A visit to the Financial Therapy Association

IFW founder Chris Budd was recently invited to speak at the annual conference of the Financial Therapy Association (FTA) in San Diego. Here, he shares some thoughts from that trip.

The FTA is a fascinating body. Their membership includes: therapists, trained counsellors, who have decided to specialise in financial issues; and there are financial planners who have decided to add therapy to the list of skills. They were also very positive and welcoming group.

Psychological tools

Across the several days of the conference, a case study was introduced and debated. It was fascinating to listen to the therapists talk about different psychological models and tools that they might apply in a given situation.

In the UK, our non-regulated financial coaches fulfil this role to a degree, but I don’t think we have yet fully reached across to create a connection with therapists. This is something I think might be interesting to explore.

Financial planners aren’t therapists

One takeaway from the case study was what the Americans term being ‘outside your wheelhouse’. This refers to when you’re required to do something that is beyond your comfort zone or skill set.

When discussing financial wellbeing, I’m always careful to point out that financial planners are not therapists. Coaching skills are essential to help a client understand what a happy future much look like for them, however there comes a point, such a when a client might become upset, that the planner should recommend that the client seeks specialist support.

This quickly became apparent as the therapists discussed the case study in their terms, and planners discussed the financial aspect.

An important question

It led to the following question: who would you refer to?

It’s easy to simply say: “This isn’t something we do.” A much better outcome, however, would be to follow up that statement with: “However, this is somebody I recommend that you could now speak to.”

The IFW has been advocating coaches and the planners to speak to each other and forge working relationships, and the FTA conference showed me some wonderful examples of such collaborations working effectively. I also saw how beneficial this can be for both parties, as well as for the client.

It was a great trip, although I’ll be very happy to never drive on the eight-lane freeway around Los Angeles again!

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