Talk therapy is a form of treatment that has been around since Sigmund Freud invented the practice in Vienna, Austria in the 1890s. As the discipline has grown over the last 125 years, it has expanded into several sub-disciplines, including psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and of course, financial therapy.
Financial therapy is exactly as its name implies: it involves the provision of counseling and emotional support to people who are financially stressed. According to the Financial Therapy Association, financial therapy is a process that helps people positively modify their behavior towards money, such that it improves their financial and psychological wellbeing. The current process of financial therapy is the result of years of research and best practices. It is aimed at helping people behave, feel and even think differently about money.
Why Do People Need Financial Therapy?
People seek out financial therapy for the same reasons they seek out traditional therapy—because they need help. When radical or unusual changes in people’s behavior leads to uncomfortable financial positions, people seek out financial therapy. These behaviors often involve at least one of the following: unhealthy spending habits, compulsive gambling, and avoiding financial issues that should be confronted.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the kind of behavior that involves overworking and money hoarding. Other behaviors include hiding large sums from partners, as well as other abnormal money choices.
Generally, being in debt isn’t sufficient to warrant financial therapy, as debt is a natural part of financial life, and a person can acquire good debt as well as bad debt. However, debt that springs from unhealthy money habits, including the ones described above does warrant therapy.
The Difference Between Financial Therapy and Other Forms of Therapy
During financial therapy, the treatment is often administered by several professionals working together, including a person’s financial advisor and a qualified financial therapist.
While both financial advisors and financial therapists are required for effective financial therapy, they must each possess skills and capabilities that the other does not possess to deliver proper care to the individual.
Can Talking About Your Emotions Around Money Help?
The first thing to understand is that financial therapy is that it isn’t just about discussing your emotions around money, even though it’s a major part of it.
We discussed earlier how both a financial therapist and a financial advisor are needed for successful financial therapy treatment. During the process of financial therapy, individuals are encouraged to address their financial challenges and face the behavioral patterns that keep them inhibited.
That said, the process of financial therapy requires that the individual address a lot of emotional, psychological, and behavioral issues. And these are often addressed through talking. Many times, money isn’t just about money; there are other emotions associated, and talking can draw those emotions out and help the individual deal with them.
So, to answer the question in a nutshell, Yes. Talking about the emotions around money can help a lot.
If you’re having financial troubles and believe you might need some financial therapy, Psychology Today can help you find a therapist you can afford. It can lead you to qualified financial therapists who use proven interventions to help people through their financial troubles.
Psychology Today and the financial therapy association (linked above) also contain several articles that can get you on your way to emotional and financial healing even before your first appointment.
Don’t wait to get out of debt! Read this: A Complete, Step-By-Step Guide to Get Out of Debt.