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Break the money taboo

In our column and podcast series, Professor Sarah Niblock, CEO of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, explores life’s challenges. She looks at the psychology of money, how finances affect relationships and why we should be more open about it

W hen pop icon Prince sang Money Don’t Matter 2 Night in 1991, he faced quite a backlash from audiences for being too political and provocative. Even he, an accomplished songwriter, struggled to articulate the taboo surrounding money, whether between couples in fractious relationships or between ourselves and our own baser instincts.

Money is power, it’s alluring and seductive and can also be destructive. It isn’t a subject we automatically associate with our psyche. It’s transactional, seemingly practical and impassive and yet it can have huge emotional significance.

Can’t buy me love

As British philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill pointed out: ‘Its worth is solely the things that it will buy… Yet the love of money is not only one of the strongest moving forces of human life, but money is, in many cases, desired in and for itself.’

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