The Importance of Delayed Gratification

How do you to react to impulses? Do you give in immediately or do you resist the temptation and make a rational decision to satisfy that impulse at a time and place of your choosing? The issue of gratification is one of the most studied in psychology. Delayed gratification of your desires generally leads to greater rewards in the future compared to the instant gratification of your desires.

In psychology, it is called willpower or self-control and the ability to exercise willpower is very critical to the success of an individual. One of the central components of the willpower is delaying your gratification to a later date and time of your choosing. When we exercise willpower, we put off what we want now so that we are able to get something even better at a later time.

It is a situation where choose the long term reward over the immediate gratification of our desires. It can also be a challenging and risky challenge in our lives. This is because when you put off a reward to later date, you are also sacrificing something in you. But it is a very important component in the achievement of our goals, a fact that has been widely proven through empirical research methods. It does not only positively influence the achievement of your goals, it will also be critical to your long term success in your life.  One of the most popular psychological experiments that studied the effect of delayed gratification was the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

In this experiment, a researcher offered kids a treat and gave them two options. They could either have the treat immediately or wait a short while and get two treats. He then left the room and many of the kids ate their snacks immediately but some of them waited so as to get the reward of two snacks for the wait.

On studying the subjects, the researcher found that the kids who had waited had several advantages over those that had eaten their marshmallows immediately. For example, they performed better academically than those who ate their treats immediately.  They also had fewer behavioral problems and got higher SAT scores. Later on in the life, they had bigger achievements than those who had been unable to resist the urge to eat the treats immediately.

Why Waiting is Hard

Delayed gratification is always very difficult and only a few people are generally able to master it. One of the reasons why it is difficult to exercise willpower and wait is that the rewards of delayed gratification are not always guaranteed in real-life. Because of this uncertainty in life, many people find it difficult to postpone immediate gratification. A goal that will happen in the future seem so far away and many feel they might not live even long enough to reach it. They consider the “bird in hand” a better guarantee and low hanging fruit that they can easily pick without much uncertainty.

Delayed gratification is always difficult because we are often uncertain about the future. The future does not hold any guarantees and it might just not deliver on the wait. Some psychologists suggest that immediate gratification might not necessarily be an irrational surrender to the impulses but a rational decision that we make subconsciously on calculating the odds of the benefits of the delayed gratification which are always uncertain.

Increasing your ability to delay gratification

Given the empirically proven benefits of delaying your gratification, it is important to learn how best to master delayed gratification. Here are some important steps that you can undertake in order to train your eyes on the future rewards rather than your immediate needs:-

Give Clear Time-Frames:-If you are not sure about the expected time-frames of achieving the rewards for the delayed gratification, it is important to give yourself a set and well defined time-frame over which you expect to harvest the rewards. Do not leave things to the hands of fate.

Put realistic deadlines: It is not just necessary to have deadlines but the deadlines must also be realistic based on your abilities. A more realistic goal enables you to easily see the results of your efforts.

Delayed gratification is not easy but it is critical for success. It takes considerable effort in order to impose your willpower on things for you to achieve particular results. But the willpower is like a muscle. The more you train it for the delayed gratification, the more you will be able to deploy it almost effortlessly.

What You Can Do With Your Psychology Degree

In order to work in any psychology-related career, you must have a psychology degree. On the other hand, having a psychology degree does not restrict you to the psychology jobs. In fact, over 75% of those who graduate with the psychology degrees never proceed to the graduate degrees. Many will find jobs in some related fields in many types of careers that are unrelated to psychology.

When you are about to graduate with your psychology major, it is important to carefully plan your future and determine the areas where you would wish to work. Doing research on the will help you develop awareness on the various opportunities that are available for you out there. With patience and the right kind of groundwork, you are guaranteed to find opportunities that appropriately match your skills, training and education. Here are some of the top careers that people with training in psychology can undertake:-

Career as a Sales Representative

Some of the core skills that you acquire during an undergraduate degree in psychology are the interpersonal skills that are very crucial when you have to sell something to someone. You will be able to apply your psychology degree in various marketing as well as sales positions for various companies in diverse niches.

