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De Rosis, L.E. (1985). Overcoming Indecisiveness: The Eight Stages of Effective Decision Making, Theodore Isaac Rubin MD New York: Harper & Row 1984 256 pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 45(2):191-192.
   

(1985). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 45(2):191-192

Book Reviews

Overcoming Indecisiveness: The Eight Stages of Effective Decision Making, Theodore Isaac Rubin MD New York: Harper & Row 1984 256 pp.

Review by:
Louis E. De Rosis, M.D.

Indecision has been humankind's lot ever since the inception of consciousness. In this volume, Dr. Rubin considers the ability to choose “an enormous privilege.” He makes the act of choice a right, an issue conferred. The question is, however: Who is conferring this privilege? Rubin feels that each choice made speaks to Hamlet's question: To be or not to be? For, implicit in wholehearted decision making is a deepening of one's sense of being, that is, “you own more of yourself.” Every moment, then, places on us the responsibility (response-ability) to determine the direction of our next move. It is the author's aim to assist the reader, who is caught in indecision (i.e., who cannot respond for and to himself), to do so. Thus, the issue the author tackles is not only whether to make this or that decision, but also to go into the underpinnings of the decision-making process itself.

Dr. Rubin posits eight stages in the process of decision making: (1) Observing all possibilities of the issue; (2) sustaining a flow of feelings and thoughts about each choice to be made; (3) applying those feelings to each option selected; (4) relating choices to established priorities; (5) coming to a conclusion by eliminating certain choices; (6) registering the decision; (7) investing the decision with committed feelings, thoughts, time, and energy; (8) translating the decision into optimistic action. Rubin's discussion of each of these points helps the reader to clarify his own thinking. For example, in buying a car, an economic set of priorities will obtain. In painting, aesthetic priorities will be considered.

The fifth stage describes something akin to Gestalt thinking in the tendency that exists to create wholes. It is the “aha” phenomenon, which represents a commitment that emerges as an ineffable, and thus a momentary, all encompassing declaration: This is it! Stage six is the converting of this ineffable condition into a fully graspable one. Now that it is “out in the open,” the choice maker is in the position to divest himself of other possible choices that still clamor for his attention.

The next stage is to be given over to investing the wanted position with a full sense of commitment. This is done by acting affirmatively against a discarded option and in favor of one committed choice.

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