What does energy have to do with money? Aside from your monthly electric bill, or the Exxon or PetroChina stocks you may have in your investment portfolio, you might think, not a whole lot. But Chicago wealth manager Julie Murphy Casserly would disagree. After addressing some of her own personal problems through visits to an energy healer, Casserly published a book in 2008 called, “The Emotion Behind Money,” went on Oprah’s show, won all kind of new business, and began to integrate energy psychology into her sessions with a few clients. She wasn’t the first to explore the subject. I tore the wrapping paper off of a book not too many Christmases ago called The Energy of Money: A spiritual guide to financial and personal fulfillment, by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D. That book was published back in 2000 and it was given to me by my mother, who grew up in Hollywood and is a bit of an aficionado of new-age self-help books. (Apologies to mom for not having cracked that one open yet! It is hidden away somewhere in my closet…)
Sure, some financial advisors use psychology or therapy to get at the emotional issues clients may have concerning money with the aim of helping them worry about it less and enjoy it more. This is often called “life planning” in the wealth management industry and enjoyed a bit of coverage in the media a few years ago. But Casserly says energy psychology is different. Energy psychologists, who combine Eastern approaches to body and spirit with Western approaches to therapy, can get a bead on a person’s emotional patterns as they relate to finance in as little as two hours, she says. Most psychologists will require multiple sessions and a whole lot of talk. Reuters recently wrote about Casserly and the energy practice:
“The sessions can get downright mystical. Some energy psychologists claim to connect with a higher consciousness to find a client’s ‘ancestral patterning’: destructive beliefs that have existed in a person’s clan for generations.
“It can also involve ‘holographic repatterning,’ or resonance repatterning.’ Developed by Chloe Wordsworth, who holds a masters’ degree in English from UCLA, it posits that our bodies are literally energy frequencies that go haywire when our needs go unmet. Therapists use ‘muscle checking’—a process of testing a person’s limbs for unusual resistance in response to a question of statement—to tell if your body-mind energy frequencies are ‘in tune’ or not.”
Casserly practices in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, where many a John Hughes film was set—think Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She says in that wealthy corner of the Midwest, everyone does it, but no one talks about it.
I grew up on the North Shore and posted on Facebook to find out what people who still live there think of her assessment. One high school friend had this to say: “I’m working at my dad’s financial planning office in Wilmette, and I can testify that we do not use her methods at our practice.” Another said this: “If so, they’ve come a long way since I was there. Although I do remember holding a seance at a sleepover once.”
(Read more from Features Editor, Kristen French on her blog, Due Diligence.)