Money and the fee : an exploration into psychotherapists’ personal beliefs and how they impact on fee policy and the therapeutic relationship

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Smith, Fiona
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this research was to explore money and the fee in psychotherapy from the psychotherapists’ perspective. Firstly this study explored how psychotherapists’ personal beliefs, gender and culture affected fee policy and the therapeutic relationship. Secondly this study investigated whether participants would consider it beneficial if the fee formed part of the training in terms of its psychological meaning and its practical requirement. Finally this study sought to acquire an insight into how psychotherapists structure their fee policy. A qualitative design was chosen because it provided a more complete understanding of the subject under investigation. Particular attention was paid to the participants’ experiences and feelings about money in relational to: personal beliefs, culture, gender, the therapeutic relationship and fee policy. The sample consisted of five participants, two male and three female. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews and this method was consistent with existing research design. The interviews were transcribed and the data was analysed using thematic analysis primarily at a semantic level. In general the findings of this research were reflective of the existing literature and provided an insight into this topic from an Irish standpoint. Past emotional experiences about money influence our behaviour in how we deal with money and this was apparent throughout the findings. Gender issues were evident in counter-transference possibly due to the societal view of women as unpaid caretakers. Unresolved issues about money impacted on fee policy and on the therapeutic relationship as counter-transference indicating the importance of working through them. A recommendation was made that training institutes incorporate the psychological meaning of money and the practicalities of fee policy into their training syllabus. Further research was suggested on a larger scale due to the lack of existing literature and the limitations of this research.