Example Of Self Control Essay

Kelly has been active in employment for a while now. She has been able to balance work and marriage successfully up to the point where she found it necessary to find therapeutic support. Recently, Kelly has been suffering from regular insomnia (deprivation of sleep) and cases of depression. She has developed a high temperament that leads to a domestic misunderstanding with her husband George. Kelly has concern over her growing impatience as she is easily irritated, an issue which she acknowledges has surfaced recently. Therefore, her behavior may be the main reason for her quarrels with George. These symptoms indicate an acute depression fueled by a psychological issue Kelly is currently battling. To investigate the main course of the sudden behavior change, the therapist was concerned to know about her work life as well. Kelly narrated a possible situation in which her problems could be emanating from.

Kelly has a challenging experience at her workplace since Don, her current supervisor, started pressuring her. Don has a bad reputation in the company as regards how he handles his official duties. He has a history of unethical practices when it comes to dealing with customers and employees. Furthermore, Don likes to do things his way, even when it contradicts the company policy. The main problem started when Don started harassing Kelly as he demanded for her ‘loyalty’. For Kelly, this means not only breaking personal ethical codes, but also those that the company holds. Kelly has been forced to act in a dishonest, unfair, and biased way in favor of Don’s interests. She feels obligated to put up with his bad conduct since she fears that Don could end her career. On the contrary, her principles still value honesty at the workplace. This contradiction is probably the root cause of her uneasy behavior lately. When Kelly visited the therapist, she showed a promising commitment to change her behavior and the need to retain her job. The results of her therapy are positive, as she learns how to adopt good communication approaches to be simultaneously loyal to Don without being dishonest to her colleagues. She even experiences better sleep patterns and gets irritated less often. As a result, her arguments with George have greatly reduced.

This case study requires a psychological approach if positive progress for the client is to be targeted. The concept of capacity for change coincides with the client’s current situation and could be useful in striking a balance between work pressure and personal belief. This psychological concept is also referred to as willpower. It explores the ability of a person to develop self-emotional decisions based on a set of individual beliefs. The willpower concept guides a client through self-control when dealing with situations that pose an emotional dilemma. For this case, Kelly is already aware of her intrinsic ethical principles. Therefore, the concept could help her cope with workplace pressure, and at the same time ethically take charge of her responsibilities. Developing self-control could also be instrumental in dealing with her husband, through proper communication. The willpower concept conditions the client to resist temptations, hold personal beliefs under different environments, and find confidence in making ethical decisions (Bernecker & Job, 2017).

Research Support

Research Summary

A research article titled, “Whether I Like It or Not, It’s important” by Clayton R. Critcher and Melissa J. Ferguson, investigated the implicit relationship between means and the importance of a task, and how successful self-regulation can be derived from the balance of the two. According to the research, persistence and success are majorly determined by the means and importance regardless of whether the person enjoys the task. The means was a major factor in consideration because it translated to the end state after a subject undergoes a self-regulation scenario. That means that people will judge how they will undertake certain decisions because they will afterwards feel responsible for how they feel after achieving or failing to meet a goal. Therefore, the means predict the effectiveness of self-regulation if one considers the degree to which the end-state will be affected by current decisions. The research separates the importance of a task from an emotional state that must be put into consideration in pursuing a certain path. The emotional state is what the researcher described as the end state.

The research was done on a group of university undergraduates. The researchers wanted the subjects to identify target words that would replicate their understanding of the means and end-goal concept. It was to be evaluated on a scale that had means at one side and the end goal on the other. As a motivating factor, a higher GPA in the task would guarantee a subject’s reinvolvement in other exercises. Speed and accuracy would be measured in the final result. In general, the method was to identify whether the importance of school work could effectively predict a learner’s GPA. Students would regard the chosen means to lead to a more valuable end state that showed a higher level of self-regulatory behavior. On the other hand, the perceived importance of the task determined the persistence in which the subjects indulge in self-regulatory behavior (Critcher & Ferguson, 2016).

Another article that goes by the title, “The multiple pathways by which self-control predicts behavior” correlates self-control to several different behaviors. The research compiled by Martin S. Hagger showcases four pathways in which self-control determines behavior. Good self-control is attained when an individual can regulate certain behaviors and resist temptations make them engage in undesirable behavior. The researcher identified good self-control as a sure way to achieve desirable outcomes. This research aims to test the hypothesis of whether good self-control leads to positive outcomes and poor self-control is associated with negative outcomes. Hagger proposed a model of four pathway traits to self-control behavior. The four compartments to the model include; Trait-self-control, intention, implicit motives, and behavior. For the first pathway P1, the self-control trait is directly connected to behavior. P2 represents a pathway where the intention is an intermediary factor between self-control and behavior. Motives are effortful dispositions that exploit knowledge and influence behavior. In other words, this behavior is intentional. P3 is a pathway showing the indirect way in which implicit motives determine action. They are unconscious depositions requiring less deliberation. The last pathway, P4, represents the self-control resources directly responsible for the behavior and the expanse to which it occurs. These resources are; intentions and implicit motives (Hagger, 2013).

