Why You Need Financial TherapyAug 02, 2022
Is there a money unicorn out there that helps you reduce money stress and anxiety, and helps you to create a positive relationship with your money? Yes, it is called financial therapy and it is becoming more recognized and sought after by individuals, couples, and entrepreneurs looking to take charge of their financial situations.
According to the Financial Therapy Association, Financial Therapy uses evidenced-based practices and interventions to change how people think, feel, behave, and communicate about money.
It is a process informed by both therapeutic and financial competencies that can be facilitated by professionals of differing disciplines including psychotherapists, financial planners, behaviorists, social workers, coaches, and advisors who are dedicated to the integration of cognitive, emotional behavioral, relational, and financial aspects of well-being.
Why Financial Therapy
Financial Therapy has been practiced for many years in different forms and by different professionals. However, more recently, it is becoming recognized as a viable approach to navigating money stress, recessions, lifestyle creep, and overall financial health and well-being.
On the continuum of life, there are many things working against us having a healthy relationship with our finances.
Taking a look back
In general, we don’t have an awareness of how we arrived in our relationship to money. Financial therapy helps you to explore your familial, societal, cultural, racial, and historical influences. These influences show up in how we do (and don’t) speak about money in our families, our friend networks, our jobs, our salary negotiations, with our employees, and/or most importantly with our partners or spouses.
Let’s be honest, things are different from when we were growing up and what may have worked financially for our parents or grandparents may not work for us today. We might have limiting beliefs or thoughts including avoiding money, or not feeling that may be holding us back from having a good relationship with our money. Financial therapy can help.
Life is complicated. There are always competing demands for our money. How do we know and feel secure in how to make money, how to spend it and how to save it so we can be financially well? Financial therapy can assist.
Who benefits from financial therapy
If you relate to any of the following, financial therapy may be beneficial for you.
You don’t know where your money goes
You can’t break the cycle of debt
You spend more money than you make or you spend impulsively
You want to make a plan to avoid lifestyle creep
You want to role model healthy money relationships to your children
You want to create a legacy for your children and grandchildren
You are experiencing a life transition such as marriage, divorce, illness, and/or a wealth transfer
You want to use money as a tool to create options in your life including financial independence or freedom
You are getting married and want to create a healthy relationship with money
You are getting married and would like to consider a prenuptial agreement
You don’t feel comfortable speaking to your partner about money
You are in a relationship and one of you is a saver and one is a spender
There is a power imbalance of either making or managing the finances
You are worried about your marriage ending due to financial stress
You have neighbor envy aka “keeping up with the Joneses”
Financial Therapy Providers
As stated before, financial therapy can be facilitated by a range of professionals. The most important factor is finding a financial therapist who is passionate, well-trained in their discipline, can support your needs and concerns, and for whom you have good rapport.
When looking for a financial therapist, it is important to understand their background and approach in order to find someone to best meet your needs.
For example, if you are a person with a diagnosed mental health disorder, you might benefit from someone who is also a licensed mental health professional.
If you have significant adverse childhood experiences (ACES) you might also benefit from a mental health professional trained in trauma or has a trauma sensitive approach.
If you have a chronic illness, you might benefit from someone that has a background in health or mental health.
If you are looking for a comprehensive life financial plan, you are more likely to benefit from a financial planner.
Needless to say that we may have something unique to our identity, background or experiences that needs to be acknowledged or supported during the financial therapy process. Therefore, it is important to to understand your financial therapists background and how they can best meet your needs. Ask good questions or follow them on social media to get to know them better or utilize their free consultation, if offered. Know what is important to you such as approach, availability, process, or offerings.
How to find a financial therapist
I would be remiss to not mention myself! I have been offering financial therapy as a psychotherapist and a health and wellbeing social worker for the last four years. I offer a breathe of fresh air and a safe space to my clients who desperately want to build their balance both financially and emotionally and who are focused on creating a healthy relationship with money. My background and skills range from mental health and health social work to business and personal finance. My focus areas include working with premarital or early commitment couples, entrepreneurs, those experiencing life transitions, and general Financial WellBeing. And, I serve clients in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. I am linked with the Financial Therapy Association and am currently pursuing their Certified Financial Therapist-1.
A lot of clients utilize google search to look for therapists. Some key search words include financial therapy and financial therapist.
The Financial Therapy Association has a directory on their sight. It can be overwhelming to use but you can match with therapists based on demographic preferences.
Ask your financial planner, tax person, or other trusted financial person if they offer financial therapy as a complementary service or if there is someone that they use or refer to.
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Questions: email [email protected]
Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA is a health and wellBEing social worker who provides premarital financial counseling, financial therapy, and financial wellbeing services. She works with individuals, couples, and entrepreneurs to build their balance and create a healthy relationship with money.
Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.
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