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Five-day program explores dynamics of problems with money, work

March 8, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A spectrum of disorders ranging from money obsession on one end to a complete aversion to addressing money on the other “can bring you to your knees like any addiction,” says the clinical director of workshops at Arizona-based The Meadows. This month, the trauma- and addiction-focused treatment organization will debut a series of five-day intensive workshops that will address balance among work, money and relationships.

The “Living in Abundance” series, with the first workshop scheduled for March 28-April 1, grew out of clinical director Jean Collins' participation in a training conducted by former professional colleague Bonnie DenDoovan, who developed the Money and Work Adaptive Styles (MWASI) assessment to evaluate individuals' behaviors related to work and money. Collins, a licensed clinical social worker and addiction counselor, says participation in the training workshop even convinced her to institute some changes in her own life.

Collins says problems with money and work manifest in numerous ways. Workaholism ranks high on any list of commonly seen problems. Other individuals might exhibit an obsession with daily stock price fluctuations and the cost of goods. “We also see a lot of trust fund kids at The Meadows,” she says. “They are not confident in their abilities.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum are “under-earners” and individuals who go to any lengths to avoid discussing or thinking about money, Collins says. Issues around work and money “are intertwined with all of the addictions,” she says, so co-occurrence with substance use issues and process addictions is common in these individuals.

Intensive schedule

Participants in the Living in Abundance program will spend $3,250 before lodging costs; The Meadows is establishing housing on-site at its Rio Retreat Center located about a mile from its main campus in Wickenburg. Around half a dozen individuals will participate in each group, undergoing a rigorous daily schedule. Collins says she prefers that individuals reside on-site during the program, but some might commute in from home each day or stay in housing elsewhere.

All participants will be assessed using the MWASI. They also will complete timelines charting key developments in their lives around work, money and related problems. They will evaluate how their difficulties around work and money have affected the people around them, and they will chart their strengths and plan the life they want to lead going forward.

Part of the workshop will involve contrasting individuals' emotional response to money to the reality of their situation. “There are people who don't think they have enough, but when you step back and look at it, they do,” says Collins.

The Meadows plans to hold these workshops quarterly, with the next sessions scheduled for late June, late September and mid-December.

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