Marital Help, Short Term Loans Have Something in Common

New ties between stress and money

Do you wonder what short term loans and mental health have in common? So do most people, but the marital counseling field is saying, “Quite a bit.” It’s no secret that the recession has brought many couples to their knees in terms of financial stress. They are trying to manage money, family, children, jobs and home life in a time where the recession is not being cooperative.

One family feeling the pressure is the Fields family from Kansas City, Missouri. Husband Jeremy Fields lost his second job just prior to the recession. His wife, a stay-at-home mom, returned to work part time to try to shore up their income. Of the difficulties, he said, “It never was to a point where we were yelling and screaming at one another, but there definitely was some tension that could be felt.”

The University of Georgia’s study

The University of Georgia conducted a research study on the affect the economy has had on the need for marital therapy. It also aimed to create a therapeutic program that blends the need for both mental and financial well-being. The Fields participated in the study, and wife Kelly said, “I loved the fact that they were together because all the people I know who are married, their biggest problem is money and who is spending what and not paying the bills. … I thought, this is genius to talk about both.”

Researchers believe this is the perfect time for the study because of the recent recession. The stress of bills is much greater than it was prior to the economic downturn. Therapists are recognizing the stress as the culprit in a lot of suffering marriages. Kristy Archuleta, financial planning professor at Kansas State, said, “When something financial does come up in a session that provokes a lot of anxiety, It is glossed over with another problem. So you might work on another problem that has some impact on the finances, but never address the financial issues that are going on.” Things ranging from mortgages, to utility bills to short term loans can all add up and stress a marriage to the point of collapse. Therapists are seeing this more and more post-recession.

Therapy is changing

The methods of therapists are changing as a result of the new sources of stress in the world. Traditionally, counselors didn’t address clients’ budgets or debt reduction plans, but today a new group of therapists are seeing finances as a hot topic. John Grabel, financial planning professor at Kansas State, said, “Couples don’t have a clue what to do. A lot of middle America is facing financial and marital problems combined. Where do they turn?” The answer to that is the growth of a new type of marital counselors who are addressing finances as a source of stress in daily life. Approximately 30 practitioners nationwide are starting to focus on “Financial Therapy” as a niche market. They believe that the interplay between therapy and finances is an important one to address formally. Grabel added, “Just like a marital counselor would normally address arguments, communication and child care, they are now addressing loans, finances and monthly bills.”

One more marital issue to think about

The new therapy topic of finances is taking hold. In particular, because of the recession’s affect on marriages nationwide, therapists are addressing the topic with open arms. Clients are responding positively to the discussions. Kelly Fields added, “It definitely helped us realize that there are ways that you can take the financial strains and be able to live with them comfortably and not take things out on each other.” Counselors recognize how paying mortgage loans, short term loans, monthly bills and salaries have noteworthy affects on marriage. They are empowering clients to address their financial concerns positively and effectively, in an effort to better their marriages.

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