Harbour Pointe Residential Treatment for the Compulsive Gambler (Information gathered from Harbour Pointe website and David Ginsburg’s “Addicts Place their Lives First,” Boston Globe 16Nov08:C2)
(Download Model of Program overview as a PDF)
“Mission: To provide a place of help and hope for problem gamblers and their families. We were conceived with the sole purpose of providing various levels of treatment and care to improve… lives… adversely affected by gambling addiction and to help them make their lives manageable again.
“Philosophy: providing every client with the highest level of educational and professional resources available so every client has an opportunity to return to a healthy and productive way of life again.”
A previous article has described the background of this program in terms of the stories of compulsive gamblers Michael Osborne, director of this treatment center, and LeRoy Yegge, business developer. David Ginsburg describes the dedication of these leaders:
Having battled their own demons, Osborne and Yegge know of gambling’s addictive power. Summoned by desperate families, they have traveled as far as California for “an intervention.”
“We go out with two plane tickets and book three to come back. There’s an immediate connection. I say, ‘I’m not a doctor and I won’t pretend to be one. But I can tell you where you’ve been, where you’re at now, and where you still have to go.’ That gets their attention.” About 93% of those visited return to Harbour Pointe.
Harbour Pointe is expensive. A five-week session in this eight-bed facility costs $20,000. And it has had its critics.
A man who cured his gambling addiction at Gamblers Anonymous scoffed at the price. “It’s a moneymaking deal,” said Chris, who would not give his last name. “If people really want help, they can come to GA for nothing.”
There are answers to such criticism. A main point is that Harbour Pointe offers individual treatment—as well as 12-step philosophy.
Each patient receives one-on-one attention in meetings with the medical staff and former gamblers such as Osborne and Yegge.
“What we find is that gamblers are manipulators and liars, so if you put them in groups all day what you do is give them a path to not look at their own issues.”
Psychologist Thomas T. Truss, clinical director at Harbour Pointe said, “I value the role that Gamblers Anonymous plays as a self-help group, but there’s a world of difference in what we offer: an in-depth exploration of the subject’s life history.”
Another staff member said, “The key is the individual one-on-one treatment. My role is to look at the whole person. When someone comes here, our goal is not only to get him to quit gambling, but to have him emerge as the optimal person he can be.”
Says LeRoy Yegge, “Coming here is not a cure. It helps you realize what’s going on with yourself.”
According to director Michael Osborne, 73% of those who leave Harbour Pointe remain abstinent.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Do you understand the difference between GA (Gamblers Anonymous) and Harbour Pointe residential treatment center? How would you describe that difference?
- What more would you like to know about Harbour Pointe?
- What impresses you positively about this program?
- Do you have any negative reservations about this program?
- What kind of gamblers would you tend to recommend to this program, and for whom might you consider other options?
- We recommend your checking out the websites of Harbour Pointe and Gamblers Anonymous.
- Note especially the FAQ's at lostbet and GA’s 20 Questions.
- To save a young person from gambling might be to save a marriage, future children, and possibly a life.
Dean Borgman c. CYS