Money A Taboo Topic

Money is transactional, interpersonal, and symbolic. It is a taboo topic in many cultures. Talking about it often evokes powerful feelings and impacts our significant relationships. Its symbolic meanings, often unconscious, are shaped by cultural, religious, and familial attitudes and beliefs.

In therapy groups, setting and collecting fees may trigger, among other feelings, anger, shame, jealousy, and greed both in the members and leaders. To gain insight into these feelings and understand their interpersonal meanings, the money taboo has to be lifted.

To this end, money matters need to be normalized and openly discussed in the group. A clear fee and billing policy has to be presented so that members know what to expect, and policy violations can be therapeutically explored (Gans, 1992; Fehr, 2003; Rutan & Stone, 2001). To effectively do so, therapists need to work through any discomfort about discussing money matters, and resolve conflicting feelings about a therapy practice being a "business" (Ben-Noam, 2004).

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