Why I Practice Choice Theory

Dr. William Glasser, Choice Theory, Reality Therapy and me….

When I was learning about counseling theories in my graduate school counseling program I looked at popular theories and liked a few things about a few theories. But, as a counselor I wanted to have a framework for my clients to move forward and found Choice Theory,  a counseling theory developed by psychiatrist, Dr. William Glasser. The idea that we are all responsible for our choices and that we determine our own destinies drew me into that theory. Dr. Glasser emphasizes healthy relationships and internal control among some of his ideas which I appreciated. I did my first basic week of training in 1992 and have never looked back. Choice Theory offers my clients a way to determine their future and become autonomous. The 1998 book, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, by Dr. William Glasser, is the primary text for all that is taught in the William Glasser Institute.

Choice Theory states that:

• All we do is behave
• That almost all behavior is chosen, and
• That we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.

In practice, the most important need is love and belonging. Closeness and connected-ness with people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs.

The Seven Connecting Habits of Choice Theory replaces external control psychology thinking and the Seven Disconnecting Habits. External Control, the present psychology of almost all people in the world, is destructive to relationships. When used, it will destroy the ability of one person or both persons to find satisfaction in that relationship. It results in being disconnected to each other and unhappiness in the relationship. Being disconnected is the source of almost all human problems such as (what is called) mental illness, drug addiction, violence, crime, school failure, and spousal abuse, to mention a few.

Relationships and our Habits

The habits we use in our daily lives contain some of these described below. Sometimes we are our worst enemies and choose poorly, while other times we determine that by changing a few ‘habits’ we can move forward in our lives and be happy!

 

Seven Disconnecting Habits vs. Seven Connecting Habits
1. Criticizing                                      1. Supporting
2. Blaming                                         2. Encouraging
3. Complaining                                 3. Listening
4. Nagging                                          4. Accepting
5. Threatening                                   5. Trusting
6. Punishing                                       6. Respecting
7. Bribing, rewarding to control     7. Negotiating Differences

The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory
1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
2. All we can give another person is information.
3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
5. What happened in the past has everything to do with who we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our quality world.
7. All we do is behave.
8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: Acting (Doing), Thinking, Feeling, and Physiology.
9. All Behavior is chosen, but we have direct control over the Acting and Thinking components. We can control our Feeling and Physiology indirectly through how we choose to Act and Think.
10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

For more information: http://www.wglasser.com

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My name is Janet and I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of Kentucky and the state of Georgia.

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