Ginger Dean of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds Talks Binge Shopping
Ginger Dean is the founder of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, the #1 destination for women who want to take control and dominate their finances. A licensed psychotherapist with Masters degrees in Forensics and Counseling Psychology, Ginger frequently addresses money issues with her clients and helps them manage their deepest money fears to emerge in control, dominating their finances.
Girls Just Wanna Have Funds has been featured in Business Insider, Lifehacker, MadameNoire, Hope for Women Magazine, Consumerist, MSNBC, DC Fox News, Essence, Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America and the MSN Project Engage Web Series. Since its inception in 2003, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds has grown into a thriving community of women passionate about financial freedom.
Ginger shares some insight about helping binge shoppers therapeutically and how interacting via Skype can open up new relationships during treatment.
You have cast a wide net as it relates to the education, promotion and support of women and their relationship with money. You are a high profile blogger and a psychotherapist among the many hats you can claim. How did you know that a life in financial guidance was right for you?
It felt good. When you have the feeling that you’re living up to what it is that you’re supposed to be doing – that’s the feeling I have when I get up every day. I thoroughly enjoy helping women navigating their paths towards emotional and financial freedom.
Do you have an active practice that accepts new clients?
Yes, I am working actively in private practice which involves psychotherapy sessions with clients via Skype.
Over the last few years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the use of Skype for psychotherapy sessions as the world becomes more acquainted with this technology and comfortable connecting online. The client and therapist may be thousands of miles apart, however, once the connection is made, you pretty much feel like you’re in the same room with each other.
On your website you have a great tag-line, “Breaking Financial Ceilings One Stiletto at a Time!”. Does this mean that your practice is exclusive to women?
No it isn’t. My blog is separate from my practice as a psychotherapist and as such, I see men and women.
Binge Shopping, or compulsive shopping, is just one of many mental health issues related to money. These can also include depression, anxiety and even disorders such as kleptomania. In your work, do you see binge shopping as more a co-morbid disorder or is it just as common for a person to seek out your help who suffers strictly from binge shopping?
Every person is different and brings to the session their unique issues. They typically present with an issue such as binge shopping but as sessions move forward, they reveal larger issues around anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression in which the former is exacerbated by the latter.
Some people say that binge shopping is a self-soothing behavior. Is that assumption correct and are there strategies that you help those who suffer put into place in order to avoid financial disaster?
The root issues are typically found in depression and/or anxiety and as such our focus becomes addressing those issues. Helping the client see the compulsive behavior as an unhealthy coping mechanism slated to cause more problems means it isn’t really a self-soothing behavior. It breeds more anxiety in the end.
If the behavior eventually forces them to hit the other end of the spectrum it can mean a deep depression once the consequences of the compulsive behavior set in. Once we address the mental health issues, then we can address the strategies to avert financial ruin.
When developing a strategy for spending, are there resources that allow for people to keep money away from their own access? For example, a technique some compulsive shoppers use is to freeze their credit cards in ice so they are less readily available. Are there commercial financial tools that serve a similar purpose?
Credit bureaus allow consumers to freeze accounts for a period of time when necessary. The same applies for credit card companies. They will freeze an account at the request of the consumer.
Community and shared support is the cornerstone of BingeBehavior.com, and similarly, conferences and events allow for people to come together and learn in person. Do you recommend any events or conferences, or similar resources for people to attend?
Clients tend to find support in groups where they can connect with others who share the same issues.
Locally, I find that Meetup.com is a wonderful way to find others who share similar interests and struggles. Members get together via planned events and share information and resources in a non-judgmental arena.
A commonality among people with disordered thinking is to put themselves last in their queue of priorities. Is there a point in therapy where it becomes time to convince people that it’s crucial to regularly tend to financial well being? Taking time to plan for the future, to budget, to stay current on expenses etc?
This is usually because the mental health issues prevent them from… healthy daily functioning. Once those issues are addressed and we make the connection to what prevents them from functioning in a healthy way (anxiety, depression, other unresolved issues) then, and only then, can we address making their needs and priorities top of mind again.
How much time do you estimate a person needs to allot on a regular basis in order to attend to their financial health ?
At the very least, 30 minutes – 1 hour per week, depending on how complicated their situation is.
With the gradual healing of the economy, what challenges do you see ahead? Are there any specific worries you have for binge shoppers? Anything that consumers of all kinds should keep an eye open for?
We can’t base potential binge shopping concerns on the economy.
[Binge shopping] issues have less to do with the economy and more to do with having the right coping skills. Recognizing the root cause, which then enables clients to manage compulsive behaviors, [is what is important].
Your blog is really a terrific tool! Studying it was straightforward and locating information was easy. Do you use the blog during the therapeutic process with binge shoppers or is it separate and apart? In other words, does your work with binge shoppers include actual financial assistance or do you treat binge shopping to be a behavior that is the consequence of feelings and therefore unrelated to finances?
Only as appropriate and I usually share the work/articles of other personal finance bloggers to avoid any conflict of interest. My work as a psychotherapist is very separate and apart from my body of work as a personal finance blogger. I don’t mesh the two.
We may review budgets and discuss ways to manage money in the same way I would in an article, however, I don’t provide financial “assistance” or “advice”. Still, the two are related in the cases of binge shoppers – mental health concerns fueling the need to shop compulsively.
Are there aspects of treatment or basic financial guidance that benefit from an online community? Do you see these communities as having an impact on shame and self compassion?
Initially, no but once we’ve addressed the mental health aspects? Yes.
Online groups can be both a gift and a curse. I think it’s very helpful to join others who share the same challenges, as clients tend to find that they aren’t alone in their struggle. This lessens and normalizes feelings around shame which can be detrimental to the healing process. On the other hand, if someone is particularly vulnerable, then they open themselves up to others who may not have their best interests at heart.
Thank you so much Ginger! This has been such an informative process. It will be exciting to see what additional information you have to share in the future.
If you would like to follow Ginger and Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, you can find her through the following links:
At Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, the priority is a future where women can have financial freedom and choose the life they want to live by taking control of their finances. The motto at Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is: Breaking Financial Ceilings One Stiletto At A Time! and they support that by publishing actionable content that help women light up their financial lives and take control of their deepest financial fears.