BSPS: March 23, 2014 Conference

The Baltimore Society for Psychoanalytic Studies


Dr. Sandor J. Szollos, Ph.D.

 Being a Paid Helper: Doing Good while Doing Well? Clinical and Ethical Challenges of the “Last Taboo” in Psychotherapy

Sunday, March 23, 2014

 9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast, Sign In and Registration
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Presentation
Sheppard Pratt Conference Center
6501 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD21285

 Program Description:

This workshop will examine the role of money and its impact on helpers in the therapeutic relationship. Money has been described as the “last taboo” in our contemporary American society. We have learned to talk about sex but we rarely talk about our own attitudes about money. This is especially true about the helping professions: the bibliography of the entire literature about the impact of money on the helping relationship and on helpers written in the past 100+ years may take up no more than a dozen pages. Most of it has been written by psychoanalysts for a psychoanalytic audience. However, our reluctance to address money issues in the therapy process has not only maintained major (yet mostly ignored) problems in the therapeutic relationship, but also has been a perennial challenge in the development of our professional identities. How can one be an altruistic helper and also have a legitimate desire for recognition, status and making a good living at the same time? Money issues go beyond the psychoanalytic practice and are relevant for all helpers, regardless of discipline, setting, treatment modality, length of treatment, etc. These issues have become even more important in the current climate of economic uncertainty and health care flux. This is not a financial management workshop. Rather, our goal is to focus on selected aspects of this “last taboo” by addressing the following problem areas:

  • Transference and counter-transference: client’s attitudes toward paying for help and the social psychology of helping; clients’ financial biography; helper’s financial autobiography and vulnerabilities; acting out around monetary issues; symbolic meanings of money: desire, security, sex, gender, freedom, etc., and their presence in the therapeutic process.
  • Money and our professional and personal self-image: helpers’ chronic self-doubt about their worth, measuring our own value, values learned in training; shame, greed and the moral high ground; denying personal needs vs. financial well-being;
  • The context of helping and the context of business: the pivotal point of context overlap and clinical vs. business considerations; establishing our worth; “Baumol’s Disease”; for-profit healthcare; when problems arise: context switching and      manipulation; obscuring factors and the intrusions of the real world (politics, media, insurance, etc.).
  •  Being a Paid Helper- ethical considerations: values, morals, ethics and laws; money and professional ethical codes; business ethics in health care; know thy financial self; the integration of ethical helping with ethical business practices.

Registration:  In order to register, please visit our website,, and fill out our online registration form. Make checks payable to Baltimore Society for Psychoanalytic Studies and mail to:  BSPS, PO Box 20910, Baltimore, MD 21209-0910.  For additional information, please contact BSPS by phone: 410-665-3550 or email:

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