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What's Your Money Script? Your Emotional Relationship to Money

Updated: 2 days ago

This week, 'Therapy Begins with T(ea)' steeps on the concept of money scripts to show how emotional our relationship to money really is & offers a full body check-in to learn how emotions around money are stored in your body.

money scripts; emotional relationship to money

Therapy Begins with T(ea) is a weekly newsletter based on the themes that come up in my sessions as a therapist who specializes in conflict & attachment in romantic relationships, shame & imposter syndrome, and our psychological relationships with money. Each week consists of a 'steep' in thought reflection, an accompanying body based check-in, and tea card intentions for the week to come. Its intended use is for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for individualized medical or mental health treatment.

'Steep' in Thought (3-5 min)


Last week’s ‘Steep’ was filled with financial metaphors around time and money, so let’s lean into it this week and talk about our relationship with money. We don’t often recognize it as that -- a relationship -- but it’s one of the most influential and long-lasting relationships we’ll have in our life. It’s also arguably the most psychological: money is as emotional as it is numerical.

Think about the words we use around finances -- investment, debt & ‘owing’, scarcity, security, wellbeing. All words we use when talking about other intimate, emotional relationships too. One way to start exploring your relationship with money is by identifying your money script. A money script, as coined by Dr. Brad Klontz, describes your overarching perspective on how you see, and use, money; we usually fall into one of four categories (there can be some overlap too).


Money Avoidance: you were taught to be suspicious of money, that it leads to greed and corruption. Having a lot of money symbolizes ‘badness’ of character. You feel wary of your own money and you might avoid money maintenance (budgeting, planning, investing, etc.).

Money Worship: Money is the key to happiness. You don’t feel satisfied with life presently and you attribute that to money; you find yourself saying “if I just had X, I would be happy” a lot. When spending money, you focus more on the A and Z (of where you are versus where you want to be) and less on how that spending will impact you in the near future; you may experience cyclical debt.

Money Status: Financial worth = Self worth. You’re a hustler (maybe a workaholic) because money means prestige and success. Having a diversity of wealth is social power that you crave; therefore, non-money making activities and relationships might fall through the cracks in your life.

Money Vigilance: you feel empowered by financial literacy and through monitoring your financial landscape; you’re aware of your input and output, making sure its within your means, and you don’t over-rely on credit; you’re more likely to save without a specific purpose in mind & might even feel hesitant to spend in general.

Where do you see yourself? What is your money script? And what questions about your relationship with money does it invite you to explore?

If you’d like to go deeper, use this week’s full body check-in to explore how emotions around money are stored in the body.

Full Body Check-In (2-4 min)

Take this first breath in through your nose (if you’re able) for a count of 4 and feel your lungs and belly fill with air; then, let it all go, slow and steady, as you count to 4. Go through that breath cycle again. On your third round, try breathing out a little bit longer to a count of 5 or 6, whatever feels comfortable. Stay here for a minute, enjoying the breath.

When you‘re ready, on your next breath in, start thinking of the word ‘money‘ & invite thoughts, feelings, and associated memories to come forward. Allow yourself to be curious about what comes up, observing the thoughts and emotions as if you were sitting outside at the park people watching. Notice them all without attaching to any one thing. Keep breathing.

Check in with your body. What sensations do you feel? Are there are parts of your body that feel tight or heavy as you think about your relationship to money? What emotions come up? Where do you feel them in your body? Keep breathing.

Check in with yourself. You are safe, you are calm, you are grounded. What is your body communicating to you about your relationship with money? What is it asking you to explore more?

Want this straight to your inbox? Sign up for the newsletter to receive weekly steeps, body check-ins, and tea card intentions for the week to come.


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