Financial Therapy

Financial therapy helps you understand how your beliefs, feelings, and activities related to money profoundly affect your daily life. By demystifying money and uncovering its unconscious meaning, you can reduce your irrational financial behaviors and achieve wide-ranging improvements, such as more harmonious relationships, less financial stress, better balance between work and home life, and an increased ability to feel truly fulfilled. In Financial Therapy, we can help you develop a more conscious and empowered relationship to money, and implement tactical solutions to address your spending and saving issues. 

Financial Therapy planning process

Financial Therapy for Individuals

  • Feeling anxious, confused, out of control, or depressed when thinking about money
  • Your money-related activities are not in alignment with your finances
  • Stuck in destructive behavior patterns due to shame around money beliefs
  • Financial stress or misalignment affecting your work performance or your relationships
  • Living beyond your means
  • Uncertain about what to spend and what to save
  • Unclear about good financial habits with no one to talk to
  • ADHD is getting in the way of consistent financial performance
  • Struggles with gambling or compulsive spending behaviors

Financial Therapy for Couples

  • Frustrated about living paycheck-to-paycheck, even though there should be enough to save
  • Mismatch between your goals and your reality
  • Experiencing confusion about where your money is going
  • One of you is the saver and the other is the spender, or you are both spenders unable to meet your financial goals
  • Unclear about financial boundaries as your emerging adult child becomes independent
  • ADHD-related behaviors in one or both partners are interfering with responsible financial behaviors

Money Taboo

Money is a significant source of stress for many people, sometimes even more so than work, health, children, or family. Our cultural money taboo prevents us from communicating our financial concerns and seeking help. As couples align their values and priorities with spending and saving, they become a powerful money team moving towards the same goals. Parents who communicate their financial concerns are able to teach the same to their children.

Pay Money to Solve Money Problems

Budgeting does not work for many people because it ignores the meaning that you and your partner attach to money. Money has many meanings beyond dollars and cents, such as power or control, compensation for low self esteem, an expression of love and affection, or status associated with success and privilege.

We learn the meaning of money during childhood and carry it with us into adulthood. A trained counselor helps you identify your beliefs and how they impact your behavior as an adult. Counseling helps you shift to establish financial priorities, with budgeting becoming a reflection of what is important to you and your partner, and not merely an exercise in tracking the dollars and cents that you spent.

Barely Enough Money to Pay the Bills

The current economy has placed many people in a precarious financial state. If you are one of them, you may find yourself experiencing stress, sadness, and hopelessness. Ignoring these feelings will not make them go away and may contribute to your sense of being overwhelmed.

Although it seems like a contradiction, spending money on counseling can help especially when the money is tight. Addressing the emotional issues resulting from your current financial situation will help you identify available options. It will also help you shift from a state of fear to being able to make a good decision.

Money Conflicts

Money is a hard topic to discuss and change is not easy. If you find yourself having the same unproductive discussions with your partner year after year, this is a good opportunity to engage a financial therapist. A neutral third party who specializes in relationship issues can help you break the cycles of frustration and despair.

Finances and ADHD

Many ADHD symptoms such as inconsistent performance, procrastination, disorganization, and impulsivity are contrary to the skills needed to manage finances. Managing money and saving for the future is a steady, life-long activity that could be boring for an ADHD brain. Adults with ADHD struggle with misplacing bills or checks, not paying bills on time and degrading their credit score, not keeping track of account balances and overdrawing, spending impulsively, accumulating large credit card balances, or forgetting to making payments on the mortgage, the car, or to the IRS. The impulsive, live-in-the-moment lifestyle of individuals with ADHD could make it difficult to save for big ticket items, gather paperwork during tax time, remember upcoming expenses, or plan for retirement. Here is the link to some resources I recommend to my clients with ADHD: ADHD Resources.

Benefits of Financial Therapy

Financial Therapy focuses on the emotions, behaviors, and beliefs around financial issues and helps you achieve a more healthy, realistic and empowered relationship with money. Financial Therapy is insight-oriented and addresses the process of one's relationship to money on a deep level. It can also help you identify tactical improvement strategies and brainstorm implementable changes.

NOTE: Financial Therapy does not involve providing legal advice, tax advice, or advice concerning specific business decisions, financial transactions or investments.

Financial therapy can help resolve your money issues and change the direction of your financial future as we work together to:

  • Explore innermost feelings, thoughts, hopes, and fears about money
  • Address emotional issues that interfere with effective financial decision-making
  • Identify money behaviors and patterns that get in the way of reaching goals
  • Clarify, re-assess, and re-align values and priorities
  • Develop a healthier, more realistic relationship with money, and a plan for managing it
  • Reduce money-related stresses and conflicts, and improve family relationships

How Elaine Can Help

Most therapists are trained to talk about issues such as sexual behavior or substance abuse eating, but not about financial issues and their significance. This is despite the fact that couples rank money as the top problem prior to marriage, and in the early stages of marriage. Money is one of the main reasons that couples argue or divorce.

This is where I can help. My professional background and my training give me a unique perspective on how money impacts individuals and couples. Frequently, it is not the lack of money that creates stress and anxiety, but how people mismanage their finances. I can help you clarify your values around money, identify the messages you received from your family, and understand what drives your money behaviors. For couples, I integrate Financial Therapy with Gottman Method Couples Therapy to help couples communicate more constructively and develop tactical skills to foster a healthy financial partnership. For compulsive behaviors related to money, such as shopping addiction or gambling, I offer Brainspotting therapy for addiction.

In my private practice in SW Portland, I encourage clients to explore how their finances affect their emotional well-being through discussions about budgets, financial values, and core beliefs about money and spending. Research indicates that good financial health is important to reducing stress and increasing stability and satisfaction. With counseling, clients can begin addressing and resolving complex issues and emotions that manifest when they encounter financial stresses.

Elaine's Blog Posts on Financial Therapy

Here is the link to interesting articles for my Financial Therapy clients - https://askcounseling.com/category/financial-therapy/

Elaine's Financial Therapy Resources

Here is the link to various resources that I mention to my Financial Therapy clients - https://askcounseling.com/financial-therapy-resources/

Financial Therapy Support Groups

Please contact Elaine if you are interested in joining her support group:

Shopping Addiction / Compulsive Buying Therapy Group