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Treating Financial Conflict in Couples Through a Bowenian Lens: Applied Financial Socialization and Communication Privacy Theories


Financial Socialization Theory and Communication Privacy Management theory offer insights into how financial conflict develops and is maintained in couples. Communication Privacy Management Theory offers a lens through which to view financial communication between partners. Partners bring in their own experience, values, and behaviors regarding money (family financial socialization), realized or unrealized. Through family financial socialization we know that environmental and family influences began during childhood and have continued into adulthood creating what may be perceived as financial norms. Both theories are reviewed, and a clinical case vignette applying the Bowenian framework is discussed. Implications put forward to offer best practices for family and financial therapists, suggesting that it is necessary to process and gain insight into their own financial beliefs to avoid projection. We propose using each of these theories to further inform clinical practice with clients and to expand our growing knowledge of couples and financial communication.

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Correspondence to Nathan D. Astle.

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No human participants were included in this work, it is a theoretical piece and the case vignette refers to no particular individual or couple.

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Koochel, E., Astle, N.D. & Markham, M.S. Treating Financial Conflict in Couples Through a Bowenian Lens: Applied Financial Socialization and Communication Privacy Theories. Contemp Fam Ther 42, 77–83 (2020).

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