Maryhaven’s problem gambling experts provide prevention, intervention, and treatment services to individuals and families throughout Franklin County who are experiencing the effects of pathological gambling (often referred to as gambling addiction). The team also offers prevention outreach to those who want to learn more or may be “at risk” for gambling addiction.

With several years of combined academic training and extensive work in different areas of the mental health community, these experts have a passion for helping people learn how to cope and set themselves free from gambling.

Bruce Jones is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a Nationally-Certified Gambling Counselor Level II who has worked for Maryhaven since 2000. For the last eight years, Bruce has been working with individuals, family members, and communities as the Administrative Coordinator for the Gambling Intervention Program. He saw the need for gambling services in Central Ohio in 2009 and asked Maryhaven to apply for a private grant from the Columbus Foundation to target help to those struggling with gambling addiction. The state then supplied funding after his vision was verified with the amount of clients seeking services that first year.

Bruce also serves on the Treatment Committee for the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board which is addressing changes to licensures and certifications to better help gamblers and their families. He is also a member of the Central Ohio Batterers Intervention Program Coalition.

Licensed Social Worker Maria Garner offers clients a wealth of experience in addiction treatment and suicide prevention. Maria earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Capital University and a master’s in social work from the Ohio State University.

She has an extensive background in mental health and addiction counseling, including serving as a lead clinical counselor overseeing crisis stabilization and emergency response. She understands well how to work with those at high risk of suicide, and has led counseling sessions in groups and one-on-one, in residential and outpatient settings.

Maria relies particularly on motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients overcome personal obstacles to improve self-esteem, rebuild relationships, and achieve meaningful change. She is currently pursuing her certifications in gambling addiction treatment, as a licensed individual social worker (LISW) and in licensed chemical dependency counseling. She is passionate about educating and nurturing the disordered gambler.

George Hicks is a Prevention Services Specialist for the Maryhaven Gambling Intervention Program. He has more than 25 years of program development and resources. George coordinates programs in schools and communities for at risk individuals. He works to identify the prevention needs of target populations. He also presents a variety of presentations and trainings at community settings for the gambling program.

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