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Compulsive Spending Counselling

All of us have splurged on that fabulous dress in the window or a new suit, or a spectacular pair of shoes, even when it meant putting it on the credit card.  There are many people, however, who cross the line between splurging and compulsive spending.

Professionals describe compulsive spending as a pathology where the addiction has no product; it is an obsessive, frequent and repetitive purchasing of items that you don’t need and often cannot afford, and will buy regardless of consequence. Research suggests that approximately 6% of people in the UK suffer from this disorder.

There are diverse reasons why people suffer with compulsive spending. Some people who suffer with compulsive spending use their spending as a means of filling a void, seeking approval, coping with stressors, or as a means of taking control of something in their lives.

With the help of a compulsive spending counsellor you can learn the habits, thoughts, feelings and triggers that influence your shopping behaviour.

Compulsive Spending Characteristics

An objective and supportive counsellor or psychotherapist can sometimes make the difference when trying to take control of your life back. The first step is to identify that there is a problem that you need help with, so well done for getting this far.

Listed below you will find the characteristics of a compulsive spender. If any of these characteristics describe you, or someone that you know, then it might be time to seek professional help.

Compulsive spenders:

  • Devote a lot of time to shopping and can think of little else
  • Feel anxiety over a purchase until it has been completed
  • Tend to shop alone, and keep their shopping habits a secret
  • Hide receipts and purchases
  • Exhibit 4 phases of spending: anticipation, preparation, shopping, and spending
  • Experience an inability to stop spending even when presented with severe consequences of conitnuation

Treatment Options for Compulsive Spending

People who suffer from compulsive shopping can find success through many different treatment options. Compulsive shoppers, like others suffering from addiction, will normally make more progress when they have a good support system. This support system can include friends and family, a church, members of a mutual aid group (e.g. shoppers anonymous or spenders anonymous), counsellors at inpatient, outpatient, or private facilities, and sometimes rehabilitation centres.

How can Compulsive Spending Counselling or Psychotherapy Help?

Counselling can be a good resource when trying to take back control of your compulsive spending. A counsellor or psychotherapist could help in many ways. Part of their job will be to help you identify thoughts, habits, and feelings that link up to your compulsive spending. They will provide you with a safe and confidential environment where you can discuss your compulsive spending and anything that may have triggered your behaviour patterns.

Some therapists have had success using Hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in helping people to overcome their addiction, we we use a mixture of all therapies. The goal with any therapy is to help you learn to better help yourself. A compulsive spending counsellor will help you to:

  • Identify the roots of your struggle
  • Learn new coping strategies to deal with stressful events, thoughts and feelings
  • Learn coping strategies to cope with compulsive thoughts pertaining to your spending
  • Eliminate out of control spending and restructure your spending habits
  • Help you to live a healthier, happier more balanced life
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