notes on the page. Another skill that becomes a habit and is stored in the subconscious is driving a car. At first, the student driver must try to remember everything but after a while it becomes automatic and the driver may drive down the road and think about things other than driving, even talking on the phone, while safely driving.
The key, of course is that these skills and habits re stored in the subconscious mind, also called the unconscious because we seem to do many things, unconsciously, without thinking about them.
Neuro linguistic programming means training the brain using words to form new neural pathways. One NLP technique is the stopping technique. A skilled hypnotherapist guides the client to a relaxed and accessible frame of mind and then has the client picture him or herself starting to do the unwanted behavior, in this case, gambling. Just as the client forms a picture of gambling and the neural pathways for gambling are stimulated, the therapist says “stop!” and the client lets the scene fade from his or her mind. As this is repeated, over and over, the neural pathways are rewired and the urge to gamble begins to fade away.
The neural pathway isn’t gone, it is simply rewired and the problem gambler has developed a new habit, non-gambling. Of course, the gambling problems never really go away completely so it is a good idea to continue with a good 12 step group of some other form of support.
Specially trained therapists can use the NLP stop technique and in several sessions get the problem gambler on his or her way to recovery. Another alternative is MP3 files that can be downloaded from the internet or even listened to online.
The key to successfully using these relaxing guided meditations is repetition and a positive attitude. Because they are so simple to use many people are now using them on a daily basis. You never know, that person sitting on the plane beside you with the headphones attached to the little MP3 player may be treating him or herself for a gambling problems or some other unwanted behavior. It is that simple and widely used.