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Compulsive Gambling

Psychodynamic theorists explain gambling with respect to its neurotic elements. The compulsive gambler, desperate for parental love, gambles in order to establish some form of relationship. Describing gambling as an expression of sexual, aggressive impulses toward one or both parents, some theorists including Freud (1928) emphasize the masturbatory character of play at the tables or the track. Trapped by an outmoded sense of omnipotence and selfdestructive motives, the gambler unconsciously seeks out the pains of losing, according to Bergler (1957). With its implicit thrills and humiliations, gambling is a way of adapting to powerful, but unacceptable urges (Fuller, 1974; Bergler, 1957).

According to the psychodynamic model, gambling always expresses misdirected sexual and aggressive impulses. Rather than mainly reflecting social factors or behavioral conditioning, gambling is a manifestation of internal conflicts, Freudians believe. Bergler (1957), for example, insists that all compulsive gamblers are driven by a virtually uncontrollable masochism of which they are essentially unaware. Freud himself, along with many of his disciples have connected gambling with masturbation, and have perceived gambling as arising from repressed homosexual, analsadistic impulses. Such differences in analysis are, of course, important. The divergence in etiological description determines, in large measure, whether gambling is classed as an addiction, like alcoholism, or as an obsessional neurosis.

Freud (1928) presented his own view of the pathogenesis of gambling in his attempt to explain the manyfaceted psychopathology of the great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Gambling, as Freud described it, consists largelyif not whollyof acts that substitute for masturbation. Just as the child may be said to "play" with himself or herself during the act of masturbation, gamblers "play" the horses or "play" cards. The tempt...

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Compulsive Gambling. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 21:31, January 20, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1683799.html