Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a proven system for helping people get rid of unwanted behaviours and habits, and it’s only going to get more sophisticated. Cognitive science is a field that studies how human brains think and process new information. In recent years, cognitive science has been able to tell us a lot about how humans make decisions and what skills they use—or should use—to make the best choices. This area of study is called “decision design” and focuses on figuring out how to help people make the best choices and avoid unnecessary risks. Good decision-making sets up the foundation for a long and successful life.
Tomorrow’s cognitive behavioural therapists (CBTs) will use the latest in decision design to help clients figure out how they usually make choices, and why their choices sometimes go off the rails. For example, they might work with clients to discover the reasons that they give themselves to justify cheating on their diets. Once they have uncovered what decision-making strategies are effective and those that aren’t for their clients, CBTs help clients come up with ways of getting around their own bad mental habits. CBTs may expand from individual counselling to work as therapists in organizations, applying decision design principles to help companies and departments function better.
A degree in cognitive science or psychology is required for this career. Experience with decision support programs is definitely an asset for those considering organizational decision design. Because CBTs are working with people every day, excellent communication skills and a sensitivity for how to help others make difficult decisions will be invaluable.