Financial & Work Disorders

  • Have you lied to your spouse about the mismanagement of the finances?
  • Do you spend inordinate amounts of time at work to the exclusion of time with loved ones and self-care?
  • Do you take risks over and above what would be considered a risk level commensurate with your earnings only to frequently lose what you earn?
  • Are you earning below your intellectual and skill level potential?
  • If you answered yes to any one of the above noted questions then you may have an unhealthy and/or troubled relationship with money and/or work.
  • In our culture today, where money and work are part of everyday lifel, it’s natural that there may be issues, at least from time to time.

Money is Inescapable

Money is everywhere. We need it in order to live and sustain our lifestyle. We use it to be kind to others. We are taught to save some, give some away and use the rest for sustaining ourselves, whether it be on our daily needs and/or common or extravagant pleasures. Some use it to sustain another addiction, like drugs or sex or even to assure depend upon them. We have been taught to value ourselves based on what we earn and that working long hours will attain more money and more value. Having enough of it can be a huge fear as having too much can be a huge burden.

Money Leads to Conflict

Money is another object with which we have a relationship. We really cannot avoid it. How we obtain it, what we do with it and the feelings, emotions and thoughts to which we attribute it can lend itself to dysfunctional patterns all meaningful to our makeup. Financial disorders are unremitting patterns of self-destructive behaviors caused by unhealthy beliefs that arise from traumatic life moments or events about money that become embedded into our belief template-these become the foundation of our repetitive struggles with money. They are also the basis for recovery.

Money is one of the main conflicts in marriage and one of the primary reasons cited for divorce. 90% crimes occur due to money.  Issues around money are a leading cause of stress, depression and suicide.

There are Patterns of Disordered Work and Use of Money

There are different types of unhealthy financial behaviors. Someone may hoard their money, never to spend it, while another may spend it all never to save it. Buying can reflect a need to distract, a compulsion to collect or appear wealthy and abundant, sometimes all to the level of an addiction – a shopaholic. There are those who deny their involvement or drive for money and there are families in which money is the greatest source of conflict.

Financial disorders include underspending, risk aversion, denial, pathological gambling, workaholism, overspending/compulsive spending, hoarding, financial infidelity, enabling and financial incest and more. Overspending, over-shopping and overworking have quickly become the hallmark to a self-indulged culture; they are considered ‘normal’ by some.

Patterns of accumulation, storage, management and spending of money, our financial template, is often rooted in early attachment patterns and familial values from whence we came. Problems with money, like other addictions, involve issues of self-esteem and worth, anxiety, depression, personality patterns and a perpetuation of a pattern despite negative consequences.

Patterns to our relationship with money have been outlined. Money avoiders are those who have trouble getting it and when they do, don’t really know what to do with it. For example, there are those in denial (don’t think about it, don’t open the financial statements) or those who trust no one else with their money or to even spend it on themselves. Those obsessed with having money hoard it or they are obsessed with both work and money and may even spend compulsively.

Money and Work Imbalances Can Cause Betrayals

As a taboo topic, money has its relational disorders-financial betrayals (enabling, infidelity, co-dependent giving) involve using money with others for power and control. With financial disorders comes partner betrayal and trauma. There can by lying, stealing, cheating, spending outside the relationship and so on. Infidelity is not limited to emotional or sexual violations but there are boundary crossings involving money and work as well. As with other betrayals, this is not the end of the road but the start of reclaiming your financial and work life.

Financial Conflict Can Be Healed

Unhealthy beliefs and behaviors around money and/or work need repair. Unlike drug and/or alcohol addiction where one can terminate their relationship with the substance, one has to formulate a healthy relationship with money and/or work. As with other behavioral or process addictions, like sex addiction and disordered eating, we can heal our relationships with food, sex and our bodies.

If you have any of the following or symptoms of the following behaviors, you may benefit from treatment:

  • Workaholism
  • Obsessed with Money
  • Gambling
  • Shoplifting
  • Hoarding
  • Financial Deprivation
  • Financial Betrayal
  • Over shopping/Overspending
  • Under Earning
  • Stealing or other illegal/crime
  • Money Aversive
  • Problematic Wealth
  • Work Dissatisfaction
  • Co-Dependent Giving
  • Problematic Debt

An expert in process addictions, Dr. Winter applies the principles of psychology, object relations and attachment theory and addiction to those situations in which money and/or work are a large source of dissatisfaction and conflict. As a specialist in process and behavioral addictions, as well as her experience working with relationships, she is qualified to assist you in healing and establishing a healthy connection to money and work.  She has also earned the Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist (CMAT) from the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) with specialized training in money and work disorders.

What Holds You Back From Getting Help?

I’m too busy . . if I leave the office that’s time away from earned income:  I know it makes no sense but the anxiety that arises from not being able to work is too much to bear. . . You have to start somewhere and reaching out for help can be greatly beneficial in the long-run.

I didn’t realize that lying about money to my partner was a betrayal:  There is something called financial infidelity which involves any form of dishonesty, whether it be about the family’s investments, shopping without accountability to the partner, spending family monies on prostitutes or secretive business investments etc.  Treatment for that doesn’t just need to heal the individual but the bond within the couple-ship and/or family.

I can’t afford it; I’m always behind the eight-ball: Therapy can be costly but so can a continued pattern of dysfunctional earning and/or spending. Therapy for money and/or work disorders typically involves more than individual and/or couples therapy and can utilize other, less financially costly, forms of treatment, such as group therapy, support 12-step groups and bibliotherapy all as adjuncts to a primary therapeutic relationship.

Help is Available for Money and/or Work Disorders

Dr. Winter understands the unique challenges that arise from our relationship with money. Having a background in developmental and psychodynamic psychology, sexology, attachment, trauma and addictions as well as marketing and behavioral economics, gives her a unique blend of skills in order to help you identify and heal the connection with money and/or work that keeps you anxious, conflicted and impairs on your ability to have happiness, joy, freedom and gratitude in your life. Furthermore, having worked with various populations, both affluent and not, gives her a diverse background and experience with which to apply.

In addition, and as an adjunct to your therapy, Dr. Winter offers an intensive workshop on money and work disorders. It is the purpose of the workshop to identify and help detangle you from the emotional dependence and chaos that leads to unhealthy decisions and an unhealthy relationship with money and/or work.