Families and Financial Stress in HBFT

Module Sections:

Other Methods of Intervention

Couples Therapy
It has been established that couples who treat each other better in times of financial stress fare better than those who utilize blaming, negative attribution and conflictual interaction styles (Conger & Elder, 1994). While some arguing about money can be expected, couples therapy can teach couples how to argue in such a way that can preserve their relationship quality. If you suspect finances to be an area of concern for a family, the ABA provides another tool, the Financially Fit Quiz, which shows consumers how well they manage their money. This quiz focuses on behaviors in five domains: financial management, shopping, credit, insurance and estate planning, and saving/investing. Scores range from 20-100, with higher scores showing better financial management behaviors. This quiz can be used to help couples identify concrete problems and help the clinician make appropriate referrals. A referral option in some areas can be for relational financial therapy (discussed below), a local housing and consumer credit organization, or a private personal financial planner, all of which can be located via internet search.

Family Therapy and Parenting
As previously mentioned, in the face of financial stress negative parenting strategies tend to be utilized more often. Family therapy can help children by helping parents reduce the stress and irritability they express toward children, thus reducing negative parenting (Mistry et al., 2002). Clinicians can work with both parents to build their arsenal of positive parenting strategies (i.e. – reasoning, loss of privileges) and instead express more nurturing, affection and sensitivity to their children's needs. Research has shown that as parents feel more confident and effective, parent/child relationships improve and parenting feels less difficult (Mistry, Lowe, Benner & Chien, 2008).

Community and Social Support Resources
Another way to intervene with families is to increase their social and community support. Research has shown that parents who maintain strong community ties do much better over time (Conger & Conger, 2002). And kids whose parents are involved in church, school, and other community activities tend to grow up and do the same, which increase successful outcomes. By encouraging clients to tap into these resources they can increase their well-being and improve their confidence.

Relational Financial Therapy Relational
financial therapy focuses on encouraging empathy and understanding regarding each partner's financial behaviors. Often couples have differing financial habits and these can become a source of tension. Relational financial therapy helps couples understand more about how their money habits came to be through the use of interventions such as money genograms and spending diaries. Once couples have empathy for one another, they can more easily work to compromise and make adjustments to their financial behaviors for the betterment of their family (Stuchell & Barrett, 2010).

Journal- In what ways can you work with my families to help with their financial decision making?