Your relationship with money can have a massive impact on your overall well-being.
If you are struggling with spending, saving, debt, budgeting, or other financial issues, financial therapy can help you break free of the behaviors and habits preventing you from reaching your financial goals.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the three best online financial therapy services/therapist databases you can use to find help.
Best financial therapy services
BetterHelp is an online therapy and counseling platform with over 25,000 therapists ready to help you from the comfort of your own home, including a wide range of financial counselors.
All of BetterHelp’s counselors have either a master’s or doctoral degree in their respective field and are fully licensed to practice. Their team includes psychologists, social workers, family therapists, and licensed professional counselors, specializing in a broad range of areas such as anxiety, business and financial therapy, and other psychological and emotional issues.
With lower costs than traditional therapy, BetterHelp is a great option if you are an individual, couple, or family who wants to begin improving your relationships with money. Their financial counselors have a wealth of experience in helping clients bridge the gap between their current financial situation and the life that they desire.
Here are some of the benefits of BetterHelp if you’re looking for financial counseling.
Easy onboarding process
Signing up to BetterHelp involves a simple intake process where you provide background information about your life, your needs, and the money issues you’d like to address in online financial counseling. After going through the onboarding process, you are matched with a counselor who is a good fit for you.
This matching process helps to take the guesswork out of choosing a counselor – a decision that can sometimes lead to a lot of stress. Once you complete the questionnaire, you get matched quickly and can begin therapy immediately.
If you’d ever like to change therapist, it’s a simple process to switch. You can choose another counselor at any time within BetterHelp – you’re not limited to the first person they match you with.
Helping you find the best possible therapist
Choosing the right financial counselor is crucial if you want to improve your financial well-being.
With traditional therapy, your choice is limited to those in your local area. You are also limited by local counselors’ availability, and whether or not they take your insurance. But with virtual therapy, your options are no longer limited to just local providers who may or may not specialize in financial counseling.
Along with better access to specialists, BetterHelp also gives you the option to have sessions during the day or night, allowing you to book in at a time that works for you.
Ongoing, responsive support
One of BetterHelp’s best features is the secure chat room between you and your therapist, accessible 24/7.
Whenever you have a question, concern, or want to make note of something, you can send it to your therapist, and they’ll reply as soon as possible.
Having consistent access to support can be very helpful, especially if you’re having problems with making impulsive financial decisions. Plus, if you ever have any thoughts or realizations throughout the day, you can immediately pass them on to your therapist – rather than having to wait until next week’s session, by which time you might have forgotten about them.
Talkspace is a popular virtual therapy app that provides individual, partner, and family therapy. They primarily focus on providing live chat support through the app, but you can also connect with therapists over video calls on your computer as well.
The main difference between Talkspace and BetterHelp is the onboarding process. With Talkspace, you talk with a mental health professional about your needs, and they in turn match you with a counselor.
When compared to BetterHelp’s process, Talkspace onboarding can take a bit longer, and you don’t get to do it at your own pace, since you’re not just filling in a questionnaire. However, since you’re talking to a real person, the process does feel more personal.
The Talkspace platform does a good job of keeping you connected with your counselor, as it offers texting, audio messaging, and a virtual dashboard with opportunities to track your progress. BetterHelp’s system is a bit more straightforward – it doesn’t have as much in the way of dashboards or visualization, which some people prefer.
3. Financial Therapy Association
The Financial Therapy Association is a community of specialists dedicated to promoting financial therapy assistance. Their directory offers a wide range of customizable search options that enable you to find a financial counselor near me who will work to deeply understand your background, experiences, and goals.
Unlike other online therapy platforms, the FTA’s sole focus is on financial issues, and how money problems relate to your family, relationships, marriages, and life in general.
With their highly specific search directory, the FTA allows you to find a therapist who specializes in your particular area of financial stress.
If you are a family business owner whose debt is causing conflict within your marriage for example, you can connect with specific providers who deeply understand the complex layers that are involved with business and family struggles.
Or maybe you’ve been experiencing stress, anxiety, and conflict as a result of wealth inequality within your family. The Financial Therapy Association has providers who specialize in this area as well.
Unlike other online therapy platforms however, the FTA acts more like a catalog of specialists to choose from. It is then up to you to reach out and figure out cost and session schedules on your own. You will also be limited to specialists available in your local area, unlike with an online therapy platform.
What is financial therapy?
Financial therapy helps people reframe their relationship with money.
It’s helpful to think of it as a cross between mental health and personal finance.
- A mental health provider focuses on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors in order to promote positive change and personal evolution.
- A financial planner focuses on your budgets, financial planning, investments, retirement funds, and financial goals.
- Financial therapy is the melding of these two worlds and explores how you think, feel, and behave with money.
Who should see a financial therapy provider?
