Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Balancing Intuition and Reason: Tuning in to Indecision

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Balancing Intuition and Reason: Tuning in to Indecision

Article excerpt

Although much attention has been given to the importance of choice and decision making in the rehabilitation counseling literature, there is a gap in the area of identification of the decision making style of consumers in the counseling relationship. This analysis is critical for clinical use and encouraging personal growth. One of the most important human skills is our ability to use judgment and make choices, in other words, to make decisions. Both at personal and interpersonal levels, decisionmaking skill strongly affects quality of life. For this reason, collaborative decision making has been addressed within literature related to disability and rehabilitation counseling, which promotes empowerment, advocacy, quality of life and a revised perspective of the rehabilitation professional's role in the counselor and client relationship (e.g., Bolton & Brookings, 1996; Donnell, Lustig, & Strauser, 2004; Koseiulek, 1999, 2004; Livneh, 2005; Roessler & Livneh, 1999; Smart, 2001; Schriner, 1995; Scotch & Schriner, 1997).

The rehabilitation literature encourages assessment of problem solving skills as part of the vocational planning process for those individuals who are felt to be experiencing difficulties in making choices (Syzmanski & Parker, 1996, Rubin & Roessler, 2001, Zunker, 2002). To promote effective decision making in the counseling process, rehabilitation professionals may benefit from understanding the basics of the neuro-cognitive mechanics of decision making. The focus of this paper is on the interrelationship between cognitive psychology decision making theories and their application to rehabilitation process.

Cognitive psychology's classical decision making theories offer empirical support for individual decision making strategies. Related processes include rationalization, maximization, decision avoidance, and omission. It had been demonstrated that these and other cognitive processes, used alone or in tandem, can advance or contribute to circumvention in decision making. Theoretically, these strategies suggest considerable intelligence and economy rather than failure of a decider to act in an intelligent way (Hartung & Bluestein, 2002). It can therefore be argued that a fair perspective must be given to any individual's decision making processes. Rehabilitation counselors must ask the appropriate questions of their clientele to determine how individuals go about making decisions. Once a decision making style has been identified, the counselor can then present information and frame choices in a complementary rather than conflicting manner.

Decision Making in Rehabilitation Literature

Decisions Empower Consumers

If a person is to experience personal satisfaction, quality of life and empowerment, they must have the ability to make choices and decisions regarding his or her own life (Kosciulek, 1999). Rehabilitation professionals are prepared to provide an individual with disability assistance in achieving their goals. As described by Banja (1990), rehabilitation is a holistic and integrated program of medical, physical, psychological and vocational interventions that empower a person with a disability to achieve a personally fulfilling, socially meaningful and functionally effective interaction with the world. Rehabilitation counselors believe that there are multiple ways for individuals with disabilities to move from one point to another in order to reach their goals. Rehabilitation counselors also know the importance and the difficulty of plotting this course in time.

Decisions have been described as changing an ongoing state or process into a new state or process, in other words as crossing points in time (Malle, 2001). At points of decisions, the automatic flow of past into future is interrupted and the individual takes control. Therefore every decision which a person makes creates a new future and a set of virtually infinite consequences. …

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