Worthing therapist brought to tears after making Queen’s Birthday Honours list

A Worthing mum who has helped countless women achieve successful recovery from gambling addiction has been made an MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Elizabeth Karter, known as Liz, is a therapist in gambling addiction for women and has been practicing for more than 21 years.

The 54-year-old said when she received an email from the Home Office telling her she had made the list, she shed a few tears.

“I was quite emotional – it was a complete surprise, I had absolutely no idea,” said the mum-of-three, who lives in West Worthing.

Liz Karter, of Worthing, has helped countless women achieve successful recovery from gambling addiction

“For me, I’ve been doing what I do for so long, it feels a part of me and my life and completely normal really – so to have that validation I suppose, is really humbling and a true honour.”

Liz has been a key influence in increasing the understanding of the causes and consequences of gambling addiction in women, both in the UK and internationally.

She is the first counsellor in this field internationally and her pioneering treatment methods, respected throughout the sector, have helped hundreds of women recover from addiction and become valuable members of the community, saving lives and families from ruin and breakdown.

Her books, Women and Problem Gambling and Working with Women’s Groups for Problem Gambling, have also had a wide impact on the field and have helped family and friends of affected women to understand this complex issue.

Liz also published a self-help book with Amazon – 4 weeks to freedom – a practicable guide to recovery. It has helped other clinicians around the world treat their clients more effectively.

And her frequent talks, television and radio broadcasts have reached an even wider audience with similar effects.

Liz said her career began when she was doing her advanced diploma in counselling and psychotherapy at Northbrook College. She needed a work placement and someone said they were taking people on at GamCare – the leading UK provider of free information, advice and support for anyone harmed by gambling.

“I went along and first thought, how on earth does anyone get addicted to gambling,” said Liz.

“But then I just really got it and had empathy for people with the addiction and understood there’s always underlying issues that drive the issue which we can all relate to, like stress and anxiety.

“And for them, staring at a slot machine, computer, or phone, is a distraction and stops a pattern of overthinking, until money is lost and panic kicks in, driving more of a need to escape into gambling.”

Liz said she has never had a gambling addiction herself but before studying, she was a single parent of three children and therefore can recognise the levels of stress, depression and the need to escape.

“It subconsciously led me to wanting to work with women and I feel very lucky doing what I do – it is endlessly interesting,” she added.

“And underneath addiction, I have found some of the most sensitive, caring, and most creative women you could ever possibly want to meet.”

Liz runs women’s groups as her pro bono work and offers individual therapy sessions for free or at significantly lower fees to women in financial hardship.

She is a regular contributor to the Gordon Moody Association, a charity designed to counsel gambling addicts on a residential basis and speaks at Community Action for Responsible Gambling meetings.

She has also worked with Gamcare, National Problem Gambling Clinic (NHS Clinic).

For more information about Liz’s work, visit www.levelgroundtherapy.uk. And her books can be found on Amazon.