I asked Dr. Andrew Menaker, trading psychologist, the following question:
You have a trader, a very good trader, who struggles to start December. He writes you an email saying this market is garbage and his taking an extended leave. What is your response to such a trader?
Dr. Menaker responded:
While it’s true that market conditions do change, it’s also true that our internal state changes, and that also has a big impact on our trading. Regarding the decision to take a break, what’s important for this trader to consider is how much of their frustration is due purely to market conditions and how much is due to changes in their own psychology. Often, it’s a combination of both, but it’s helpful to know how much.
Sometimes a personal reason can be enough of a justification for a break when there is an increase in personal life stressors outside of trading that compromise the traders ability to perform.
The decision to take a break can be well-founded, or it can be a form of denial or escape. The important thing is to understand the true underlying motivation is for the decision by parsing out what is really coming from the market versus what is coming from the trader.