Financial Therapy is a relatively new field. I am happy to say that I have been fortunate enough to study with one of the Founders in the field, Dr. Ted Klontz. The first textbook for this field was just published in October. The definition is best stated in __Financial Therapy edited by Klontz, Britt and Archuleta; ” Financial Therapy is an emerging field interested in the evaluation and treatment of cognitive,emotional, behavioral, relational and economic aspects of financial health.”
Problems associated with money have been around as long as money has. It would seem that money would be a straightforward and easy thing to manage. Money is used as an exchange for goods and services. How hard could that be? What could go wrong? Money is so embedded in our emotional experience, our social experiences, our upbringing and our sense of who we are that people can and do easily develop numerous unhealthy and dysfunctional behaviors related to money that are expressed in a variety of ways. Financial therapy is not financial planning, money management, wealth management or coaching.
Financial Therapy can help people to understand how they make their financial decisions, why they make the same mistakes over and over, how to move through major life transitions like divorce, death of a spouse, getting an inheritance, winning the lottery or a reversal of fortunes. Once a person understands themselves and their behavior related to money, then they can pick better financial advisers, make better choices for themselves and their families. Financial Therapy helps people to manage their behavior related to money. Fear can be lessened or eliminated and individuals become empowered as they gain understanding and control of their behavior.
The tools used in Financial Therapy are many of the same ones used in Psychotherapy. Experiential therapy tools are helpful for many people who have tremendous fear and avoidance issues with money and simply can not talk about it. Shame is often a part of destructive financial behaviors such as overspending or gambling and cognitive behavioral approaches can be very helpful in these instances. You do not have to suffer, there is help available for that area of your life that no one talks about – MONEY!