Human beings have a very precious gift: the ability to establish long-term estimates about what will happen, or what could happen, given certain circumstances.
We can make predictions based on our imaginative capacity, in which we combine information about the past and the present to make projections about the future. And that, of course, is a good part of what has allowed us to be a species with such an ability to adapt to various environments around the planet, as well as to establish very complex societies based on trust and consensus.
Now, with this ability comes a series of responsibilities that often put us under a lot of pressure. We are faced with the need to make important decisions that will determine what our lives will be like months or even years from now.
In other words, because our minds reach into the future even if we don’t do it on purpose, we have to deal with the emotional implications of deciding in the face of every major dilemma we face. And sometimes these decisions are so important that we feel emotionally overwhelmed. Luckily, from psychology strategies have been developed to adequately deal with this kind of complicated experience.
This is how psychologists give support in making important decisions
Many people go to the psychologist’s office without taking for granted that they have developed psychopathology, simply to “clear their minds” in the face of an important dilemma, or several of them. Relatively common examples are: doubting whether to leave your job or not, deciding whether to end a relationship or continue giving it opportunities, reaching collusion on whether it is better to stay with the family or move to another country or another city, etc.
Faced with this type of dilemma, although psychologists do not advise about which option to choose (that is not our job, and the decision must be made entirely by the person), we do provide resources to face the decision most constructively and psychologically. healthy, without giving in to unfounded fears and without letting “I’ll decide at another time” postpone the issue indefinitely.
So… Through what processes does the psychologist help those who must make an important decision? Let’s see it.
1. Provides support in the process of self-knowledge
In the first stage of the process, the person must be fully aware of their values, ideas, and ethical foundations on which their way of facing life is based. In this way, his decision will fit with what the person considers to be good, what defines good behavior, with which he feels comfortable.
To do this, the person is trained in certain introspection techniques that help analyze and order their ideas, and the beliefs from which they interpret reality.
2. Helps detect strengths and weaknesses
A somewhat more technical part of self-awareness is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow discovering the risks and opportunities involved in the different options between which the person must choose.
3. Train in anxiety management techniques
Knowing how to make important decisions does not mean completely blocking the discomfort generated by anxiety and stress. We must assume that we will experience some discomfort for the simple fact of facing a high degree of uncertainty. For this reason, in psychotherapy, training is provided in the use of anxiety management techniques, to prevent it from paralyzing the person.
4. Teach time management techniques to move forward
It is important to define specific goals in the process of making a final decision. Collect information, check the status of our skills that we would need to use if we choose one of the options, etc. To do this, psychologists teach ways to segment behavior patterns with clear starting and ending time references.
5. Helps detect self-sabotaging thoughts
Finally, in this type of psychotherapeutic support, people are also helped to identify and anticipate the appearance of self-sabotage trap thoughts, which are those that emerge in our consciousness unexpectedly and serve as an excuse to fall into what is easy in the short term. term (which is usually detrimental in the medium and long term). Normally, these thoughts drag us back into our comfort zone and wear down our self-esteem so that we don’t dare to take some risks and show ourselves what we are capable of.