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Psychological Effects of Debt

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

CE Credit: 2 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Social Work CE | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE

Learning Level: Intermediate

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Psychological Effects of Debt is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that explores the reasons people go into debt and the psychological effects it causes.

This course starts by describing the factors that contribute to the normalization of debt in America, from unfair corporate practices to negative childhood experiences, education levels, and compensatory consumption. We then discuss early indicators of risk taking among young children and how the parent-child relationship is correlated with long term financial outcomes. If children do not learn self-control when they are young, they may be more susceptible to impulse spending or compulsive shopping. We study the four types of transformative expectations that materialistic people expect when making purchases.

We review several research studies that demonstrate the ways in which debt affects mental health, health behaviors, and physical health. We also describe how financial behaviors, responsibilities, and debt affect relationships with spouses, partners, and children. Finally, we examine the ways to combat debt and the psychological effects it causes. Included are a series of exercises to support clients to find their way out of debt, improve mental health, and regain a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.

Course #21-55 | 2022 | 36 pages | 15 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. Identify and describe four causes of debt
2. Specify two indicators that a person is more likely to take on financial risk
3. List the four types of transformative expectations that drive compensatory consumption
4. Explain six ways in which debt affects a person’s health and relationships
5. Explain the link between debt and unethical behavior
6. List three strategies to stop the cycle of debt


Professional Development Resources (PDR) has been approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5590. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. PDR is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Professional Development Resources is also approved as a provider of online (home study) continuing education by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#50-1635); the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135 - Note: New York counselors will receive 2 continuing education credits for completing this self-study course); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio counselors completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credits); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists (#193); and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in post-traumatic growth, optimal performance, and wellness. She is licensed to practice in California and Colorado. Claire earned her BS in Kinesiology and worked as a personal trainer for years before becoming a course developer for International Sports Science Association. Claire is always thinking about ways to improve physical fitness and nutrition as a modality for improving mental health. She also writes in her popular blog, Leveraging Adversity on Psychcentral.

Financial: Claire Nana receives author compensation from Professional Development Resources.
: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.

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