Money can cause significant amounts of stress, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
As stressful as money problems can seem, it’s important to have a healthy relationship with your finances. Money is something you have to deal with daily. You pay bills, receive credit card statements, buy groceries, and earn income. One of the closest relationships you have is with your money, yet it can also be one of the most toxic.
Consider this: would you want to be in a relationship with someone if they made you feel like your money does?
If the answer is no, financial therapy can help you heal your relationship with money, just like couples counseling helps many couples heal their marriage.
Essentially, financial therapy is for anyone who needs to take a deeper dive into their money issues, and get back on track on their money journey.
A financial therapy professional can help you understand issues like your money management style, why you’re in so much credit card debt, and how your family members and life experiences influence your relationship with money. They can also help clients understand feelings of shame, perfectionism, or money avoidance, and help you with financial planning and financial disagreements with family members.
If you are someone who experiences negative emotions when dealing with money and financial planning, taking the opportunity to talk to a certified financial therapist may help ease your anxiety.
What does a financial therapist do?
Much like doctors who specialize in pediatrics, oncology, or cardiology, mental health therapists often choose to specialize in a particular area. Some will focus on family, relationships, or trauma, while others gain expertise in addiction or bereavement.
A financial counseling professional specializes in the emotional issues around money.
What qualifies someone to provide financial therapy?
Financial therapy is a relatively new field and has only been around for about a decade. Because the field is so new, there is no established training, degree, or certification just yet. Unlike medicine or psychology, financial therapists don’t major in financial therapy in college.
Financial therapists are usually trained as social workers, financial planners, or mental health counselors. Because this profession combines both mental health and financial planning, most therapists have certifications in both areas. For example, someone who is a licensed social worker may also undergo training to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
On the other hand, someone whose background is in accounting may opt to go back to school and become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), in order to specialize in financial therapy pertaining to families. These professionals are known as family therapists.
To find a therapist that’s a good fit for you, using a reliable online database is a good first step. Take a look at the financial therapy services we previously mentioned, such as BetterHelp. From there, do a bit of research and think about your biggest pain points, as well as any financial goals you might have.
The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to find the right counselor, and the more you will get out of each session with them.
No two financial therapy clients are alike. Each individual is unique, and so are the issues they want to discuss and overcome. But the goal of every therapist is to delve into their client’s core beliefs about money and how they came to be. In the financial therapy world, these beliefs are called “money scripts”.
Money scripts are important because they help you begin to understand the history that contributed to your financial knowledge and ideas about money, also known as your money story. We all have unique money scripts that are formed by our personal experiences and family circumstances.
When you begin seeing a financial therapy provider, they will help you uncover your money scripts so you can begin gaining some insight into your learned behavior around money.
Before your first financial therapy session, it’s a good idea to take some time to consider where you fall within the four main categories of money scripts.
1. Money avoidance
Those who fall under this category believe that money is somehow bad and rich people are greedy or corrupt. They avoid looking at bank statements and credit card bills and may have a tendency to compulsively shop. A typical script or belief someone with money avoidance may have is, “money is the root of all evil”, or “spiritual people should not care about finances”.
2. Money status
Those who fall under the money status category believe that their worth lies in how much money they have. They fixate on outward appearance and may prioritize buying new clothes or a fancy car over a more sensible investment. They may say and believe things like “money makes the world go round”, or “your success is defined by your wealth”.
3. Money worship
Money worshipers believe that money is the key to happiness. They will buy things in an attempt to feel good, yet never quite feel like they have enough. A typical belief may sound like, “more funds equals more freedom”, “money is power”, or “if I could just make more money, then I’d be happier”.
4. Money vigilance
The money vigilant are incredibly concerned with their financial health. They need to save money to feel secure, and believe that money is the result of a hard day’s work. While those in this category are usually smart with their spending, they tend to have rigid beliefs and high levels of anxiety about money management and financial planning. An example of a script might be “dollar bills don’t grow on trees”, or “people don’t deserve financial handouts”.
Each of these scripts is a learned belief, and often reflects the ideas your family members had about money as you were growing up. Financial therapy will take you through these old stories, ingrained patterns, and limiting beliefs so you can begin to see how your current money mindset came to be.
Through each session with your financial therapist, you will gain more insights into your spending habits, business and family relationships, as well as reasons why you might feel like you never have enough money, or have problems with financial planning. With this deeper understanding of your relationship with money, you will be well on your way towards improving your financial well-being.
About the author
I am a freelance writer, mental health advocate, and certified meditation teacher with extensive experience in mental and emotional health. After earning my master’s degree in educational psychology, I went on to practice crisis counseling and behavioral therapy.
As a writer, my aim is to utilize my personal and professional experience in mental health to create content that helps readers feel understood and supported. I have been a contributor for The Mighty, Yahoo!, and have ghostwritten for a variety of personal development and wellness websites.
When I’m not writing, you can find me exercising, reading, or playing with my dogs, Doug and Ozzy.