Building Muscle

Pullen, Courtney
February 2004
Journal of Financial Planning;Feb2004, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p26
Academic Journal
This section asserts that while clients need good advice and support from their financial planners, sometimes the best thing financial planners can do for their clients is frustrate them so they can develop their own financial muscles. The theory presented by Heinz Kohut, on self-psychology, states that health self-development proceeds from adequate responsiveness of caregivers to a child's emotional needs. Kohut also said that an additional task of parenting is to let go of caregiving to the degree that the child is able to fulfill his or her own needs. He called this process optimal frustration: creating a gap in caregiving sufficiently small that it encourages the child to be increasingly self-reliant. The most formative of the interactions is mirroring: a young child feels absolute delight when they are accurately seen and responded to. Kohut also states that we never outgrow the need for mirroring. If one advisor senses a disconnection with a client, one place to investigate is a breakdown in the mirroring process. The optimal frustration model has merit throughout the planning process and is fundamental to the client relationship. Guilt and fear of failure stand in the way of optimally frustrating a loved one.


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