In last week’s post, I gave a brief overview of IFS Informed Financial Therapy, an approach I am developing based on the Internal Family Systems theory developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz. On July 1st, 2021, after about 15 months of training, I became a certified IFS practitioner.
IFS is a non-pathologizing approach to psychotherapy. It doesn’t attempt to diagnose a condition. It is evidence-based, supported by research, and it is used to treat a fairly large range of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and eating disorders. I am also finding it effective with problematic financial behaviors, financial disorders, and other financial issues. Among these are workaholism, compulsive gambling, hoarding, financial dependence on others, financial denial, underspending, overspending, financial enmeshment, and taking an unconscious vow of poverty.
For about a year now, I’ve been using an IFS-informed approach to financial therapy with a number of clients wanting help with money issues. The typical session was around 90 to 120 minutes divided into two parts. The first part was discussing a problematic financial question or behavior. Then the second part was using the IFS process to explore the emotions, thoughts, and internal conflicts around that issue.
Given the relatively small number of clients I’ve worked with so far, I can’t claim the results as evidence-based research. I can say with confidence that all of my clients appeared to make significant progress on their financial issues.
Here is some of the feedback I received from them:
“IFS informed financial therapy was life-changing. It blends a deep inner work with wise and tangible financial next steps that can allow you to see results both internally and externally.”
“As a therapist myself, I have parts that don’t love looking at money. This therapy helped me shift and be with all of these parts, allowing me to be more financially abundant, which in turn allows me to share more fully with my clients.”
“IFS Informed Financial Therapy is a powerful mechanism for change. I’ve been amazed by the progress I’ve made in managing my finances since doing this work. I never looked realistically at my finances or planned for my future. I’m now handling my money much better. I have a vision for the future and a plan to get there.”
“I’ve cast off some of the money habits and unhelpful mindsets I’ve had since childhood. This was a huge step forward in freeing myself to build wealth and wellbeing for the future”
In addition to the positive feedback, I witnessed tangible, measurable changes in clients’ financial behavior. These included saving a windfall that would have previously been spent, paying off a mortgage early, beginning to contribute to a retirement plan, buying a new car, recommitting to a career with renewed energy and enthusiasm, and creating a financial plan for the first time.
My next step in developing IFS Informed Financial Therapy is to combine it with the financial planning process. I have four clients now enrolled in this pilot program. They’ll proceed with our normal financial planning process with one of my associates. Then I will do IFS Informed Financial Therapy with them around things that come up in that process.
I’m excited to move in this direction and I look forward to seeing what progress the clients will make. I’m confident they will make changes, because I’ve found IFS to be one of the most effective modalities that I’ve ever used.
Check out The Financial Therapy Podcast by Rick Kahler