What is Financial Therapy?
Financial therapy also known as Wealth Psychology deals with financial problems related to subconscious behavior. Financial therapy is a process of evaluating and reprogramming one’s money-related habits so that an individual can move from self-defeating behaviors and attitudes to ones which help him/her thrive. My method of bringing one’s relationship with money from the subconscious to consciousness works to reduce anxiety and depression around money, while creating new thought and behavior patterns. I work with individuals all over the country addressing common issues that sometimes come with money.
Common Counseling Issues:
- Overspending: State of spending more than one can afford and feeling out of control. Debtors Anonymous has a useful tool to see if you fall into this category.
- Underspending: A mental state in which one feels as if he/she doesn’t deserve anything more than having basic needs met.
- Serial Borrowing: Rolling over debt. Often the individual pays small amounts toward an old loan as a new loan is taken out.
- Financial Infidelity: A process of “cheating” on a partner by spending and lying about it or not mentioning significant purchases.
- Workaholic: An addiction to work, not necessarily because one enjoys it but because one feels compelled to continue. This usually leads to neglect of family and friends.
- Financial Incest: Father/son psychologists Ted Klontz and Brad Klontz coined the term “financial incest” to describe situations in which children are used by adults to bear unreasonable, age-inappropriate responsibility for financial situations. An example is a mother relying heavily on her 12-year-old son to help make family financial decisions.
- Financial Enabling: A process by which a person recognizes that a negative financial circumstance is occurring on a regular basis and yet inadvertently assists that individual in such a way that detrimental behavior continues. For example, a father continues to provide large sums of money to his financially strapped adult daughter who is then not motivated to support herself.
- Hoarding: A symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Frost and Hartl (1996) provide the following defining features: the acquisition of and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding; reluctance or inability to return borrowed items; as boundaries blur, impulsive acquisitiveness could sometimes lead to kleptomania or stealing.
Wealth and Psychology
Wealth psychology is a specialty within the psychology field. Many people struggle openly discussing money and their overall net worth. Wealth helps us have options but does not guarantee happiness or emotional well-being. Definition of wealth is also relative. We sometimes get into a loop of comparing ourselves to others. There is also a risk of never being satisfied and striving for more and more.
Wealth psychology leads to the exploration of the psychological impact of wealth on the person as a whole and the family system. It brings forth self-awareness and self-acceptance of your true capabilities, including strengths and weaknesses.
The following population can benefit by working with a financial or wealth therapist:
- Understanding intentions behind decision
- Learn how to motivate others
- Increase efficiency, mindfulness, and effectiveness.
- Improve communication skills among couples and families
- Provide financial literacy to your children
- Resolve money related conflict
- Discuss financial planning
- Work life balance
- Create an identity outside of your net-worth
- Improve overall wellbeing
- Understand the impact of the inheritance and others view of you
- Self-actualization and paying it forward
- Explore the challenges and opportunities of your inheritance
Life Changes and Transitions:
- Overcome and smoothly navigate difficult life transitions like divorce, selling a business, or an unexpected windfall.
- Reduce the emotional impact of stressors that may affect your decision-making capabilities and financial well-being
New High-Income Earners:
- Identity and reduce unproductive significant income raises may bring, e.g., guilt, isolation, and loneliness.
- Explore your relationship with money and how it influences your life
- Navigate changes that may occur within your family, friendships, or social circles.
- Understand and move through your new status and address imposter syndrome
Answer a few simple questions to see what your relationship with money looks like. Click on Let’s get started to see if you can identify with one or several of these issues. I am available for online therapy all over the country. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818.851.1293.
If you haven’t already, check out my latest feature on The Wall Street Journal’s podcast, Your Money Briefing where I provide some insight on how couples can successfully navigate significant financial changes in their marriage and avoid divorce. Listen here.