Money is a sensitive and personal topic for most people, and it can evoke strong emotions and often be a source of stress and anxiety. Struggling to pay bills, pay down debts, or earn more at work can be a severe burden for many people. When your finances suffer, your emotional state can suffer too. Financial therapy is a solution to negative emotions resulting from finances.
Financial therapy is a relatively new approach that combines financial planning with therapy to help individuals improve their relationships with money.
Here we explore what financial therapy is, how it works, and the benefits and limitations of this approach.
Understanding Financial Therapy
Financial therapy is a holistic approach that combines financial planning with behavioral therapy. It aims to help individuals address emotional and psychological barriers to economic well-being.
Financial therapy considers the practical aspects of money management and the emotional and behavioral aspects that often underlie economic issues. Financial therapists can help individuals overcome these obstacles and improve their financial habits by addressing them.
Money and Emotions
Money is not just a matter of numbers; it's a matter of feelings too. Our emotions, beliefs, and past experiences often drive our financial decisions and behaviors. For example, a person who grew up in a family that struggled financially may have deep-seated fears and anxieties about money. These emotions can impact their financial decision-making, such as overspending or avoiding financial planning altogether. Similarly, a person who equates their self-worth with their net worth and appearance may feel pressured to overspend and accumulate debt to maintain their image.
Financial therapy can even address more specific problems, such as spending habits. For example, when you often make impulsive purchases or go shopping to ease negative emotions, you might benefit from financial therapy. Financial therapy will help target these underlying emotions to help improve your financial decisions.
Financial therapy addresses these emotional and behavioral aspects of money. It helps individuals explore their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors toward money and help identify any negative patterns or triggers. Through therapy, individuals can develop healthy coping mechanisms to make better financial decisions that align with their values and goals.
Finding a Financial Therapist
Financial therapy is a specialized field that requires a unique set of skills and qualifications. Generally, a financial therapist is a licensed mental health professional with additional training and expertise in financial planning and counseling. In addition, a financial therapist can be a financial adviser who qualifies as a financial therapist. Therefore, choosing someone qualified, experienced, and trustworthy is essential when looking for a financial therapist.
Here are some tips on how to find a financial therapist:
- Look for a licensed mental health professional with specialized training in financial therapy. The Financial Therapy Association (FTA) is a good resource for finding qualified financial therapists.
- Consider the therapist's experience and credentials. Look for someone with experience working with clients with similar financial issues.
- Check the therapist's reputation and reviews. You can request referrals from friends, family, or colleagues or check online reviews.
- Schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and goals. A consultation will help determine if the therapist fits you well.
Benefits and Limitations
Financial therapy can be beneficial for individuals who are struggling with financial issues. Here are some benefits:
- Improved emotional well-being. Financial therapy can help reduce money-related stress and anxiety, thus improving your emotional well-being.
- Address financial trauma. Some people who could benefit from financial therapy have experienced financial trauma. Financial trauma may cause the development of poor financial habits or anxiety. Therefore, addressing the trauma can help resolve any issues.
- Better financial decision-making. Through therapy, you can develop healthier money habits and better financial decisions that align with your values and goals.
- Increased financial literacy. Financial therapy can help you improve your financial literacy and understanding of financial concepts.
- Improved relationships. Money issues often cause conflict and strain in relationships. Financial therapy can help individuals communicate better about money and improve their relationships.
However, financial therapy also has its limitations, including:
- Cost. Financial therapy can be expensive, and insurance may not cover it.
- Time commitment. Financial therapy can be a long-term process that requires a significant time commitment.
- Long-term. Financial therapy is not a quick fix for financial issues. It requires ongoing effort and dedication.
Financial therapy is a promising approach for individuals struggling with financial issues and would benefit from some support from a qualified professional. In addition, financial therapy is a great option for those who experience negative emotions around their finances since these negative emotions further impact our finances. If this applies to you, reach out to a financial therapist as soon as possible and start feeling (and acting) better regarding your finances!