Can A Shopping Therapist Help With Your Compulsive Spending Habits?

By: Robert Porter

Updated March 07, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC


Shopping is something that many people tend to enjoy. Being able to buy things that you have been pining over may make you feel happy. Because of the happiness that can come along with it, some people use shopping as a source of stress relief or happiness when they're feeling down. This can lead to spending habits that cause serious problems.

Shopping to boost your mood can cause financial difficulties or compulsive spending habits that cause overspending. People with compulsive spending habits may have a hard time making financial ends need when they can't find the money to fund their purchases and basic living costs.

If you're one of the millions of people with compulsive spending habits, seeking out some professional help can help you change these behaviors and take control of both your wallet and your emotions.

Is Shopping Therapy Real?

"Shopping therapy" or "retail therapy" are slang terms that many people use to describe the good feelings they get following a shopping trip. Looking for a "shopping therapist" isn't likely to yield many results. Therapists are trained to help people to deal with mental health disorders, problem behaviors, and life issues. Compulsive spending is one of the many issues that a licensed therapist can help with.

A therapist will work with you to determine what is going on in your life that leads to compulsive or problematic spending. Together you'll identify situations and emotions that lead to the behavior you want to change. There may be bigger problems like self-esteem and other issues that will be uncovered and need to be addressed to support your efforts to change your spending habits. The therapist will also work with you to find ways to manage stress or other intense emotions that are related to your spending behaviors.

Therapists have the know-how to help you recognize the negative behavior patterns that are harming your life. Coming to recognize the problem is the first step toward change.

How Can I Change My Shopping Habits?

Changing your shopping habits is going to involve you taking an introspective look at your needs and your wants. It is important to try to figure out what things you need in your life and which ones are simply a luxury. Your therapist may have you create a sort of budget for yourself. Being able to budget your money responsibly will help to ensure that you stay within reasonable parameters while spending your money.


Stop Window Shopping Online

Online window shopping can lead to spending problems. Many compulsive purchases are made online because it's so easy to do. Your therapist may work with you to create steps to changing or eliminating behaviors like online window shopping that contribute to compulsive spending.

Make Use of A 48-Hour Rule

The 48-hour rule is helpful when trying to change spending habits. The rule is simple: once you desire something, wait 48 hours before purchasing. This will give you time to think about the purchase or even to forget about it. If you don't remember it in 48 hours, it's a good chance that the purchase wasn't necessary.


Avoid Your Spending Triggers

You are also going to have certain spending triggers that you need to look out for. Depending on what it is that you like to buy, you may want to avoid watching certain things. For example, if you are into buying sneakers, then watching videos online about all of the newest sneaker trends might not be a great idea. It is likely lead you to want to spend money unnecessarily. For some, the trigger may be something like experiencing certain emotions.

If you know your triggers, then you can take steps to combat the problem. When you are feeling weak, it is smart to try to enlist the help of a friend. You could even call or message your therapist if you feel that it would help. Simply try to do something to avoid situations that trigger you. If you are feeling the urge to spend in an unhealthy way, then reaching out to someone who cares and will bring you back down to reality.

Online Therapy Is Helpful

Online therapy is a really helpful option to consider as well. If you want to be able to reach out to get therapy at any time, then going with online therapy is preferable. This type of therapy will be available to you whenever you need it. Online appointments are available outside regular business hours in many cases. Online therapy platforms also offer 24/7 messaging so that you can reach out to your therapist whenever you'd like to.


You can sign up for online therapy today if you want to get started.

Once you get things started, you will be taking control of your spending. You can get your life on track with the help of a dedicated therapist. They will work closely with you to determine what needs to be done and to guide you through the process as you work to manage the emotions and triggers associated with your spending.

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