Dual Perception

The Therapist's Perception of Money

Therapists are people too. We need to earn money to pay for things, to be compensated for our efforts, our time, our investment, as a symbol of recognition, etc. In this cluster of needs can be included the need from the therapist to have clear compensation for his or her work and dedication. The fees established must be enough for the therapist not to feel a personal demand for gratitude or to place on the patient an emotional debt which must be paid for the therapist's efforts.

The Patient's Perception of Money

Money is a symbolic subject in which the patient gives to the therapist many messages within the therapeutic space: resistance to work, aggressiveness, call to attention about the implication of the therapist, need to be fed without feeding, testing the dependence of the therapist, (not paying, delaying the pay, or paying less in a mistake); feel-

ing of debt not resolved, excessive submission (deciding to pay in advance, paying more in a mistake); acknowledgement, gratitude, freedom from the debt, etc.

Because of these two very different perceptual sets, it is necessary for the therapist to have clarity of differences between both areas of money when he or she speaks or thinks about money and its relationship in therapy. We must have this clarity in mind when and if we are speaking about money. Is the money related to perception 1 or is the money related to perception 2?

It would not be uncommon for there to be an overlap for some interventions, which could engulf both areas, for example, the therapist's approach to confronting the patient's lack of payment. Due to this possibility, it is of the utmost importance that the therapist have the aforementioned clarity to separate the two perceptions in order for him or her to work effectively when this topic is approached with the patient. Specifically, if the therapist has a strong need for money, he or she will confound the therapeutic dialogue with greater personal needs than professional inquiry.

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