One of the challenges people who are passionate about Dr. Glasser’s work find is the push back they get when they say things like “It works for everyone.”

Why is it true that Choice Theory© and its varied applications does work for everyone?

Choice Theory© is a framework. An explanation of how and why people make the choices they make at the time they make them.

Reality Therapy© is a process. A problem solving process that involves the person who has the problem.

What is important to understand is There Is No Content in what Dr. Glasser developed or taught. And that is why learning these concepts empower us to create lives that are meaningful to us.

Within The William Glasser International member organizations, there are instructors who consider themselves to be ‘purists’. They do not add on or subtract from the Framework or the Process. They keep these ideas current through the examples they use.

There are other instructors who add bits and pieces of their own that they believe enhance Dr. Glasser’s concepts. They clearly state to participants in their trainings what their ideas are and why they see them as explaining an aspect of Dr. Glasser’s ideas.

Here’s an example of how I grew in my understanding of these concepts.

Early in my training working with youth in state custody, it often seemed to me that they made choices based on “a little red world”. In other words, they made choices to avoid a negative. When I talked to Dr. Glasser about that, he said that wasn’t his perception. After some discussion, he said that if I wanted to teach that I could but not attribute it to him. In reality, my concept of “a little red world” shifted as my understanding of the power of The Quality World and our Behavior System grew.

I came to understand that even when it looks like a person is choosing a negative behavior, in that moment, to them, it isn’t.

All Behavior is Purposeful and is our best attempt in that moment given who we are (past experiences, current situation, etc.) to get   something we want.

In talking to these young people, I often found them telling me about their life experiences and what they were wanting to achieve. More than one of the young girls who took money for sex explained to me that in those situations they saw themselves as being in control. They were the ones deciding who they had sex with. In their families, they were raped or groomed by older adult males and
because they were young, they had no power, no choice.

That’s a fairly dramatic example.

Here’s a much less and perhaps more familiar scenario.

Many people decide to make changes in diet, exercise or another lifestyle option at the beginning of the year. Those plans are often well-thought out, detailed and  very doable.

Why then do many of them fail?

Because, as stated above, when they make a different choice than what is in their plan, it is the best they can do in that moment. Something else is going on in their lives that impacts their new decision or even supersedes it.

Do you refuse an invitation to have dinner with your best friend?

Do you refuse to spend time with co-workers at break and lunch time?

And if you say “yes” is that an absolute? What if your best friend is having a tough time? Your co-workers are beginning to think you are standoffish?

Are you adept at handling the questions and teasing (or not really teasing) when you stand firm in not sharing that dessert or having a glass of wine with the meal?

Knowing about Choice Theory© gives us is the framework to make successful choices.

And that is Empowerment.

Learning about our Quality World and its foundation The Basic Needs, provides us with a problem solving process so we can figure out why we get stuck and where things are out of balance. And that is Empowerment.

If you are like me you may, at times, wonder why you are still making decisions you know aren’t good for you. Using myself as an example I’ll confess that I Love Ice Cream. And I grew up in a family that used food as a reward. What better reward for accomplishing a goal than a milkshake, two scoops of ice cream with chocolate sauce (not hot fudge), nuts (prefer peanuts here) and whipped cream? Not sure I can think of one!

However I have developed a lactose sensitivity and need to watch how much dairy I consume. I  know that treating myself to ice cream is not in my overall, long term interests. I also still indulge.

Haven’t I told myself I wouldn’t do that? Of course I have and I often hold the line. And then there are those times I don’t.

Because I know the framework of Choice Theory©, I can put my thinking behavior to work. What Quality World picture is having ice cream now meeting? Which of the Basic Needs is being met by that mixture of vanilla and chocolate with crunchy nuts and fluffy whipped cream?

If I stay focused on the image of me slowly savoring the smooth, creamy, luscious spoonful, I’ll order that ice cream delight.

However, if I focus on another image, that of me feeling and being healthy, the ice cream delight isn’t as powerful and I can walk away.

And that is Empowerment.

It isn’t always easy to walk away from a powerful Quality World picture and its attendant behavior, but it can be done if we find an equal and opposite Quality World picture/behavior.

Back to the point of Choice Theory© being “The Answer”.

We put the content into our Basic Needs/Quality World picture. We decide whether they are being met in our current situation. We decide whether we need to try something different to bring forth that match.

That is why the concepts of Choice Theory© and Reality Therapy© that Dr. Glasser created work across all religions, cultures, countries, belief systems, etc.

That is why someone who is knowledgeable and competent in using these concepts can talk to people who are on opposite sides of any issue successfully. A person certified in Choice Theory© and Reality Therapy©, who is skilled, can apply this information in other areas such as Leadership,
Supervision, Pastoral Counseling, General Education, Classroom Teaching/Management, Law Enforcement, Corrections and Addictions.
They can be successful  talking to people who are in a variety of situation such as Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Foster Care.

Before I close, I invite you to check out The William Glasser International Conference hosted by The Glasser Institute for Choice Theory – US being held in Chicago, Illinois. Check out the rich program with a variety of workshops. And since cost can matter, there are one and two day options as well as the full conference package. I know you’ll not only learn something of value and, if this post resonates, you’ll meet people with whom you share a similar view of the world.

We’d love to have you join us on any 3rd Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern and learn more about how
Choice Theory© and Reality Therapy© support you in changing your life. 

Zoom Meeting:

ID: 868 4605 5313
Passcode: 662804

Judith attended her first Basic Training in August 1978. She was certified in Reality Therapy© in August 1979 and became an Intensive Week Trainer and Practicum Supervisor in 1981. In 1991, Judith was approved as Senior Faculty by Dr. William Glasser. She has taught all phases of the Certification Program and presented workshops at Conferences in the United States and Internationally. Currently Judith is the Northwest Region’s representative on the GIFCT-US Board as well as president of the NW Region.