Therapy is not exactly a new age concept anymore, but wealth therapy is still sufficiently avant-garde enough to be open to ridicule. The Guardian did a (very earnest) deep-dive into the world of therapists specializing in helping the 1 percent feel OK about having much, much more than everybody else. You don’t need to read the whole article; you know exactly where it’s headed. Here are the key absurdist takeaways from the therapists to the stratospherically wealthy for the 99-percenter on the go.
Therapist Clay Cockrell does gluten-free “walk-and-talks” with those facing “wealth issues” in New York City.
“We are trained to have empathy, no judgment and so many of the uber wealthy – the 1% of the 1% – they feel that their problems are really not problems. But they are. A lot of therapists do not give enough weight to their issues ...” There is guilt over being rich in the first place, he said. There is the feeling that they have to hide the fact that they are rich. And then there is the isolation – being in the 1%, it turns out, can be lonely.
That was just the warm-up really. Here’s wealth psychologist Jamie Traeger-Muney’s take on the mental toll the Occupy Wall Street movement has taken on the 1 percent.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement was a good one and had some important things to say about income inequality, but it singled out the 1% and painted them globally as something negative. It’s an -ism…” “I am not necessarily comparing it to what people of color have to go through, but ... it really is making value judgment about a particular group of people as a whole.” The media, she said, is partly to blame for making the rich “feel like they need to hide or feel ashamed” … “Sometimes I am shocked by things that people say. If you substitute in the word Jewish or black, you would never say something like that. You’d never say – spoiled rotten or you would never refer to another group of people in the way that it seems perfectly normal to refer to wealth holders...”
People say: ‘Oh, poor you.’ There is not a lot of sympathy there,” she said. “[Wealth] is still one of our last taboos. Often, I use an analogy with my clients that coming out to people about their wealth is similar to coming out of the closet as gay. There’s a feeling of being exposed and dealing with judgment.”*
So, yes, that just happened. Let it wash over you. The struggle is more real than you thought. But, fear not, for all you 99-percenters out there in New York City still working on your novel, Clay Cockrell also does “creative spirit counseling.”
*Correction, Oct. 19, 2015: This post originally misattributed this quote to money psychology expert Barbara Nusbaum; it was a statement from wealth psychologist Jamie Traeger-Muney. Nusbaum was also misidentified as wealth psychology expert. She is a money psychology expert.