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Dr. Michael Wohl | 2015 Speakers


   Professor, Carleton University

   Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Michael Wohl is a professor of psychology at Carleton University. The majority of his work has focused on factors that predict problematic gambling behaviour, while his current focus includes factors that facilitate responsible gambling and barriers to treatment seeking among disordered gamblers. This research is conducted, in part, in the Carleton University Gambling Laboratory. Dr. Wohl also examines the causes and consequences of interpersonal and intergroup harm-doing and efforts at reconciliation. Ultimately, all of Wohl’s work is oriented to the promotion of well-being.

Dr. Wohl has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is the receipt of Carleton’s Research Achievement Award. To facilitate his gambling research, Wohl has received funding from CFI, OPGRC, NCRG, MOHLTC, and MGRP.

Advances in Motivating Change Among Disordered Gamblers: Why and How Memories of the Past-Self Can Facilitate Motivation to Engage in Behavioural Change

Readiness to change among disordered gamblers is astonishingly low, despite the array of negative consequences associated with their behaviours. Indeed, among disordered gamblers, only seven per cent take the necessary steps to remove those behaviours from their repertoire and less than one per cent seek professional treatment.

In this session, a novel approach to increasing readiness to change is discussed. Specifically, we advance the idea that readiness to change will increase to the extent that disordered gamblers feel disconnected from their past non-addicted self. This is a relationship driven by a longing for the past self which may manifest as feelings of nostalgia. Data from a series of studies are presented in support of the aforementioned suppositions. Discussion will focus on the utility of highlighting the difference between people’s past, non-addicted and present, addicted selves as an important catalyst in moving gamblers from addiction to action. Additionally, we will focus on how the knowledge gained can be used by researchers, treatment providers and industry professionals to help disordered gamblers modify their problematic behaviours.

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