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Dr. Matthew McCourt

Dr. Matthew McCourt

Dr Matthew McCourt is a Clinical Psychologist from Ireland, trained in the UK. He has worked in various mental health settings including community, inpatient, and outpatient since 2013 and has worked with children and adults with varying presenting difficulties.

Prior to joining Sage Clinics, Matthew worked in a specialist service in the NHS providing treatment to adults who experienced problematic gambling and who presented other mental health concerns. He was also part of a team specialized in neuropsychological assessments for children within a specialist children’s hospital where he assessed cognitive ability as part of a paediatric neuro-oncology service.

He specializes in working with adolescents and adults with varying mental health presentations including low mood, anxiety, relational difficulties, and problematic gambling. He has special interests in men’s mental health and wellbeing, and neuropsychological assessment.

Throughout his Clinical Doctorate, he gained experience working across the lifespan and with a variety of different therapeutic approaches. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), and Psychodynamic therapy. He has also received training in Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioural Training (DBT).

Behavioural addiction in the digital age: Working clinically with the harms related to casino-style gaming.

Behavioural addictions have become more widely recognised in recent years, particularly with the publication of the International Classification of Diseases 11th revision (ICD-11). This revision, and the inclusion of “disorders due to addictive behaviours”, highlighted the potential harms of excessive and problematic engagement in behaviours previously thought of to be strictly leisurely in nature: gaming, and gambling.

This has become an issue to such an extent that countries such as Belgium have taken court action to attempt to ban gambling mechanics from video games sold in the country. Furthermore, England now has eight clinics specifically dedicated to treating gambling addiction, with another seven planned to open by 2024. NHS England report that they are responding to “record demand” for gambling treatment clinics. A large contributing factor in the increase of problematic gambling (and therefore the need for treatment centres) comes from the ease of access and availability of gambling opportunities, brought on by the development of online bookmakers and casinos.

Those at risk of (or experiencing) problematic gambling have almost immediate access to gambling through their mobile devices or computer. While the rapid expansion and development of technology in this digital age has meant that we can now be more connected to loved ones, or we can have access to information previously unavailable to us, it has also meant that those suffering with a gambling addiction are never more than a few seconds away from potentially devastating harm.

This presentation will aim to highlight the growing problem that is gambling addiction and it will give an overview of some recent statistics of gambling related harm. Following this, it will highlight some specifics for clinicians to consider during assessment of someone with problematic gambling. It will go on to highlight screening tools and will provide a model used for conceptualising problematic gambling. Finally, it will conclude by touching on some options for treatment.

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