Financial Therapy in chicago

Financial therapy is a way to learn how to bring up and feel comfortable with talking about money and finances, learn skills and tools to reduce stress about financial issues, and develop a better relationship with money. Financial therapy is focused towards helping the individual, couple, or family become more comfortable talking about financial issues or stressors, identify reasons for thoughts or behaviors around spending, saving, or money in general, identify money scripts and disorders, and build better skills and tools to manage money and achieve financial goals. It is a strengths-based approach and seeks to motivate, support, and educate people to make both positive behavioral and cognitive changes in their lives regarding their financial views and lives. Just reducing stress about money and financial issues can have a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being and health.

Money and financial issues can have a significant impact on a person, both positive and negative, in all aspects of their lives. It’s being able to identify when money and finances are causing a negative impact and when it is time to seek help. People often think that money and financial issues and/or stress only impact you financially, but it can have significant negative impact on your health, emotional well-being, relationships, and/or social life too. Therapy in general, and financial therapy specifically, can help to lessen the stress, develop coping mechanisms and skills to overcome financial issues and obstacles, and can help to “talk it out,” problem solve, and gain insight into the meaning and impact of issues and conflicts related to money and finances.

Around two thirds of American adults, regardless of race, gender, or economic status, are stressed about money but don’t seek help of any kind. There are times when significant negative cognitive, emotional, and psychological aspects related to money are present which can create detrimental financial behaviors that can sometimes lead to serious negative consequences.

              Individuals and couples often seek financial therapy for a range of reasons. Maybe it is an individual who feels that they are unworthy of nice things or spending money on themselves, which could lead to difficulty making decisions on purchases or missing out on positive life experiences. Or a couple who have issues around who manages the money, who makes the significant financial decisions, if there should be joint accounts, and how their income is spent, which leads to frequent arguments and stress in their relationship. It could be the employee who is “stuck” in a position and is afraid to ask for the well-deserved raise. It could be the family struggling to make ends meet, who just needs to learn better tools to budget and manage their spending. Maybe it is the shopaholic who gets a boost of happiness every time he or she buys something, only to become hopeless or stressed when the credit card bills come. Or it could be the person who is so driven by making money that they are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it results in negative behaviors and destroying relationships. There are so many reasons for seeking financial therapy, but the overall theme is that money is causing some type of stress or discomfort in your life and/or relationships.


There are several types of money disorders, such as financial denial (problems are minimized or avoided), financial enabling (inability to say no to others financially), financial dependence (reliance on others financially), financial enmeshment (lack of boundaries in financial aspects, primarily in parent and child relationships), and financial infidelity (secrecy and dishonesty related to money).


In financial therapy, a main goal is to work with clients to help them identify and understand their money scripts and how they are impacting their financial behaviors and lives. Money scripts are people’s attitudes and beliefs about money which are often developed in childhood, are typically unconscious, and play a significant driving factor in financial behaviors. Money scripts are usually classified as money avoidance (avoid dealing with money and reject responsibility), money worship (believe more money means more happiness), money status (view own self-worth based on net-worth), and money vigilance (overly alert, watchful, and concerned about money). With the use of various therapy techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or a Strengths Based approach, one is able to better understand the underlying beliefs and motivations behind their thoughts and actions and it can then be possible to create more positive thought processes and patterns, financial behaviors, and “re-write” one’s money scripts.

If you’ve determined that there are financial issues, stress, or difficulties in your life that need to be resolved, the first step is to set up an appointment to start your journey towards a better relationship with money. Second, be open to and honest in discussing money, your thoughts and beliefs about it, possible underlying causes regarding your stresses, what you were taught to think about and do with money growing up, and what money means to you and in your life and/or relationships, among many other topics. Third, stick with it. Therapy in general can often be uncomfortable to people when starting out, and even more so when it is a topic, such as money, that we have been taught not to talk about. But you will become more comfortable and you will begin to see the positive impact in your life. You will learn tools and skills to improve your behaviors and thoughts about money, which in turn will improve your well-being and relationships. It might seem like a difficult journey, but in the end it will be worth it.

Written by: Colleen Lennon, LCSW

Certified Financial Therapist in Chicago at Cityscape Counseling

Email: to set up an appointment.

© 2020 by Cityscape Counseling Chicago

  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon

TO set up an appointment


Our Intake Director Nicole will be happy to help you