It’s difficult to escape. Turn on the radio or the television, peruse a newspaper or listen in on a coffee shop conversation and you’re likely to hear about financial trials and tribulations. A steadily growing concern in the wake of one of the gloomiest economic climates of our time, money is a major cause for stress in any period.
Able to wreak havoc on our relationships, and to cause significant setbacks in our understanding of self-worth, money can be a nightmare when we’re going through a difficult financial cycle. Recognizing the urgency of this issue for millions of people across America and throughout the world, not to mention the therapists working to help cushion the blow and create positive change, many psychologists and mental health workers are exploring the relationship between “self-worth” and “net worth.”
The somewhat novel idea is that anxieties over money problems are more often linked to the imagination rather than any straightforward interaction with reality. Fears about how bad things could possibly get –including having no way to care for one’s family or oneself– tend to dominate the subconscious during financially straining times. But while we can subject ourselves to fairly harsh treatment in the worry department, the good news is that thinking psychodynamically about these issues, examining past events and ideas that inform current behaviors surrounding money, along with a little fiscal organization can bring a world of relief, even when the money’s tight.
Bringing these insights to the public consciousness is an important part of helping to mitigate the losses and further risks of the economic downturn, and therapists note that financial recovery can be achieved when the collective baggage of finances are brought into awareness and the majority of us heal our relationship to money. As the media continues to overflow with sour notes on the state of stocks and savings, therapists may have a lot of baggage to help people work through –but are well-equipped to help their clients find solace in their self-worth.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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