The effects of the therapist's assuming control of the patient's finances through representative payeeship is discussed. The authors use case examples from an urban outpatient community mental health center to illustrate administrative issues, ethical conflicts, and trans ference and countertransference manifestations of payeeship. They favor an approach whereby the institution is formally the payee and a clinician is designated to manage a patient's account. For most patients for whom a clinician assumed payeeship, compliance with treatment increased, the number and length of hospitalizations decreased, and housing arrangements improved. Although designating the therapist as payee has a significant impact on the therapeutic relationship, in most cases the patient is so impaired that the benefits outweigh the liabilities.