Families in Recovery Category in Blog

Money and Its Impact on Mental Health

Year after year individuals rank money as their number one stressor and yet it’s a subject that is often avoided and given minimal attention in therapy and treatment. Individuals in therapy feel comfortable talking about a range of issues. Money is more commonly not one of them. Ask a client their annual salary and you’re likely to be met with a guarded look of suspicion. As a therapist you can almost see the walls start to come up, as money is discussed, as if to communicate “why are you asking me this?” Given money’s number one ranking as a stressor, you might think it would be the first subject we would broach and yet therapists, like their clients, play a part in leaving this subject off the table so as to avoid the discomfort that could arise. Despite money consistently being identified as a leading cause of stress, we somehow have not made the connection that therapy offers a place to talk about money and its impact on mental health.

Recently we had the privilege of cosponsoring, along with Constellations Behavioral Health, a symposium entitled The Innovator’s Dilemma. As the title suggests the purpose of the day was to discuss innovations in the field of mental health and addiction. I was fortunate to participate by moderating a panel with Ted Klontz, Ph.D.; Robin Schecter, LCSW; and Arden O’Connor, MBA. Dr. Klontz shared his expertise in the field of financial psychology in a fascinating talk, much of it centered on the unhealthy issues surrounding money such as gambling, compulsive spending, money dependence, financial enabling, and financial infidelity.

The broad range of issues that develop around money make it all the more important that people assess and understand how healthy their relationship with money is. As Ted Klontz put it, the first step is simply exploring money as a topic and allowing it to be something that is given real attention and concern, especially in therapy and treatment.

Freedom Institute offers trainings and educational events throughout the year for both clinicians and non-professionals. Keep up to date with our events on our website at www.freedominstitute.org/news-and-events/events/. To learn more about Ted Klontz and his work visit his website http://www.yourmentalwealth.com/

Alex Dayton, LMHC, is Freedom Institute’s Associate Clinical Director. He co-facilities the Evening Outpatient Program, is a member of the DBT consultation team, and works individually with adolescents, young adults, and adults.  In addition to a Masters degree from NYU, Alex has completed the Foundations in Family Therapy Course at The Ackerman Institute for The Family, training at Bellevue hospital and at FEGS working with adults with both chronic mental illness and addiction.