Talking About Money in Continuing Education Workshops

Who: Kelly Chicas, a Board Certified, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (at Albuquerque Family Counseling) and Lisa Johnson, PhD, LMFT in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Situation: Workshops for community agencies and general audiences to provide educational information and introduce therapists in a non-threatening setting.

What: “The Wealth Within: Mastering Your Money Personality” was held at the University of New Mexico. This is an example of a two-session community workshop offered to the public. Course description: Other money courses teach budgeting and planning, but do not examine the WHY of your personal spending habits and attitudes. This class will help you to identify and examine your money personality – characteristics that motivate your spending patterns, goals, choices and priorities. You will understand your core financial story, where your specific behaviors come from, and what to do about the behaviors that are keeping you from financial success. This class will provide you with specific, goal-oriented changes you can use immediately that will change your behavior with money.

Who: Individuals and couples in the community who would not normally be coming in for therapy but can benefit from this type of education on money issues.

Why:

  • To reach people who would not normally be coming for therapy and help them begin addressing money issues through a quick and information educational presentation about habits and attitudes related to money.

How:

  • Individuals and couples attend a two-night continuing education class (3 hours) offered through the Continuing Education Program at the UNM.
  • Class I: Attendees sort through the Money Habitudes statement cards, interpret the results, identify their dominant Habitude and set personal goals based on their findings.
  • Homework: Attendees (1) answer discussion questions chosen from the Professional Guide to apply how their Habitudes affect them and (2) consider their family of origin and answer if they see any similarities between their Habitudes and those of their family.
  • Class II: The class is breaks into small groups based on dominant Money Habitudes types to talk about common challenges with others like them and share solutions.
  • Note: When they do workshops on Money and Relationships Money Habitudes is used as the introductory activity.

Outcomes:

  • “They enjoyed opening up after hearing others’ stories. They felt they were not the ‘only one’ to have the experience.”
  • Individuals and couples gained important insights from doing the cards, completing the homework assignment and sharing their stories and suggestions with each other.
  • Because attendees wanted to keep the cards to use in the future, either on their own or with a partner, in the future the cost of the cards will be added to the course’s material fee.

Observations and Comments:

Although homework is rarely well received I had a good response and they really enjoyed it [the assignment.] For people who’ve never really looked at this aspect of money – or just always wondered ‘Why am I like this?’ – there was a lot of really good awareness and introspection that came out.

A budget is good but it’s just like going on a diet. If you don’t understand why [you’re gaining weight or experiencing health problems], then going on a diet is kind of a Band-Aid … The value behind the Money Habitudes cards is identifying the why. The behaviors and the questions on the statement cards are so applicable to most couples’ situations they discover how they spend, save and invest and why they have the thoughts they do behind their money behaviors.

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