The Candid Counselor

Helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and life's issues

Dr. Julia Becker


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Licensed Psychologist
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Serving the greater Waco, TX area, including Woodway, Hewitt, Lorena, Bellmead, Robinson, and China Spring.

Making Decisions…Should you “sleep on it”?

Posted by Dr. Becker Friday, August 26, 2011 2 comments

the-thinking-about-counseling-sulpture-blog When making a big decision the old advice is to “sleep on it” and make the decision the next day.  It turns out that this advice has some scientific merit to it.

 

Research shows that people experience “decision fatigue” after making multiple decisions during a single day.  Decision fatigue is similar to physical fatigue, except that most people are not aware of the mental fatigue they experience.   As the brain become fatigued, it looks for mental shortcuts.  One common shortcut is to act impulsively without considering the consequences of the decision.  Another common shortcut is to avoid making a decision at all.  The second shortcut can ease mental strain in the moment, but create more problems in the long run.

 

Think about how many small and large decisions you make during a typical day.  After a long day of working, taking care of children, or attending school, you have likely made many small decisions without even realizing it.  By the end of the day, you may be experiencing decision fatigue, and this is not the best time to make major decisions. 

 

Large decisions cause decision fatigue also.  Consider the process of buying a car.  After deciding on the make and model, there are so many other decisions to make.  Do you want to buy the extended warranty?  What kind of financing do you want? Do you want to trade in your old car, and what kind of deal can you negotiate?  The dealer may overwhelm you with decisions so that you experience decision fatigue.  The result is that you become more likely to impulsively agree to expensive upgrades on the car.

 

Tips to combat decision fatigue:

  • Think about when you are the most mentally alert, and plan to do your decision making and problem solving during this time. 
  • Let yourself have more than one day to make major decisions.  What seems like a good idea one day may look very different the next day.
  • Ask for input from friends and family.  Ask them what factors they would consider if the decision was theirs to make. 
  • Tune in to your own emotions.  If you feel eager to quickly make a decision, or if you feel a strong desire to avoid making the decision, you may be using a mental shortcut.  This can be a clue that you are experiencing decision fatigue, and you may need to take a break from decision making.
  • Decide what you want ahead of time.  When making major decisions such as buying a car, it helps to anticipate your choices and take your time to decide what you want before you go into the situation.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

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Inspiration: Making time for what’s important

Posted by Dr. Becker Wednesday, August 17, 2011 2 comments

busy_woman 

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
~Benjamin Franklin

Does it feel like you never have enough time?  Do you feel like the time you do have is being spent on unsatisfying tasks?  Many people are overscheduled and overstressed.  As a result, there is little energy for meaningful, satisfying activities at the end of a hard day or a difficult week.  Often people say they just don’t have time for these things.  Think about your own life.  Are there activities that have brought you joy and meaning in the past?  How can you make time for these activities in your life now?

 

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information


Did you know that in 2010 antidepressants were the second most widely prescribed class of medication in the United States? Their use continues to grow. It’s hard to miss all the television ads for antidepressants. The ad begins with a statement like “Are you taking medication but still suffering from depression?” The next part promises relief by taking the advertised antidepressant. There is no mention of receiving counseling if you are still depressed. Medication is often the first thing that patients and their physicians think of when dealing with depression or anxiety. People have mixed feelings about psychiatric medication. Some are afraid and unwilling to take it, while others just want to take a pill to quickly “fix” their depression so they do not have to deal with it.

So which group is right? It depends. A psychologist can evaluate and make recommendations about the best treatment for each individual. For some people, counseling is the best course of action. For others, a combination of counseling and medication is the best treatment. For a third group, medication alone may be the best option. The third group includes people who have already been through therapy and worked through the core issues that created their depression or anxiety. Many people in this group have a chemical imbalance and need to take a low dose of medication for maintenance.

Unfortunately, many people skip the counseling part and go straight for medication. The problem with this approach is that there is no magic pill that can fix all the emotions, thoughts, and life situations that lead to depression. When people develop depression or anxiety, a psychologist works to find out why. During counseling, psychologists work with people to overcome the deeper issues that created their emotional pain and fears. Many people do not need to take any psychiatric medication after they complete counseling.

If you are considering getting mental health treatment, talk to a psychologist first. Most psychologists complete a thorough 45-60 minute evaluation on each new person they see. After this evaluation is complete, your psychologist can make recommendations for treatment and answer any questions that you have.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.