Here is what I have found though my three decades of working with women who are in struggle, trauma, stress or anxiety. All of them in some way, had a financial component to their struggle.
While you might think money issues are about money itself, it seldom is. I understand that on the surface, it feels common sense. Maybe you overspend on a credit card, or you’ve overextended your bills or you save and are fine financially but you are told by friends that you are a workaholic. Maybe you define yourself by the purse you have or the car you drive. These are the results, not the root causes.
So, what does a finance therapist do?
Let’s look at “Mary”, she struggled in childhood with some abuse, felt insecure and unaccepted. In her elementary years, she wanted to be the teacher’s pet and sometimes felt she succeeded, sometimes not. In her preteen years, she struggled with her looks and started being aware that she “should” look a certain way according to her perceptions based upon her friend groups, magazines, and movies she was seeing at the movie theater with friends. Her boyfriend in high school broke her heart, her college boyfriend wasn’t much better. She found herself spending money to “pamper” herself, and spent money on treats because “she deserved it”. Time went on and she struggled with weight, being a slave to the gym or workouts, watched what she ate but binged often, and started to define herself by her home, her decor, her relationship with her now, husband. He was taking care of the bills and would ask her about her spending, which made her feel demeaned and defiant. He was also spending. They started to argue about money, living paycheck to paycheck but all the while, never stopping to put up the front that all was well and they were “face value affluent” but on paper, they were in debt.
This scenario isn’t that different that many other’s, maybe even yours.
How I’d work with Mary is get to the root of her childhood voids, help build her self esteem, coach her in creating self-value in ways that are not financially fueled, help her to communicate with her husband and help her to guide him in making better choices as well, financially. Develop a plan for them to increase intimacy without a finance component. Help her develop a different money script in order to become the star and director of her own life that she produces not simply responds to.
As a financial therapist, my job is to help you to figure out your money story from your past, find out what blocks you might not realize that you have, and help you to redefine yourself without a dollar sign over your head or in your heart. You can rescript your money story.
You might not think you even have a money story; oh, you do! We all do. Just like a love story with ourselves, how we project self-care into our lives also is intertwined with our relationship with money.
How do we do this though? What should you expect?
As a therapist, I combine coaching; we discuss your past, discuss your current situation and of course, your goals. From there, we dive into my 3-6-9 program. Each set of three areas helps you to uncover more of what you need in your life and more of what you don’t.
Think of situation as a triangle; each line signifies a set of three areas and the first set we work on, the first three, might be all you desire to work on – this is your base, your foundation money script, money struggles, debt overwhelm. That debt might be money or time, because not every money story or every client who sees me is in debt; some are doing well fiscally but emotionally tied to their job, position or feel their self-value is tied up in their portfolio. Once we do this, the client decides which line or set we work on next. Once we finish the three lines of the triangle, we have the strongest structure in place.
Many times relationships that were in trauma or struggle begin to mend and even body dysmorphia and disordered eating begin to self-mend as the money story that we tied to the self-mending, begins to restructure and heal.
Always feel that you can reach out.