Can a psychologist help you make life decisions?

Life is full of decisions. Some are small and insignificant in the scheme of things, like what to eat for breakfast. Others can seem overwhelming in their importance, like who to marry or what career to pursue. You’re more likely to be struggling with the latter than the former, and you wouldn’t be alone.

So, can a psychologist help you make life decisions? The short answer is: Yes and no.

What psychologists can and can’t help you with

Yes, psychologists can help you establish what you want in life.

No, a psychologist can’t and won’t directly instruct you to choose what they think is best for you.

Psychologists can help you come to a decision by helping you in various ways.

Exploration

Your psychologist will likely ask you a series of questions during your initial session. These questions are designed to help them gather as much information as possible around your situation.

In subsequent sessions, you can discuss more specific issues more deeply.

A psychologist will use your therapy time to help explore your life goals, determine any personal triggers and identify contributors to a particular problem and/or positive factors.

The exploration method is useful in a variety of contexts, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselling, grief and loss therapy and Vocational Counselling.

Through the exploration stage, your psychologist will start to develop an insight that will help them support you in your decision making.

At this point, you might start getting into the profound issues of decision making regarding specific issues.

“Should I get a high paying job I won’t enjoy or live with my parents to save money?”

A psychologist will use exploration to navigate the positive/negative outcomes of your choices, and help you realise if these outcomes are reversible or permanent. By going through this process, you’ll be able to make as well-informed decision as possible that’s in your best interest.

Perspective

Everyone, from time to time, feels like they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

When you’re going through such an experience, it can become difficult to have an optimistic outlook on a situation. It can be overwhelmingly out of reach to aim to view everything in a positive light.

A psychologist can act as a fresh pair of eyes on your situation and share, or offer, different perspectives so you can gain and benefit from some clarity. in some cases, a psychologist may gently challenge your negative and/or unhelpful thoughts. They may ask you how to re-frame the situation through exercises and ‘homework’. But don’t worry – it won’t be graded!

Vocational counselling, in particular, employs various reframing tools to help give you a new perspective you may not have considered before.

For example, it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “I want to study such-and-such but by the time I’m finished I’ll be 35!” When you look at it from a different perspective you’ll realise that you’re going to be 35 either way, whether or not you study. That’s for certain.

Goal

No one likes the daunting question: What are your goals in life?

For many people, this question brings about a lot of anxiety and/or stress. Especially when there are so many things happening in the background of your day-to-day life.

A psychologist can help you ease this anxiety by simplifying the big question into smaller, more digestible pieces.

For example, instead of asking yourself the big and unmanageable question of “what are your goals in life?” concentrate on the smaller and more easily tackled question: Where would you like to be by the end of the week/month/year?

Next, you can ask yourself what you need to help you get there and how much time a day, a week or a month do you need to spend to achieve this goal.

Goals, it’s important to know, do not always have to be focused on your career. Your goals can relate to your relationships, your health, your mental health, children or rehabilitation.

Since counselling is a person-centred service, you can choose to discuss with your psychologist as many or as few goals as you’d like.

Problem Solving Skills

There are few things that are guaranteed in life.

One of them, is that life WILL throw you curve balls.

At times, when we’re faced with the hurdles and obstacles of life, finding one’s way out can seem impossible. A psychologist can help you develop the necessary problem solving skills and build your confidence to tackle problems head on. They will help you build up resilience against simply admitting defeat.

We all tend to think in absolutes. It’s all or nothing…

“I will NEVER get there.” Or “This ALWAYS happens to me!”

Never and always are both definitive words. When you look at the situation using a different approach, you can see that there are solutions to the problem that you may not have been able to see before.

It can be as simple as working part-time, rather than full-time, when your work is overwhelming. Or it can be a more complex solution, like seeking out a new job altogether. Your psychologist can help guide you emotionally and help provide the support you need to get through harder times.

Can a psychologist help you make life decisions?

So, can a psychologist help you make life decisions?

Yes – they can help you develop the skills and gain the perspective required to make big, overwhelming and anxiety-inducing decisions.

No – they won’t make the decisions for you. But they will give you the tools and provide you with the psychological support you need to make the best decision possible for yourself.

Just some of the decisions that a psychologist can help you make include:

Career

  • Leaving a job
  • Starting a new career
  • Retirement

Relationships

  • Ending a relationship
  • Having an affair

Family

  • Parenting
  • Caring for elderly parents
  • Caring for other family members

Other life choices

  • Expressing gender
  • Identity issues
  • Sexual orientation
  • Choosing whether to have children
  • Undertaking IVF

Contact us today

If you would like to find out more information about how a psychologist can help you make life decisions or book in an appointment with a professional member of our team, make sure to contact us today on (08) 9344 1318.

– Shivani Vekaria

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