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Recovery For All

About us

Ara Gambling Service is the National Gambling Treatment Service provider throughout Wales, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Cornwall. We provide therapeutic services for people who are experiencing gambling related harms as well as affected others. Services include information and advice, individual counselling and relapse prevention.

Ara are specialists in the field of problem gambling and all of our counsellors are trained in supporting you and those that are affected.

Counselling can take place face to face in our offices located throughout Wales and South West England, or if you prefer we also offer telephone counselling. Some of our counsellors are fluent in both English and Welsh.

All of our services are free and confidential.

Training, qualifications & experience

Ara is a registered charity formed in 1987 and has been providing a gambling support service since 2008. We are an official GamCare Partner and form part of the National Gambling Treatment Service.

All Ara's counselling staff are fully qualified.

Member organisations *


British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)

BACP is one of the UK’s leading professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy with around 60,000 members. The Association has several different categories of membership, including Student Member, Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP, Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Accred) and Senior Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Snr Acccred).

Registered and accredited members are listed on the BACP Register, which shows that they have demonstrated BACP’s recommended standards for training, proficiency and ethical practice. The BACP Register was the first register of psychological therapists to be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Accredited and senior accredited membership are voluntary categories for members who choose to undertake a rigorous application and assessment process to demonstrate additional standards around practice, training and supervision.

Individual members will have completed an appropriate counselling or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but they won’t appear on the BACP Register until they've demonstrated that they meet the standards for registration. Student members are still in the process of completing their training.

All members are bound by the BACP Ethical Framework and a Professional Conduct Procedure.

We have verified that at least one professional at this organisation is registered with the relevant professional body.

Areas of counselling we deal with

Therapies offered

Photos & videos


Free initial in-person or telephone session

Additional information

All services are FREE

When we work

9am-5pm. Counselling sessions are flexible and may include evenings.

Further information

What is problem gambling?

Making the odd bet or playing the lottery can be fun, but when gambling gets to risky levels it can become a problem.

Why do some people gamble?

  • To forget about responsibilities
  • When they feel depressed or sad
  • Are bored, especially if not working
  • When they drink or use drugs
  • When they get angry with others or themselves
  • If they start gambling very young
  • Simply don't feel able to control their gambling
  • Have one or both parents who have problems gambling

Friends and family

Being a partner of someone with a gambling problem - or being their parent or child - is hard and can be distressing. Loved ones often try to hide the size of the problem. Sometimes they feel their only options are to borrow, lie or steal to pay off debts.

Friends and family need support. Help is available for them too.

Do you need help?

Have you or someone you know…

… bet more than they can really afford to lose?

… been criticised for betting or told that they have a gambling problem, regardless of whether or not they think it is true?

… felt guilty about the way they gamble or what happens when they gamble?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions help is available.

Top 10 tips to take control

  • Pay the priorities first, such as mortgage, rent, council tax, food.
  • Leave credit and cash cards at home when you go out to gamble.
  • Set how many times a week you will gamble. Be specific and name the days.
  • Take a time-out. Gambling companies must offer short breaks from 24 hours to 6
  • weeks, or longer options for a minimum of 6 months.
  • If you use gaming machines or a betting account including online casinos, ask for a time and spending limit.
  • Think of gambling as entertainment rather than a way of making money. Always be prepared to lose - if you win, know that it is chance.
  • Never spend your savings or investments on gambling.
  • Ask friends and family not to lend you money if you ask them.
  • Spend more time with people who don't gamble.
  • Talk to others about your worries or concerns rather than 'bottling' them up.

83% of people we help make significant changes

Credit: Gambling Commission, Gamble Aware, NHS England, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Ara, King's Court, King Street, Bristol, BS1 4EF

Pool Innovation Centre, Trevenson Rd, Pool, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 3PL

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme

Key details

DBS check

In England and Wales, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly known as CRB) carry out criminal records checks for individuals working with vulnerable groups, such as children. To find out more, visit , or contact this professional directly

Wheelchair user access

Wheelchair user access

Wheelchair-accessible premises should have step-free access for wheelchair users and individuals who are unable to climb stairs. If a Counsellor's premises aren't step-free, they may offer alternative services such as telephone/web-based appointments, home visits, or meeting clients in different location, so you can choose the option that suits you best.

You can contact the Counsellor to discuss the options available.

Under the Equality Act 2010 service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access their service. You can read more about reasonable adjustments to help you to access services on the CAB website.

During the COVID 19 Pandemic we are currently only offering telephone based counselling

Additional languages