What Should I DO?!

Our families, friends, and patients sometimes urgently ask us what they should do about some crisis in their lives. Should they continue working on a marriage that has become cold, hostile, and dispiriting? Should they leave? Should they carry to term a fetus with a high probability of being born with Down Syndrome? Should they enroll in a high-stakes, experimental cancer treatment program, or opt for conventional care?

Many of us are reluctant to dispense advice in such cases. We intuit these are deeply personal decisions, sacred ground on which we’d prefer not tread. Perhaps we also intuit that “should statements” don’t motivate our better choices or behaviors. Instead, they tend to pressurize the decision-making process, increasing stress and fear. I might go so far as to say a should statement has NEVER motivated ANY choice or behavior. At the end of the day, we do things because we want to. Not because we should.

What to do in such situations? Instead of giving advice or refusing to give it, this short video demonstrates another way forward. My colleague Joel recently inspired this method. It can help folks leave the thought laboratory in their heads – the realm of should statements – and reconnect with their heart’s desire. I call it “Joel’s Method.”

About Daniel Mintie

Daniel Mintie is a cogntive behavioral therapist with 28 years' experience treating PTSD. He teaches CBT at universities and training centers worldwide.

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