The Value of Financial Therapy and Fostering Financial Intimacy: With Nathan Astle

Today, Ed is joined by Nathan Astle, a licensed marriage and family therapist. Through witnessing the conflict in his parents’ marriage and developing healthy behaviors in his own, Nathan developed an interest in the ways in which money impacted mental health and relationship health. He explains financial flashpoints, a term coined by Brad Klontz, which are emotionally charged memories around money. He then describes the concept of money script inventory, which is an assessment used to look at different money beliefs, like money avoidance.


Nathan highlights the importance of financial intimacy, by which he means a closeness and trust built on shared desires and values in your relationship regarding financial ventures. He shares his perspective on attachment theory, which is based in the idea that, “we have needs as humans to connect with others, and to connect in ways that help us feel safe and secure.” Trust, he explains, is built through secure attachments in our youth. For couples, this manifests in a need to feel safe in a relationship, not just physically, but emotionally. Money can easily cause insecurity for a person, and so it is important in maintaining a healthy relationship that when there is conflict, that security doesn’t feel threatened.


They discuss coping mechanisms for insecurity, and why it’s difficult to recognize these behaviors in the moment they are happening. Sometimes, they explain, it can be difficult to work past attachment reflexes, even in healthy relationships. Nathan explains how couples therapy has helped work through these things in his own marriage, helping him understand his own attachment style and combat unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that might stem from it. They talk about the importance of context in analyzing these behaviors, and how it’s important to recognize missteps as an exception within and otherwise unhealthy relationship and to assign the behavior to the circumstance rather than the person’s character. 


Nathan examines the ways in which trauma can affect one’s attachment relationship, and how that then manifests in the way they approach money. He talks about EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which is an alternative to talk therapy that has been proven beneficial to treating trauma. They close in discussing the importance of understanding control, emphasizing that a good financial therapist should ask their client, In what other areas of your life do you feel out of control? 


Key Topics:

  •  Introducing Nathan Astle and his path to 'money geekdom' (0:54)
  •  Financial flashpoint and money script inventory (5:49)
  •  Intimacy in finance and attachment theory (11:29)
  •  Coping mechanisms (19:18)
  •  Attachment needs and reflexes (25:33)
  •  The impact of trauma (33:5)
  •  EMDR (39:28)
  •  Feeling control (41:25)




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