With the advent of casinos in most major centers, and the relatively recent phenomenon of online gambling, a quietly insidious poison is edging its way into the psyches of an increasing number of families: problem gambling. Family courts are seeing more and more cases where a spouse’s gambling addiction has led to the financial and emotional ruin of the family unit. Why do some people develop addictive personalities? How do gambling addictions develop, and what can be done to prevent and treat them?
Dr. Richard Wood – Psychologist
Dr Richard Wood is a psychologist who, for the last 18 years, has been studying the causes of problem gambling and how it can be prevented. Dr Wood also developed, and now manages, GamTalk a free online support service for people with gambling related issues, to get information and discuss their problems anonymously with others who are going through the same experiences.
Chris Parlow – Pathological Gambler In Remission
Chris Parlow is a pathological gambling addict whose illness is in remission. Chris now speaks on the illness of gambling addiction and the possibilities for treatment and recovery. The former president of the United Steelworkers Union in Manitoba, Chris struggled with his compulsive gambling and depression for over twenty years in secret. As his compulsion intensified, he began to have trouble paying his bills, eventually declaring bankruptcy, losing all of his possessions and severing all his relationship ties. This culminated when he bet and lost the last eighteen dollars he had and attempted to commit suicide. After this failed suicide attempt, Chris began his recovery at the Parkwood Treatment Centre run by the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.
Chris has been published in and interviewed by newspapers such as the New Westminster Leader, the Winnipeg Free Press and the Thompson Citizen about his struggle with gambling addiction, and continues to speak to media on the need to reduce the stigma, consequences and risks associated with the illness.
Victoria Starr – Family Law Lawyer
Victoria, founder of Starr Family Law, is an experienced and skilled negotiator, litigator, trial and appeal lawyer who has practiced exclusively in the area of family and child protection law since being called to the Bar of Ontario in 1996. In addition, she represents children in custody and access as well as child protection matters as a member of the Children’s Lawyer Panel. Victoria also offers her services as an accredited mediator, certified arbitrator and certified collaborative family law lawyer to those looking to resolve their disputes through an alternative to court process.