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Money And The Therapist

by Jane Thurnell-Read


Whenever I’ve said: “I like money”, I’ve seen other therapists looking either embarrassed or shocked, but why is this? Why should therapists be secretive or ambivalent about money?


If I say: “I like strawberries”, people don’t immediately think that my whole life is geared to eating strawberries, or that I judge everyone else by how many strawberries they have or can provide me with. But money is different. Many of us have a very uneasy relationship with money and that shows in the lack of success many practitioners experience.


Many years ago I had a conversation with a therapy teacher about our different approaches to money. We had known each other for many years, and we have very different attitudes to money and therapy. She believed that she had this wonderful knowledge and skill, and she should share it with as many people as possible, so would only charge very little and wouldn’t really think about money. My attitude had been that I knew about this great therapy, and I wanted to teach and help as many people as possible, but I wanted a fair return for my work too – money. When we reviewed the previous ten years or so, we saw that I had helped more people than she had and had spread the knowledge of my particular therapy further.  My desire for money had helped me to do that by acting as a great motivator.


Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying I am only motivated by money. The fact that I feel the need to say this here is because I know that many people don’t see a love of strawberries and a love of money as being similar, as being the same sort of motivators. Of course, it’s OK to help people without charging your normal fee or to give free talks. Liking money doesn’t mean you can’t do these things too. In fact I believe it makes it easier to do things like this. Because I earn enough money, I can afford more easily to do things for free or for little recompense. Because I earn enough money, I have been able to spend time as an unpaid trustee of the charity Village Water. Because I earn enough money, I have been able to write some books based on workshops I used to teach. Because these are for a very small market, I knew that I would not sell that many books, so would end up working for about 10 pence an hour. They don’t make economic sense, but I knew that I wanted the information out there, so I did it anyway.


I make hefty charitable donations too. As my income has gone up, so has the amount of money I have given. I love the money I keep, and I love the money I give away.


For me money isn’t just a motivator, it’s also an indicator of my success – it tells me something about how many people I’m reaching with what I do. My liking for money has lead to lots of personal development. It’s helped me get out of my comfort zone, risking failure in pursuit of money and other things I value equally highly. It’s another carrot I use to give myself the courage to try to do something new and scary.


I believe that it is possible to love money and live a compassionate, meaningful life. I enjoy earning money, spending it, saving it and giving it away.


Copyright (2014) Jane Thurnell-Read