Some of the abilities that employers value the most are the capacity to speak and communicate well. Psychology equips you with the skills to understand human behavior and people in general and this will be quite beneficial when you are working in a senior sales position where you can devise a company’s sales strategies that will resonate well with customers.

Advertising

You can apply your psychology degree effectively as an advertising agent for companies or PR agencies. This is another important position that requires considerable understanding of human behavior as well as motivations. Persuasion is very much a psychology field and that is what advertising is all about. It is about positioning a product or brand in order to persuade as many people as possible to purchase it.

Some of the tasks where you can apply your psychology training when it comes to advertising include the researching of a target market, tailoring the advertising message for maximum efficacy, and many others. Before you plunge into the industry, it is important to gain the relevant experience through internships that will equip you with the skills to deliver effectively in these positions.

Career Counsellor

This is another important position where you will directly apply your psychological training in order to solve problems. As a career counselor, you will be in charge of helping people discover their potential. You can help people in selecting careers and also guide them through career development and transitions. If there are individuals who are returning to the workforce after a long absence, then you can assist them with the vocational rehabilitation so that they can be able to adapt relatively quickly into their new careers.

As a Parole or Probation Officer

The role of the probation or parole officer also requires some psychological training. Here you will be directly involved in working with people who have been convicted and your job will mainly involve the supervision and tracking of behaviors of the criminals and also make recommendations to courts during parole hearings.

Market Researcher

This is another important position that is related to sales and marketing and where you can apply your psychology training. There are various tasks that you will perform as a market researcher such as carrying out opinion polling, collecting data, carrying out interviews and interpreting polling data.

As a Child Care Worker

Work as a child psychologist is one of the most rewarding of jobs out there. You can become a child care specialist in a mental health setting where you can become instrumental in the mental development and wellbeing of kids.

Working in Social Services

There is plenty of work in the social services sector in the government or nonprofits that requires a background in psychological training. These can range from counseling services to helping individuals in various communities get access to psychological resources.

When you proceed to take a graduate degree, the range of opportunities that you can explore generally increases.

Common Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders can also be described as mental disorders. These are generally behavioral symptoms or psychological symptoms that will impact your life in one way or another. The person experiencing these mental disorders generally faces some kind of distress in their lives.

There are several kinds of psychological disorders that people generally grapple with. These can be broadly classified into several categories namely:-

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Trauma and stressor related disorders
  • Neurodevelopment disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Sleep-wake disorders
  • Addictive and substance related disorders

Anxiety disorders

Someone with an anxiety disorder will generally display an excessive or abnormal amount of fear. There are several types of anxiety disorders such as the phobias, the panic disorders, PTSD and social anxiety disorder amongst others.

Impulse disorders

These generally emanate from an inability to control certain impulses. These impulses eventually result in harm to the person. Some of the examples of the impulse disorders include kleptomania, conduct disorders, pyromania amongst many others.

Personality Disorders

These are mainly concerned with the person’s character traits and can only be diagnosed once the person has become a young adult in their 20s and 30s. People with personality disorders can lead very normal lives and may only need help when the personality disorder causes too much stress or due to social demands.  The personality disorders do not generally affect the person’s normal functioning in the daily lives. Some of the most common personality disorders include the following:-

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • The borderline personality disorder
  • The dependent personality disorder

Dissociative Personality Disorder

In these psychological disorders, there is an interruption in certain elements of a person’s consciousness including their memory and identity.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders generally involve an obsessive attitude towards one’s weight. The person will engage in disruptive eating patterns that eventually impact both their physical as well as the mental health. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, the Bulimia nervosa and the rumination disorder.

Mood Disorders

This is a general term that is used to describe a series of disorders which are characterized by mood swings or changes in mood. There are several kinds of mood disorders including the bipolar disorder, some main depressive disorders and the premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Neurocognitive disorder

These refer to those psychological disorders that affect our cognitive abilities such as our memory, our perception and our problem solving skills. There are several kinds of the neurocognitive disorders such as the Alzheimer’s disease and Delirium.

