On the last track, we discussed clients who compulsively spend for malicious reasons. These reasons included: deliberate lying; cheating; and revenge spending.
On this track, we will examine techniques useful in preparing a client to fight compulsive spending. These techniques include: "Compiling a Money History"; "Conversation with Money"; and "Commentary."
3 Techniques for Preparing a Client to Fight Compulsive Spending
Technique #1 - Compiling a Money History
The first technique is "Compiling a Money History." Have you found, like I have, that many shop-aholic clients tend to have a history of specific feelings about money and its significance? In order to treat these clients, I find it helpful to have them scrutinize their own past feelings about money to better understand their current feelings.
Rachel, age 28, had spent herself into serious credit card debt. She stated, "I don’t know why, but I feel complete and happy when I’ve bought myself something!" To help Rachel understand where her feelings of euphoria came from, I asked her to write down her money history and including the following points. Listen to these points and think about any others you might include yourself:
8 Points About Money History
Your earliest memory about money.
Who spent it, and on what; and how people in your family reacted to this behavior.
Who saved money, and what for; and people reacted to this behavior.
Your family’s money fears, messages, philosophy and habits.
What you remember about family money fights and money tensions.
What you remember about the money you needed as a child, and what you did with it if you got it. Did you get a regular allowance? Was it ever withheld as a punishment?
Any special thing you really wanted and got (or didn’t get), and how you reacted to this.
Any other emotional memories about money and spending from your developing years, from inside or outside the family.
After a few weeks had passed, Rachel returned and stated, "When I was a little girl, we always had a lot of money. My father would buy us gifts, and would tell us, ‘Because I love you’ as though the only way for him to express this was through expensive jewelry. However, when we asked for something, he’d tell us how we didn’t know the value of a dollar. He controlled the gift and love giving. So now, with my own money, I can love myself." Think of your Rachel. Could he or she gain more understanding of his or her compulsive spending through "Compiling a Money History?"
Technique #2 - Conversation with Money
The second technique is "Conversation with Money." Valerie, age 32, had married her husband Mark for his extreme wealth. Since then, she has spent most of his fortune on clothes and jewelry. To help her curve her compulsive spending, I asked Valerie to complete a "Conversation with Money" in which she imagines money with a personality. I asked Valerie to consider these questions:
3 Money Personality Questions
What kind of personality does money have?
What does money think of the way you’ve treated him/her/it?
What’s your justification for treating Money this way?
A few weeks later, Valerie returned with her dialogue. An excerpt
MONEY: What’s your problem? Why can’t you ever hold onto me, and feed and nourish me?
VALERIE: There’s always so many things I want, that I need to keep me happy. My parents never said no to me, so why should I have to say no to myself?
Think of your Valerie. Would he or she benefit from a "Conversation with Money?"
Technique #3 - Commentary
In addition to a "Money History" and "Conversation with Money", the third technique is "Commentary." After having written her "Conversation with money", I stated to Valerie, "Think of key authority figures from your past and imagine the kind of comments you’d hear on your conversation. This part of the technique is to help you understand your past and how these key figures affected your financial development."
Valerie’s commentary progressed as follows:
MOTHER: You should have married a wealthier man who can give you everything you want.
FATHER: My little girl deserves to have the best of everything. Just be happy and enjoy yourself. Your husband and I will look after the future for you.
OLDER BROTHER: You were always a spoiled brat, and you still are! I bet you won’t be able to keep this up forever—and I’ll be glad to see how you handle having to give up things, like the rest of us!
Think of your Valerie. Would he or she benefit from "Commentary?"
On this track, we discussed techniques useful in preparing a client to fight compulsive spending. These techniques include: "Compiling a Money History"; "Conversation with Money"; and "Commentary."
On the next track, we will examine techniques that help a client avoid trigger attacks. These techniques include: Trigger Awareness; Spending Alternatives; and Replacement Self-Talk.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Allom, V., Mullan, B. A., Monds, L., Orbell, S., Hamilton, K., Rebar, A. L., & Hagger, M. S. (2018). Reflective and impulsive processes underlying saving behavior and the additional roles of self-control and habit. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 11(3), 135–146.
Elbogen, E. B., Tiegreen, J., Vaughan, C., & Bradford, D. W. (2011). Money management, mental health, and psychiatric disability: A recovery-oriented model for improving financial skills. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 34(3), 223–231.
Rose, P. (2007). Mediators of the association between narcissism and compulsive buying: The roles of materialism and impulse control. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21(4), 576–581.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 6
What are three techniques useful in preparing a client to fight compulsive spending? To select and enter your answer go to .