Prior to March, 2020, no one could have predicted the current state the world. Shutting down the world was the stuff of speculative fiction. But it did happen, and we survived more than a year of what amounted to a planetary lockdown. There is no part of our lives that this pandemic has not touched; but the one area which has grown significantly out of a desperate need to earn has been the freedom to explore the new “gig economy” – essentially a fancy phrase for “side job.” While the gig economy has given rise to all sorts of whimsical and serious side incomes, it has also created a growing population of intermittent income earners who face serious concerns regarding making enough money to both pay their bills and to cover their pre-COVID living expenses and debt.
With financial stress a major public health issue (APA, 2017), it is crucial that mental health practitioners begin to assess for and treat financial stress in conjunction with comorbid symptoms. With theorists, researchers, and clinicians adapting techniques of various modalities to treat financial stress, clients and patients can benefit from a more qualified, educated workforce of those in the helping professions. The eclectic combination of theories outlined in this book serves merely as a beginning point for establishment of evidence-based treatment of financial stress.
With this book, I will demonstrate several ways to navigate the New Normal, to relieve the emotional stress of economic insecurity, and to succeed and prosper in a new reality. Part One provides an overview of the Gig Economy, offers widely varied examples, and outlines several paths to individual financial stability in an unstable world. Part Two examines the psychology of money as it relates to healthy and unhealthy financial behaviors. Part Three is a deep exploration of Financial Therapy—a long-term solution to the reactive emotional turmoil, distress, and hopelessness caused by dysfunctional and limiting financial beliefs and behaviors. Finally, I offer an Appendix, in which I present case histories illustrating Financial Therapy in action for individuals and couples.