Sometimes clients turn to therapy for help in making a difficult decision. Sometimes they go in hoping to come out with a yes/no answer. More often, the result is having to gather more information and ask and answer more questions. While a pro/con template can be helpful at some point in the process, good decision making takes into account more than benefits and costs.
After the particulars of a situation requiring a decision are mapped out, the question most helpful may be, “What is an authentic action for me to take?” Knowing who we are and what we stand for and what we want to stand for is not a quick, shallow process. Therapy’s work is to assist in formulating the answer to these questions. The decision will flow from a clear understanding of how we are to act based on our understanding of our authentic self. Our values and motivations, emotions, experience, social mores, and beliefs are all shapers of that self. Whatever direction the decision takes, our self respect will depend on it.
Sometimes there is little time to make a decision. Those trained in first response rely on their training to be the default in an emergency. If we are current in our knowing and living by our authentic values, we are more likely to make an informed decision, even when we do not have the luxury to think long and hard about it. Therapy is a tool that brings these things to our awareness.