It is not news that the most important predictor in a successful therapeutic/ counseling relationship is that of the skills of the counselor, not the condition or presenting issues of the client. Behavioral science is a gold mine of information regarding strategies that the professional has total and exclusive control over, that serve to enhance, as well as inhibit, the quality of the therapeutic relationship. A therapeutic or counseling relationship focused on financial issues is no exception. This presentation focused on providing (1) the underlying rationale for and (2) simple and immediately implementable “tools” that directly impact the robustness and resiliency of any human relationship—personal or professional. Klontz offered these tools:

  • Require that a deliberate choice be made from a few options (three maximum)
  • Lock in good intentions—making decisions today about choices that will be necessary tomorrow
  • Set default behavior to the desired option, with the ability to opt out if they wish
  • Go where the flow of their energy would naturally lead
  • Make the “right” choices easy and the “wrong” choices more difficult
  • Connect the desired choice or behavior with something they are already choosing to do
  • Automatic enrollment (opt out versus opt in)
  • Automatic increases in savings amounts
  • Set a penalty for non-compliance

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