This spring NPGA is offering its inaugural International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGCCB) clergy/spiritual leader training. We seek to expand outreach throughout Minnesota and among community groups that don’t necessarily see counseling/treatment as their first step towards help. The goal of the program is to increase the knowledge and equip influential community leaders with some basic understanding of problem gambling. The program provides spiritual leaders an opportunity to interact with each other as they seek to increase their community’s awareness of the issue of problem gambling, reduce any stigma related to problem gambling and facilitate discussions about ways in which harm can be minimized.

As part of this initial training, eight leaders from the Twin Cities Nigerian community will learn about gambling disorder, who it impacts, available resources, and how to engage in conversations that help those impacted as well as educating their congregations and community groups.

Each of the eight individuals will take 16 hours of online course work in the following eleven modules:

  1. Definitions and Diagnostic Criteria
  2. Special Populations and Gambling Disorders: Women and Multicultural
  3. Scope and Prevalence of Disordered Gambling
  4. Assessing Gambling Disorder
  5. Co-Occurring Disorders and Gambling Disorders
  6. Screening for Gambling Disorder and Impacts of Gambling
  7. Best Practices and Evidence-Based Strategies for Treatment of Gambling Disorder: Motivational Interviewing
  8. Family Intervention
  9. Financial Issues and the Meaning of Money
  10. Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology
  11. Special Populations and Gambling Disorders: Youth and Older Adults

In early May, the group convened on Zoom with a trained spiritual facilitator to discuss possible scenarios and ways they can engage their community member in a meaningful and resourceful way. Those who completed the full 24 hours will receive a certificate of completion. The IGCCB offers an actual certification that can be obtained by doing additional community project work, but for this inaugural program NPGA opted for the certificate. We will revisit this once we’re well past the restrictions of COVID.