Research Interpretation

The above articles show that self-control and self-regulation can be represented under psychological models. Furthermore, they can be predicted and conditioned in psychotherapy to guide a client through an emotional dilemma. The model submitted by Clayton R. Critcher predicts the outcome of a person’s self-regulatory behavior from the desired means or course of action. This model overrides the importance of a decision and instead recommends the end state as a valuable factor. Therefore, by examining the research, individuals can be helped to manipulate how they respond to certain decisions (Critcher & Ferguson, 2016). On the other end, Martin S. Hagger introduces the concept of the four pathways to behavior. This model also can be translated to the four possible ways in which interventions can be used to shape behavior through self-control (Hagger, 2013). The two research articles prove the viability of a willpower-centered approach to Kelly’s therapy, as this can be applied to impact positive self-control and self-regulation.

Application of Capacity for Change to the Case Study

In Kelly’s case, the motive to continue working in the company while remaining faithful is clear. This will is the driving force for the success of the therapy since it requires the client’s commitment to work. She has to be helped in distinguishing the great role of personal choices in shaping her current behavior. For example, expressing herself more decently would deescalate the regular disagreement with her husband. Using clear communication in her workplace could also be instrumental in conveying her ethical standpoint. Kelly needs to learn self-regulation if she is to attain positive results from the therapy. In addition, she is to prioritize her personal beliefs over the importance of her duties. Observing self-control would lead to less stress and depression because before therapy, these were symptoms of a contradiction between her actions and intuition. The client must work on developing positive and deliberate behavior, which could guide her during times of dilemma. If she does all of that, she will achieve an emotional balance and in turn, help restore her normal sleep and improve her quality of life.

The Role Morality Concept

From the case study, Kelly is currently dishonest, unfair, and biased in the workplace. Her behavior is partially deliberate as the ethical implications of her actions are clear. However, the pressure from her supervisor, Don, forced her to adopt a peculiar behavior. The ethical concept of role morality perfectly fits this scenario. The therapist must emphasize the personal responsibility for ethical decisions. According to this concept, it is natural for people to hold ethical standards which contradict what the current environment dictates (Prentice, 2021). Kelly should take advantage of the ethical freedom in the workplace, and deny what she deems unfair and dishonest.

The role morality concept acknowledges the fact that an individual’s moral standards are separate or from the role they play in an organization. It differentiates freedom from duty explicitly. However, external pressure is always present and poses a threat to the personal moral standards any person holds. Applying this concept requires a person to accept the responsibility for his/her action and their respective consequences. Therefore, an individual should be guided by the ‘inside’ morality (Prentice, 2021).

Supportive Evidence

First of all, Kelly does not have to conform to Don’s interests. In other words, these are external pressures challenging her moral standards. The issues in conflict also seem to be outside her job description and requirement. If Kelly becomes loyal to Don, she not only risks her job, but also her moral freedom. Therefore, she should understand the role of morality ethical concept.


This case can apply the concept of intellectual standards. The concept applies the intellectual elements of accuracy, depth, relevance, precision, breadth and logic (Paul & Elder, 2013). Therefore, clarity needs to be a priority in Kelly’s case. This could be achieved by identifying the effect of actions driven by some particular decisions. For example, the client’s decision regarding being unfair is the root cause of depression. Quarreling with her husband could be a manifestation of her workplace troubles. The argument can be summed up by the logic of cause and effect. Critical thinking investigates the relevance of details exposed in the information given by the client. For instance, the fact that Kelly is growing impatient may not be relevant to the ultimate strategy for recovery.

Supportive Evidence

The depth of the ethical dilemma that Kelly is facing lies between her personal beliefs and the fear to confront her supervisor. To determine whether her actions are the main causes of psychological predispositions, one has to look at the breadth (extent) of the cause. Some of the information is irrelevant when it comes to therapeutical strategies. This may include Kelly’s impatience. Accuracy and precision are important in the overall therapy strategy. They will ensure that the strategy has a more targeted approach in tackling the issues.

Conclusively, every psychotherapy case is different from another. Therefore, it calls for professional scrutiny when the scientific approaches are being applied. For the above case study, psychological techniques are the most viable in treating the client. This is mainly because the issues at hand originate from her emotional dispositions, which can only be resolved by her active involvement in changing behavior.

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Bernecker, K., & Job, V. (2017). Implicit theories about willpower in resisting temptations and emotion control. Zeitschrift für Psychologie.

Critcher, C. R., & Ferguson, M. J. (2016). “Whether I like it or not, it’s important”: Implicit importance of means predicts self-regulatory persistence and success. Journal of personality and social psychology, 110(6), 818.

Hagger, M. S. (2013). The multiple pathways by which self-control predicts behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 849.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical Thinking: Intellectual Standards Essential to Reasoning Well within Every Domain of Human Thought, Part Two. Journal of developmental education, 37(1), 32-33.

Prentice, R. (2021). Role Morality. Ethics Unwrapped. Retrieved from https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/video/role-morality


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