What Is Choice Theory?
Choice Theory, developed by Dr. William Glasser, is the explanation of human behavior based on internal motivation. As Dr. Glasser explains in the most recent of his widely read books, Choice Theory, all of our behavior is chosen as we continually attempt to meet one or more of the five basic needs that are part of our genetic structure.
Choice Theory posits that behavior is central to our existence and is driven by five genetically driven needs, similar to those of Abraham Maslow. They are: Survival; Love and Belonging; Power; Freedom; and Fun.
An understanding of these needs as well as the other major components of Choice Theory (the Basic Needs, the Quality World, the Perceived World, the Comparing Place, and the Total Behavior System) can help us build and maintain better relationships with the important people in our lives and lead happier, more satisfying lives.
Choice Theory has been successfully implemented, internationally, in schools, organizations and treatment programs. In the therapeutic setting, it aligns with a cognitive behavioral approach that many clients who are motivated to change find empowering.
The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory
- The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
- All we can give another person is information.
- All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
- The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
- What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
- We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
- All we do is behave.
- All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology
- All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
- All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.
Dr. William Glasser, an internationally recognized psychiatrist, is the creator of Reality Therapy and the theory that undergirds it, Choice Theory. This therapeutic approach is used world wide in schools, businesses, and the counseling and therapy environments. More information about this approach is available at http://wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach