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Supports, Resources and Education for Gambling in BC’s Indigenous Communities

A reminder that this article from our magazine Visions was published more than 1 year ago. It is here for reference only. Some information in it may no longer be current. It also represents the point of the view of the author only. See the author box at the bottom of the article for more about the contributor.

Angela Voght

From "Problem Gambling and Video Gaming" issue of Visions Journal, 2018, 14 (2), p. 26

The BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program offers a wide range of services, including in-person and telephone counselling for individuals, couples and family members dealing with gambling problems. We also offer various support groups, educational workshops, day treatment and resources on gambling and gaming.

The Indigenous stream at the BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program is currently hosting discussion circles in Indigenous communities and organizations to learn more about what additional programs and services it could offer and how to respectfully do this. We regularly request feedback about how we can improve our services to address the unique needs of the distinct and diverse Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations across BC.

From our discussions, we have heard how important it is to ensure that we collaborate with Indigenous communities about the content and delivery of our programs and services. We have also heard how important it is that intergenerational and community-focused programming be based on a wellness approach that is rooted in local community knowledge and understandings about ways of living in balance. We are interested in starting here, to co-create community initiatives that are relevant, holistic and appropriate for the participation of all age groups.

Early on in our discussions, we received requests for training related to working with addiction, trauma and grief and loss. In response, we have designed five new narrative therapy and community work training sessions, exploring topics such as working with addiction, trauma and loss, community work and ways to document traditional knowledge in Indigenous communities. Narrative therapy focuses on developing listening, questioning and story-telling skills. From a narrative perspective, we assume people are experts in their lives, and that some of the most relevant knowledge to respond to problems that people face is the knowledge they already have. This perspective supports significant partnerships with communities.

From a narrative perspective, we understand the problems faced by individuals and communities as separate from the people themselves. We are interested in helping those who consult with us to develop a sense of agency, exploring effective ways for individuals and communities to reconnect with their own knowledge, skills and understanding.

We look at addiction, trauma, grief and loss within their wider context, considering how inequality and marginalization have set the stage for contemporary challenges. We also explore how Indigenous traditional and local ways of knowing and being offer unique tools to face these challenges. Narrative therapy is particularly well suited to an Indigenous context, where learning and teaching through stories has a long cultural history.

Our training sessions have been met with enthusiasm from counsellors, health workers and other community workers in various support roles. We are building on this positive response as we continue to enhance our Indigenous-focused supports for gambling and gaming, and our broader resource library.

To learn more about our Indigenous services, training sessions and resources, please contact me, Anglea Voght, Provincial Coordinator, at 1-604-657-8604 or [email protected]

About the author

Angela Voght is the Provincial Indigenous Coordinator with the Responsible & Problem Gambling Program

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