Therapists Talk Money

 ‘Therapists Talk Money’ – a place for therapists and key figures in our profession to talk openly about money.

Therapists need to get comfortable talking about money!


Because where there is money, there is power. And where there is lack of money, there is lack of diversity.

Since 2008, increasing numbers of people have found themselves living in poverty, affecting their entire lives. There have always been groups who have been left to struggle financially despite the effect this has on them, including, sadly, death, i.e. anyone trying to navigate the benefits system, whether it be disabled people, single parents or those with mental health problems.

As we head further into 2023 we can now see that growing numbers of a majority of people are dealing with the cumulative effects of austerity, the fallout from Brexit, war and the cost of living crisis.

There was a clear link between the 2008 recession and an increase in male suicide: that’s likely to repeat. Food bank use has increased massively, and warm hubs are being rolled out across the country leaving the people most susceptible to covid and other viruses a terrible choice.

People who are normally insulated from these kinds of events are already facing job instability, increased mortgage and rent payments, and the specter of negative equity. Life is becoming increasingly stressful for everyone, including clients and therapists.

Counselling and psychotherapy have largely ignored poverty and all it brings until very recently. Now, it is not unusual to see therapists on social media make comments such as, ‘Counselling isn’t political’, ‘Clients can find the money for therapy if they really wanted to’, and that ‘Clients should feel a financial pinch whilst accessing therapy.’

At CTUK, we aim to be aware of socio- economic issues for a number of reasons:

  1. because we work with some of the most financially vulnerable people in society
  2. we know the clear links between money and poor mental health
  3. because our colleagues are suffering too, often in silence!

With all the evidence we have of the impact that money, or lack of it has on mental well-being, we can’t deny that sometimes people aren’t ‘mentally ill’ – they’re simply poor. Yet we send our least experienced colleagues to work with people whose very real financial problems are known to cause mental illness and which therapy alone cannot solve.

It is positively harmful to pathologise poverty. It is gas-lighting to tell people that they need to change their attitude towards things like unemployment or the inability to pay the bills. People in these situations already demonstrate extraordinary resilience, and this is seldom recognised let alone affirmed by therapists.

At CTUK, we know that many therapists are struggling financially. But this is a complex landscape because not paying therapists is embedded in our profession. It has proven difficult to state simple facts without others, often in positions of power, feeling threatened by the work we do.

When CTUK first launched in 2017 one of our main aims was simply to get people talking. The exploitation of therapists and the impact of compulsory unpaid work was hidden in plain view, but unacknowledged. Now, you only need to look on social media and you will see that this is a conversation that many hundreds, if not thousands of therapists are having daily. There is now a movement with therapists beginning to stand up for themselves and to say, ‘This is not good enough, we deserve to be paid for the work we do.’

People are talking, and we must continue to talk. But we must also now start to make changes. We need to recognise the reality that many therapists are struggling financially and what this means in real terms. For example, 3% of qualified and 4% of trainee therapists are accessing food banks – that is 1800 – 2400 therapists needing support to feed themselves and their families!

And so, as part of our ongoing work, we are launching ‘Therapists Talk Money’ – a place for therapists and key figures in our profession to talk openly about money, the lack of it, and what this means for our profession and the 60,000+ therapists working in it.

We need to talk about how training costs have contributed to a lack of diversity and therefore lack of client choice. How many people per training course are struggling to make ends meet? Who of us might be working unsafely as we are forced to make choices related to income? We urgently need to develop a far more nuanced discourse in our approach to working with people who are living in poverty, the impact of poverty on ourselves as therapists, and on the profession. This project will be a beginning.

Below you will find links to the CTUK financial surveys and surveys by other key organisations. We’ll be launching a weekly YouTube show ‘Therapists Talk Money’, in May 2023, where we discuss all this and more.

We hope you join us and make a commitment to talking more openly about money and therapy, reducing stigma and shame and to be a part of a movement seeking to facilitate change.

The ‘Therapists Talk Money’ – Podcast

The Therapists Talk Money podcast is a social justice podcast. It is a place for therapists and key figures in our profession to talk openly and think analytically about money.

PODCAST – All episodes of the Therapists Talk Money Podcast can be found on our web-page here. You can also listen on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify and all the main distributors – just click on the download button in the bottom right hand corner of the welcome podcast below, or click one of the links below.

Apple – coming soon, Google – coming soon, Amazon Music, TuneIn and Alexa, Player FM

YOUTUBE PODCAST – If you prefer video and you would like to watch all of the episodes as we record them on Zoom, then you can do so via the ‘Therapists Talk Money’ playlist on our YouTube channel here. Please do subscribe to our channel and hit the notification bell to ensure you are sent a notice each time we upload a new video. You can also watch the video version on our website here.

Financial help and support for therapists and clients

Click here to access a list of organisations who offer financial help and support, details for credit reference agencies, various helplines and a link to a very comprehensive guide about Universal Credit.

Further reading

Coming soon