Developmental disorders

These are also referred to as the childhood disorders. These psychological disorders can be diagnosed early on in life during childhood or infancy and even during the adolescence. Some of the common developmental disorders include intellectual disability or mental retardation in the child, learning disabilities, autism as well as communication disorders. Another common developmental disorder is the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Sleep-wake disorders

These are disorders related to sleep such as insomnia.

Erich Fromm’s Five Character Orientations

The psychoanalyst Erich From developed a theory of personality which was anchored on two main primary needs: a need for freedom and a need for belonging. According to Fromm, people built certain personality traits over time in order to deal with their fears of isolation. From identified five main character orientations or personality styles four of which he deemed unproductive. Only one of these character traits was a productive orientation.

According to Fromm, the character of person emanates both from genetic inheritance as well as their own life’s experiences. While certain aspects of our characters are inherited, others will emanate from what we learn from our environments including our homes, schools and the society. While these character traits are influenced by two main factors, there is also interplay between these two main influences-the genetic and the environment.

According to Fromm, character is something that is really deep-cutting and which is very difficult to change. It is deeply entrenched in the person and almost an integral part of them. Fromm’s character orientations had both negative as well as positive attributes. But the first four character orientations were basically, according to Fromm, essentially unproductive. It was also possible for a person to exhibit more than one of these character traits. They were not finite in every individual. As a result, there are personalities who could possess a combination of Fromm’s character orientations.

These character orientations include the following:-

The Receptive Character type

This character orientation is one that is dependent on others and requires constant support from other people. They are both passive and needy. While they need a form of support from their networks, they generally do not reciprocate the support. They have low confidence in their abilities and have a hard time making decisions on their own. Fromm determined that the receptive character types most often grew up in households where someone who was controlling or had an overbearing personality.

The Exploitative Character type

These characters generally do whatever they have to in order to get what they want including cheating, lying, and manipulating people. To satisfy their psychological need, they generally seek out people with low self-esteem or even lie about loving others when they don’t. They use both force and deception to exploit others and fulfill their needs.

The Hoarding Character type

When it comes to the hoarding type, they cope with the insecurity in their lives by refusing to part with things. They generally collect lots of possessions and deeply care more about their possessions more than the people around them.

The Marketing Character Type

This kind of character orientation looks at every relationship in terms of what they will benefit from the relationship. For example, they are the ones likely to marry for money or for social status. They are generally anxious and have shallow personalities. They are also very opportunistic types and do not hold any deep values in life.

The Productive Character type

According to Fromm, this is the only beneficial character orientation. This type of person will take their negative feelings and then channel them into something positive and productive. They generally focus on building the relationships that are more meaningful with others. They can make good spouses, parents, managers or employees as they do not come with too much baggage. This character orientation is the only productive way of dealing with the life’s crisis according to Fromm.

Choosing a Child Psychologist in Sydney

Taking Your Kids to Psychologists

The need of psychologists is not limited to adults. Kids can benefit greatly from psychological therapy. Psychologists can help your child in variety of ways. They can help them develop their problem-solving skills as well as help them deal with stress and emotional and behavioral issues. Kids are carefree and stress is something experienced by adults is a myth. Many kids face emotional issues causing stress and anxiety. Your kid may feel stressed and pressured in school due to school work and exam, bullying, peer pressure, etc. or at home due to conflicts with family members, recent divorce of parents, illness in the family, etc.

Often, as a parent, you may have apprehensions or hesitations in taking your child to see a psychologist. You may have reservations that it will affect your child’s confidence or led them to think something is wrong with them. You may also think that dealing with issues on their own build character. It might be true to an extent but if your child is suffering from psychological problems, this can actually hurt them.

