A Critical Review of the Scholarly Discourse on Gambling Disorder Treatment

Part 1


  • Jeffrey Christensen Lewis and Clark College
  • Teresa McDowell Lewis and Clark College
  • Iva Kosutic Partners in Social Research




gambling disorder treatment, problem gambling treatment, disordered gambling treatment


This article presents a comprehensive review of the scholarly discourse on psychological and relational approaches to gambling disorder treatment. The article focuses on the “what” of knowledge production and treatment delivery by systematizing information on the types of scholarly articles that have been published in the English language; the treatment approaches that have been researched and discussed in the Anglophone literature; and the context of knowledge production over the past 50 years. The review includes 445 articles that present the findings of case studies and evaluations of disordered gambling interventions (k = 231), descriptive research (k = 49), meta-analyses (k = 10), and literature reviews and descriptions of novel approaches (k = 155). The findings show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), together with its constituent approaches, was the most discussed and researched approach to gambling disorder treatment in the period between late 1960s and the first half of 2019, covered by about 60% of the articles. Motivational Interviewing approaches were discussed in over one-fifth of the articles, whereas psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approaches accounted for under 10% of the articles. Roughly three-quarters of articles included in the review were published in North American and international journals. Our discussion situates these trends in critical discourses of the medicalization of mental health, dominance of Western mental health frameworks, and the politics of knowledge production.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey Christensen, Lewis and Clark College

Jeffrey Christensen is an associate professor in the Counseling, Therapy, and School Psychology department at Lewis and Clark College. His scholarship centers on counseling student evaluations and counselor training. Prior to joining academia, he was a clinical co-director of a substance abuse community clinic and provided intensive out-patient therapy for youth in the foster care system.

Teresa McDowell, Lewis and Clark College

Dr. McDowell is professor emerita, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. She served as faculty in the Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy program and as former chair of the Department of Counseling, Therapy and School Psychology. Most of Teresa’s scholarship has focused on equity-based, socioculturally attuned family therapy. Teresa has worked extensively with the Oregon Department of Health Problem Gambling Services and is co-founder of Lewis & Clark’s Problem Gambling Services. Dr. McDowell currently works with Partners in Social Research doing program evaluation, research, and workforce development. 

Iva Kosutic, Partners in Social Research

Iva Kosutic obtained her doctorate in 2010 from the University of Connecticut and is currently an evaluation researcher at Partners in Social Research. Iva has conducted a number of program evaluations, including, most recently, evaluation of the Connecticut Department or Public Health Office of Oral Health programs and a Genomics Office program. Additionally, she has served over the past 10 years as an evaluator for sexuality education programs funded through HRSA's Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grant to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Iva currently serves as an evaluator for the Connecticut Maternal Mortality Review Program. She taught undergraduate courses at the University of Connecticut, Human Development and Family Sciences Department for 10 years, and graduate courses at Lewis & Clark College, Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy Program for 6 years. Her peer-reviewed publications pertain to youth development, evaluation of sex ed and youth development programs, gambling treatment and prevention, and marriage and family therapy.




How to Cite

Christensen, J., McDowell, T., & Kosutic, I. (2022). A Critical Review of the Scholarly Discourse on Gambling Disorder Treatment: Part 1. Critical Gambling Studies, 3(1), 35–46. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs96



Original Research Articles