Being involved in a lawsuit can be very stressful and anxiety provoking. The average person or small business owner involved in a lawsuit could feel overwhelmed by the process, the costs of litigation and what may happen if a dispute goes to a trial and the outcome doesn’t go their way. If your client, or the other party, is feeling anxious about the situation during negotiations or mediation, expect that it may be difficult for the person to make a decision.
Dealing With High Anxiety
People with high anxiety have more difficulty deciding how best to handle uncertainties. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Oxford performed a study on the topic and discovered that those prone to high anxiety have a more difficult time reading environmental cues that could help them avoid a bad outcome.
Their findings, reported in Science Daily, show that for those suffering anxiety problems there may be a malfunction the brain’s higher-order decision-making process that could potentially be targeted in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Those dealing with anxiety seem to have difficulty using information as to whether a situation is stable or not and deciding how to properly react. The challenge for someone with anxiety is to judge a situation in the context of what has happened in the past and responding appropriately.
High Anxiety and Decision Making
Study lead author Sonia Bishop, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley is quoted as saying, “An important skill in everyday decision-making is the ability to judge whether an unexpected bad outcome is a chance event or something likely to reoccur if the action that led to the outcome is repeated.”
If your client has never been involved in a legal action before, the person may feel he or she has no experience to rely upon when making a decision. That’s where a good, experienced attorney can step in, and guide a client into making a reasonable decision whether to settle, and if so, for what.
When dealing with an anxious client, especially one focusing on a minor issue, you have to understand that anxiety is very real, even though you may think the reason for the anxiety is illogical or trivial. You should honor that anxiety while offering advice on which path to take so the client can reach his or her objectives with the least amount of risk.