There is an entire field of psychology reserved for children called child psychology and psychologists who treat children are called child psychologists. Child psychologists work with children to diagnose problems and disorders, and provide therapy accordingly. In addition to treating emotional disturbance, they assess kids for disorder such as learning disabilities, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression. They also evaluate children for developmental delays, autism and other development related problems. Significant events such as death in the family or friends, divorce, abuse, illness in the family or any other trauma can cause stress in your kid resulting in behavioral problems, moodiness, lack of appetite or sleep, and academic or social malfunction. A child may become withdrawn, anxious or even teary. Psychologists can help your kid deal with these issues in a safe and comfortable environment. Depending on the issue, they use variety of techniques and settings to treat them.

Psychologists are experts in determining the core issues through behavior, actions and feeling. It is harder for kids to deal with feelings and problems. Psychologists help them understand their feelings, resolve problems and deal with stressful situations. The ultimate goal is to make your child feel better and do better in life. They mainly treat children by listening and talking with them.

Psychologists help kids deal with strong and difficult feelings. In addition to aforementioned issues, they can help kids in dealing with shyness and inability to communicate effectively, feeling of worry, stress or fear which keeps them from eating and sleeping properly or enjoying and having fun, sadness and grief and excessive anger. They listen to children and make them feel understood. They can teach them how to get along with others, how to cope with loss and deal with tough situations. They can coach them on improving their listening skills, concentration and productivity in school. They can help kids in improving their daily routine, eating habits, exercise and sleeping. They can even help kids quit a bad habit.

In short, child psychologists work with infants, toddlers, children and teens. Some psychologists specialize in a specific age group. But despite age group, all child psychologists focus on helping understand, avoid and cure developmental, cognitive, emotional and social problems that your child may be suffering from.

Tips for Choosing the Right Psychologist in Sydney

Tips for Choosing the Right Psychologist for You

Psychologists are trained to help you deal with emotional problems and issues. They assist you in dealing and overcoming negative feelings and problems that are beyond your control. They also treat more severe mental disorders and diseases, but in this article we will limit ourselves to emotional disturbances and problems. These issues may arise from number of situations, including but not limited to, marriage or relationship problems, dealing with loss of a loved one, performance difficulties in school, job, etc., loss of job, family issues, depression, stress or substance abuse. Although, you may want to deal with these problems on your own, and at times you successfully can, but there are other times when you may need professional help to keep these problems from interfering in your normal life. Psychologists can effectively help you deal with such situations and return you to your normal self. But choosing the right psychologists is very important in this process. The considerations for choosing an appropriate psychologist are:

Credentials

It is essential to verify the education and credentials of the psychologist you are looking to visit. They should have a post graduate degree in clinical psychology. After completing their doctoral degree, they should have undertaken a supervised clinical internship in a hospital and have at least one year of supervised experience prior to practicing independently. They should be licensed to practice. You can contact your state licensing board to check the standing of their license and that they don’t have any complaints filed against them. It can be helpful to acquire the number of years they have been practicing as experience contributes to the effectiveness.

Area of Expertise & Theoretical Orientation

Clinical psychology is a vast field and usually psychologists specialize in one or two branches. There are psychologists that mainly help families and children, marriage counselling, etc. Hence, it is essential to choose a psychologist which deals in the area you need help in as it ensures that he/she has the required experience to help you. It can be helpful to ask your doctor or people you trust for recommendations. Also, research their methodology. Different psychologists use different approaches and not every approach may work for you. It is recommended to talk to the psychologists about their method of therapy so see whether it works for you and your issues or not. For instances, for unconscious motivation of behavior, you might prefer a psychodynamic therapists or if you wish to change your thought pattern, you may want to go to cognitive therapists.

Rapport & Comfort Level

It is important to choose a psychologist with proper credentials and area of expertise but if you don’t develop a level of comfort or rapport with them, they are pointless. Not everyone can find comfort grounds with any psychologist. Also, it helps you discover whether you will be able to share personal and private information about your life with them comfortably. A good rapport is key to the success of the treatment. If you are not satisfied with the therapists you have chosen, change them without feeling guilty.

These tips are just the basic guidelines to assist you in finding the right psychologists, so that you can find the help that you need to be normal.