Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolution - Choice theory

Those of you who know me, know that I am forever reading. Over the last 6 months I've been reading a lot of William Glasser's work. Glasser is a psychiatrist who developed Choice Theory, an interesting concept that I have become more and more intrigued with, the more I read about it.

There are few things I don't necessary agree with in his first book, but what has been interesting in reading subsequent texts is the applications and implications it holds for use in so many situations.

Choice Theory teaches some interesting concepts like the idea of a person's 'Quality World', what that looks like to a person and how it impacts on their perception of their lives and how they live it. And a concept called "External control psychology', which is fascinating!

Glasser asserts that all we do is 'behave' and that we choose all our behaviours (with the exception of some physiological ones) - based on our aims to achieve 5 basic needs. He makes verbs out of actions, for instance, he would say that we are not 'depressed', rather we are 'choosing to depress'. We aren't angry, we are choosing to anger' etc.
His theories and ideas go hand in hand with other authors I've been reading lately - like Stephen Covey (Habits of Highly effective people). Like the premise that you can't change other's behaviour, but you can choose to change your response to their behaviour etc. This relates back to the ideas of circles (inner one of personal control, sphere of influence outside that, then things in the outer circle that you can't control).

He has a whole range of sensible, workable ideas regarding relationships and people's interactions. Like the advice to 'stop before you open your mouth, and ask yourself, 'Is what I'm about to say going to push this person away or bring them/us closer' - I'm paraphrasing but this is the gist of it.

In talking about people who are unhappy, he puts the majority of people's unhappiness down to them actually being unhappy/unsatisfied in their relationships (hence his strong focus on relationship building).

In another book 'Unhappy Teenagers - and a way for parents and teachers to reach them', (brilliant, brilliant book that I'd highly recommend to anyone who has teens or works with them) he says that the biggest influence on the choices a teenager will make is not the threat of grounding/punishment, but the strength of the relationship that youth has with the parent. THAT is what stays with the teen when he's out of sight/reach of the parent and so that is what needs to be nurtured.

I think Glasser's work is wonderful and I'm lucky enough to be going to a Choice Theory/Reality Theory course that it being held in Perth in Feb. Very excited! A colleague at work told me they are in 'a different place with their life' since doing this course.

My New Year's Resolution is to live by Choice Theory as much as possible, and try to integrate it into our family life as much as possible.

For those of you who find any of this interesting the Glasser Institute has a website. Just Google 'Choice Theory - Glasser' and you're bound to find it.

In ending - Glasser talks about 7 Deadly Habits (and there are behaviours you should replace them with...I'll let you visit his site for those!).

The 7 Deadly Habits are: Criticizing, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing, Bribing/reward control.

Sound like some habits you could ditch? Read 'Choice Theory' for how!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like we have some common interests! I am very into the choice theory and firmly believe that by making positive choices or placing positive perspectives on thoughts and environment we can change many reactions and situational outcomes.

Cwm Goch Chronicles said...

Hey wow, I didn't know you had an interest in this area!
I'll share my notes from the course when I've completed it with you Molly. :)