As an experienced therapist, I have noticed how vital independent decision making is to self-esteem, self-development and successfully achieving life goals. For those first attending therapy, decision making may not be foremost on their mind. The process of making our own decisions allows for a broader view of ourselves and our capacity to take charge of our lives. By highlighting its importance and supporting a person towards making their own choices, self-belief and confidence implicitly grows. With this growth, there is movement and a person can suddenly find themselves ‘moving on’.
In many ways, seeing what decisions have to be made is a way of acknowledging and accepting our reality. Setting out our needs and learning how they can be met through informed and achievable decision making is part of this process. The therapist facilitates this task by simply offering reflection for the client. I regularly witness the transformation in a client when a greater sense of their decisions has been developed. A new sense of resilience takes hold. Resolute and strong, what were previously perceived as problems, no longer feature so negatively. Be it depression, anxiety or stress related issues, a sense of freedom and autonomy now prevails. Making your own decisions allows for an unconscious process to simultaneously take place which in turn allows depression and anxiety to dissipate.
Furthermore, the assurance we gain through being strong in our choices can actually help our relationships. By valuing our individual needs, we can decide what relationships are working for us and what relationships need work. The broader benefits of this awareness is felt by our partners, friends and family. Fully accepting the need to make our own choices and asserting ourselves in the face of external control evokes a clearer sense of the self. In essence, when we control our own behaviours and choices, it leads to positive mental health and subsequently more happiness.
In conclusion, by encouraging a client to make their own choices, the presenting riddle can be solved. By this I mean the labels of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem/confidence become less defining and instead represent a non-active position in decision making. By coming to this new understanding, the therapist witnesses a person no longer burdened or overwhelmed by their problems. The riddle can quickly become a broad base of achievements in the client’s life. Built on these achievements is a new sense of personal happiness and fulfilment.