Money Impacts Psychological and Interpersonal Well-Being

By Paul R. Pace

Money and Psychotherapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

cover of Money and Psychotherapy

Richard Trachtman, PhD, is a money and relationship life coach, counselor, and educator. He discusses his 2021 NASW Press book, Money and Psychotherapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals.

What inspired this book?

When I wrote this book, I had already been writing articles (cited in the book’s reference section) suggesting that money is a taboo subject, causing social work practitioners and other mental health professionals to ignore money issues in their clinical practices. In the workshops I was leading for social workers and psychotherapists, I found practically no practitioners remembered ever being taught about the idea that money and its impact on clients’ money-related beliefs, attitudes and behaviors was of importance.

What audience may benefit from the book?

Any social worker or other mental health practitioner (and any social work supervisor) who does not feel competent and confident in considering and addressing the role that money plays in an individual client’s or a couple’s psychosocial adjustment should read this book.

Any social work teacher of social work practice or human growth and development should introduce this book, and some of the references in it, in their curricula and class discussions.

A few topics of importance in this book include: Effects of Failure to Address Money Issues; Dealing with The Money Taboo; Considerations on Fee Setting and Management; Techniques for Raising Money-Related Questions; Money, Identity and Personality; Money and Meaning; Money and Psychopathology; and Meaning and Mental Health. Three case studies illustrate some of these topics.

What are the key takeaways for readers?

Money is not just what the dictionary or economists define it as. It is like a blank screen onto which we all project our hopes, fears and beliefs. It affects our psychological and interpersonal well-being. But, due to a money taboo in our society, it’s hard to talk or even think clearly about (even for social workers and other mental health professionals) how it affects our lives. It is incumbent upon mental health professions to overcome this taboo and upon individual practitioners to educate themselves so they can address these areas of concern.

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