Masterclass “Regret: A Cognitive Behavior Therapy Approach”
Although regret is a central element in depression, procrastination, indecision, self-criticism, worry, rumination, and avoidance, it has received little attention in the CBT literature. In contrast, regret has been a focus in decision theory and research indicating that when people make decisions they often anticipate the possibility of postdecision regret and, therefore, attempt to minimize this experience. Regret is not always a negative process. Insufficient regret processes result in impulsive behavior and failure to learn from past decisions. During manic episodes there is underutilization of anticipatory regret. We will view regret as a self-regulatory process where too much regret or too little regret may be problematic. Although people often believe that they will more likely regret taking new action, research indicates over time there is greater regret for actions not taken. Affective forecasting-that is, overprediction of emotion following events in the future-often contributes to anticipatory regret, with predictions leading to beliefs in greater impact of events than is warranted by the facts. In addition, some decision makers have idealized beliefs about decisions, rejecting ambivalence as an inevitable part of the tradeoffs underlying decision making under uncertainty. Specific decision styles are more likely to contribute to regret, including maximization, emotional perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, and overvaluation of “more” information rather than relevant information. In this presentation we will examine how regret is linked to hindsight bias, maximization rather than satisfaction strategies, intolerance of uncertainty, rejection of ambivalence, refusal to accept tradeoffs, excessive information demands, and ruminative processes. Specific techniques will be elaborated to balance regret with acceptance, present utility, and flexibility to enhance more pragmatic decision processes, reverse ruminative focus on the past, and replace self-criticism with adaptive self-correction.
This masterclass is designed to help you:
- Identify the role of anticipatory and retrospective regret in decision making and how this impacts procrastination, risk aversion, indecision, rumination, and self-criticism;
- Explain how to assist clients in accepting uncertainty and risk in order to make more pragmatic and effective decisions;
- Describe how to assist clients in reducing postdecision regret, self-criticism and rumination and accept tradeoffs in making decisions while enhancing satisfaction with imperfect outcomes.