financial therapy

Bari Tessler – Groups and Financial Therapy

For this podcast, I welcomed a frequent guest, Bari Tessler, one of the early practitioners of financial therapy who has blazed quite a trail in the financial therapy world. One of her current projects is a mentoring program for therapists, coaches, and financial professionals. She meets remotely with the group once a week for 16 weeks.

The group has three main goals. The first goal is to have a safe space for therapists, coaches, and financial professionals to do their own money work. We all have our money stuff, even if we’re professionals. We all have our money strengths; we all have our money challenges; we all have our money stories to work through. We need a safe place to do that. Bari said she has begun to replace “safe” with “brave,” as what we need is a brave and courageous space to explore our money emotions, stories, strengths, and challenges.

The second goal of the mentoring program is to learn more tools—emotional and psychological money tools, somatic money tools, and practical money tools—that participants can take back to their clients.

The third goal is to support these professionals in creating healthy and sustainable practices and businesses. This includes getting clear about their pricing, their services, and their business models—how to learn, how to make good money, how to make decisions based on their time, energy, money, family, and health so they are serving clients well and providing well for themselves.

One of the benefits of this group is that the participants get to watch Bari model and mentor teaching, leading a group, and working with people individually. An equally important benefit is that everyone gets to learn from each other. Each week’s session has a different theme, such as money emotions, financial identity, or somatic tools. After opening with a teaching presentation, Bari invites participants to ask questions based on an issue in their practice or that they’re working on personally.

My conversation with Bari was a reminder of the power of a group experience. My first experience in the mental health field was through a psychotherapy group, and various kinds of groups have been part of my recovery for a long time. So I have experienced firsthand the power of a group and the way participants learn from each other. When a facilitator is working with one person, they are actually working with everybody in the group as others relate to the dynamics and issues being addressed. Often there are exercises, like the real money exercise I use, that can’t easily be done one on one. Another advantage of a group is affordability. A group also benefits from the experiences of everyone who participates. Bari had considered limiting her mentoring group to just therapists or just financial professionals. Then she realized that people from both fields needed to be in the room, sharing their strengths and challenges and learning from each other. The varied backgrounds help create a rich learning environment that is integral to the group experience.

Check out The Financial Therapy Podcast by Rick Kahler concerning this topic.

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