What Is Financial Therapy For Couples, And How Can It Help?

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What is financial therapy for couples, and how can it help?

Conversations about money are important. While it can be uncomfortable to discuss these issues, it can also help to keep financial problems under control. Though it is perfectly healthy to discuss money – sometimes, constant financial issues can cause frustration or anxiety. Disagreements about money are a common cause of arguments among couples. If not resolved, they can even lead to the breakdown of a marriage or relationship.

It is common to feel scared or nervous about finding couples therapy, and often couples don’t consider couples counselling as an option, as they can see it as being time-consuming or awkward. However, couples therapy may be helpful for both partners in putting those arguments about money to bed.

If you’re unsure whether couples therapy could help you – don’t worry. Here, we discuss how financial issues can impact a relationship and the benefits of couples therapy.

So, how can financial issues impact relationships?

Financial issues can be common in relationship disagreements and can take a serious toll on mental health. These issues can have a serious impact on relationships, causing an increased risk of arguments and tension. If you are struggling with financial issues, you may feel angry towards your partner, which can ultimately cause a marriage or relationship breakdown.

If one partner is controlling more of the finances than the other, it can even start to become a controlling relationship in some cases, and even just having conflicting can result in mistrust. You may also start to feel isolated from friends and family if you are missing out on socialising and events due to not being able to afford them. Covering up financial issues to hide it from loved ones can result in resentment and mistrust building between partners, and may start to impact the mental health of both partners.

Where do fights about money stem from?

Though reasons for fallouts over money differ for different couples, common causes of financial conflict within a relationship include:

  • Fundamentally different financial behaviours.
  • One partner wishing to save money while the other wants to spend it.
  • One partner contributing more to the rent and bills than the other.
  • One partner may have a compulsive spending issue and could hide debt from the other partner.
  • One partner making financial decisions without the input of the other partner.
  • One partner hiding their financial situation from the other.

These financial issues and differences in spending habits can cause mistrust, arguments, a breach of trust, and even long-term financial difficulties within a marriage or relationship. This may cause a build-up of resentment, and sometimes one half of a couple may control the finances more than the other. This can leave the other partner feeling trapped, guilty and isolated.

Are you struggling with communication in your relationship? Find out how couples therapy can help strengthen communication.

What are the benefits of couples therapy for financial issues?

married couple during a therapy session

Don’t worry if you feel scared or hesitant to look for couples counselling – this is normal, and most couples feel nervous initially. Couples therapy may seem time-consuming, especially if both of you lead hectic lives. However, couples therapy can provide invaluable benefits:

  • A calm environment in a neutral space – couples therapy can allow both partners to communicate calmly.
  • Understand each other’s point of view more clearly – understanding each other’s point of view can allow for more empathy and compassion.
  • Handle disagreements constructively, rather than destructively – couples therapy could help prevent those frequent arguments.
  • Support in understanding how money issues can impact your relationship – are you unsure how to budget effectively? Couples therapy can introduce practical financial planning tips and tricks.

Could couples therapy for financial issues be the answer?

It can sometimes be hard to know whether couples therapy for financial issues is right for you. Though it may sound awkward, it can be useful if you often find yourself arguing over financial issues and responsibilities, as it can help to build up broken communication and provide a window into each other’s perspectives.

Are you finding that money worries are negatively impacting your relationship and causing you to worry and distrust your partner? Couples therapy might be the answer to saying goodbye to those arguments. All members of The Harley Psychology & Therapy Group are Doctors of Clinical or Counselling Psychology or Psychotherapists. Get in touch with us to find out more about speaking to a couples therapist, or read more about our couples counselling service here. Online therapy is also available, and is a great option for saving travel expenses or if you feel more comfortable talking to someone virtually.

What methods of therapy are commonly used in couples therapy for financial issues?

A range of methods may be used in couples therapy for financial issues:

Behavioural couples therapy

You may encounter behavioural couples therapy, which will look at the deep-rooted reasons for your financial difficulties and can offer new ways for you to work through issues that cause you to behave a certain way, rewriting your beliefs around money.

Emotionally focused couple’s therapy

Another method could be emotionally focused couples therapy, which will look more deeply at the emotions and needs attached to finances and can help you to build stronger bonds and communication with your partner around a money issue.

The Gottman Method

You may use the Gottman Method, which can have both individual and joint sessions, examining your essential needs as a couple and setting up exercises so you can work together to build communication and trust.

Narrative therapy

Narrative therapy can be useful in breaking down the “story” of your money problems into its essential parts, which can give you an overview of situations from a less emotionally driven position. This can be especially useful if you find yourself having many heated arguments or becoming upset easily.

Positive psychology

If your therapist works with positive psychology, you can expect to look at what could improve your quality of life, both individually and as a couple, and be shown how to work towards that financially.

While psychology and psychotherapy overlap, a psychologist can help you identify your issues and why they exist and can support you in identifying your motivations. A psychotherapist can provide practical solutions and help you implement changes in behaviour.

Whatever form of therapy you undergo, you can expect exercises for organising financial planning such as writing a budget together, looking at ways to save, and how to discuss financial disagreements calmly and openly.

If you’re experiencing financial issues with your partner, contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Commonly asked questions – couples therapy for financial issues

What can you expect from couples therapy?

In couples therapy, you can expect to discuss your issues openly in a calm environment, and be given tools to both communicate with your partner more effectively and manage your own emotions. Find out more about what to expect from couples therapy here.

What is financial control in a relationship?

Financial control is when one partner has primary access to and control over the finances of the household.

What is financial and emotional abuse?

Financial and emotional abuse is when one partner uses money to control the other. This may include isolating them from friends due to financial constraints, and making them feel trapped in the relationship.

How does financial therapy differ from financial advising?

Speaking to a financial therapist will focus on the reasons for and feelings behind financial issues, whereas financial advising will focus solely on the practical aspects of money management.

What are examples of financial abuse?

Financial abuse may include one partner relying completely on the other, or one partner controlling the finances completely. It can also include money being taken and spent recklessly by one partner, or money hoarding and hiding finances.

How long does couples therapy take to work?

This can vary from couple to couple, but you can expect to spend at least twelve to fifteen sessions with a financial therapist.

Can money issues ruin a relationship?

If left unattended to, money issues can ruin the trust in a relationship and cause a communication breakdown.

Can debt destroy a relationship?

The mistrust and deceit associated with debt can destroy a relationship, as well as the strain on wellbeing and mental health it places on both partners.

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