THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY
by Sandy Plone, Ph.D.
We are heading into fall, and the holidays--that time
of year when we usually wish one another good health, happiness, and
prosperity--though not necessarily in that order. But many of us are
anxious and fearful, as dismal economic news along with two wars worry
us. All this is complicated by the significance of the current election.
In my practice, clients are trying to find ways to keep perspective
as I try to help them with stress reduction and prioritizing concerns.
The manner in which we each respond to the daily barrage of bad news
is connected to 1) the reality of the situation; and 2) our underlying
psychological money profile.
Concerns about business success in the coming season, anticipation of
the tax man in April, or financial worries in general may preoccupy
our minds. It seems timely right now to think about the meaning of money
in our lives: the myths, conflicts and patterns absorbed from families
of origin that can profoundly influence adult relationships, the ability
to fulfill dreams, and emotional and physical well-being. All of this
can be viewed as another aspect of growth, self-knowledge, and tools
to empower us.
I've learned from my own and client's struggles and conflicts what a
core issue money represents in our psyches, relationships, and all aspects
of our lives. Even in the confidential setting of the therapy hour,
clients have often found it easier to talk about sexual matters than
money matters. Money has heretofore represented the ultimate taboo!
But something is changing, as financial concerns predominate our thinking,
our worries, our relationships and families, and we are trying to adjust
to this new reality. The conversations in my consulting room are taking
a different focus these days, as my clients seek to find some calm in
the eye of the storm, and embrace gratitude for the blessings in their
lives aside from their portfolios.
In fact, money can be a symbol for violence-withheld or rejected-or
a symbol for love-offered and accepted. In families money may be used
as a secret weapon, manipulating conflicts about sex, love, or power.
Husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings-we're all prey to
the love, anger, envy, compassion or worries about money in these complex
relationships. More understanding about how these issues play out in
our lives is more power, helping us to be more conscious of the dynamics
Many authors have written about prosperity becoming our inner as well
as our outer work. This includes the interrelationship with spirituality
of money, success, power, and fame. (Chopra, Ross)
Having a harmonious relationship with one's finances is part of the
mind/body/spirit connection to living a balanced and healthy life. The
prosperity principle is an attitude about life, and consciousness of
abundance can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as can a consciousness
of scarcity. How can one accomplish this shift? Beyond reading available
books on the subject or finding a trustworthy financial advisor, by
illuminating, understanding and then destroying destructive myths or
childhood beliefs that may block the path to prosperity, even in these
©copyright by Sandy Plone, Ph.D. 2000
Dr. Sandy Plone, Clinical Psychologist, specializes in helping others
work through blocks towards prosperity and creative fulfillment. For
information or confidential questions call (310) 979-7473.