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Financial therapy could help couples with disagreements

Shot of an elegantly dressed couple looking angrily at each other during a conversation with a counselor

Shot of an elegantly dressed couple looking angrily at each other during a conversation with a counselor

Financial therapy may help couples with disagreements and financial problems before relationships suffer.

“Money is a big thing and ignoring it is impeding satisfaction in relationships,” said Megan Ford, a couples and financial therapist at the University of Georgia who studies money and relationship satisfaction, in a news release about her research on the subject. “Therapists need to work together to solve problems that occur around financial behaviors of couples and learn how to connect to all of their emotions.”

Ford and John Grable, professor of family and consumer sciences at the university, are researching what influence financial therapy can have on relationship outcomes and how gaining a better understanding of these issues might affect a couple’s decision to seek help from a financial planner and a family therapist.

Both have been studying the issue for the past 10 years and believe that financial therapy improves a couple’s overall well-being and financial stability if they understand that many financial behaviors are tied to feelings and beliefs.

In their most recent study, published in Contemporary Family Therapy, Ford and Grable worked with six couples who shared their financial goals with a family therapist and financial planner and discussed how their money history related to their current situation.

The couples were encouraged to talk about their feelings about money. Afterward, nearly all of those who participated said they wanted to learn more about their financial behaviors, realized they needed to communicate better and would consider seeking the help of a financial planner.

“One woman was close to tears listening to her husband explain an early memory in their relationship about money that she didn’t understand at the time,” Grable said. “The story helped explain his odd behavior that she always thought of as just being mean. They left clearly closer emotionally and financially feeling more powerful.”

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