Choice Theory

Choice Theory

Working with young people who are doing it tough, is always tough… And a stand out factor in conversation in this work, whether formal or not, is the extent to which a person believes they are in charge of their lives…or not. Over and over again, this pops up as a feature. Believing we have some control over life, is, it seems,  good for us. And we can learn to be helpless, but this really isn’t good for us. And this idea of being in control needs to be laid right next to the idea of  ‘Social Determinants of Heatlh’. Because we know that when people are oppressed and abused…guess what? They don’t flourish. 

These ideas are an important juggle for those of us who work in the helping professions.
William Glasser has been around for a while now and wrote ‘Choice Theory’ in 1998. And possibly he has something to say. Here are Glasser’s fundamentals.

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 what 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, thinking, feeling and physiology.
  9. 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.
  10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

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