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William Glasser

Reality Therapy
Dr. Sheila K. Grant

Chapter 11

• “. . . it is what you choose to do in a relationship, not what others choose to do, that is the heart of reality therapy.”

Biography of William Glasser
• Born 1925 & educated at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio). • Initial training in chemical engineering, then master’s in clinical psychology • AttendedUCLA medical school & became a board certified psychiatrist in 1961

Biography of William Glasser
• Glasser's path a continuing progression from private practice to lecturing & writing, ultimately culminating in publication of 20+ books • After writing counseling book, Reality Therapy (1965), published his first book on education, Schools without Failure (1969), greatly expanded understandingof motivation & behavior with Choice Theory (1998), & finally added, Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health (2003), to help people improve their mental health and happiness

Philosophy of William Glasser
• People should not be labeled with mental illness unless they have a true brain disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, head trauma & brain infections (they shouldall be treated by neurologists) • Otherwise, categories of DSM-IV-TR are not mental disorders or illness • Psychologists & psychiatrists should only use DSM categories to satisfy requirements of insurance companies to receive payments

Philosophy of William Glasser
• People choose to be depressing, anxious, panicky, angering, behaving in a way that others say they have a psychosis, etc. inorder to avoid other more painful experiences or to reach out for help • They are coping in best way they know how for given situation, which is usually caused either by relationship problem or a lack of a relationship at all


Philosophy of William Glasser
• The brain reacts to actions & thinking processes of individual, rather than individual reacting as result of an “imbalance in brainchemistry” as is popularly thought • As a result, people do not need psychotropic or “brain” drugs such as Prozac • Rather, they need psychotherapy to help them with their relationships • Society should be in a more preventive mode rather than a reactive mode for psychological behaviors, just as communities are for medical illness

Choice Theory: Need for a new Psychology
• Past 100 years,technology has progressed drastically, but human progress has been at a standstill
– Still wars, divorces, suicides, murder, poor productivity in schools & workplace & unhappy people

• Two groups of people of unhappy people:
– Those who try to find their way back to pleasurable relationships w/happy people – Those who have given up on relationships & try to feel good by other means (drugs, alcohol,violence, sex, abusing

food, etc.) • Once this group can find meaningful relationships through AA or other professional or nonprofessional counselors & teachers, they too can find happiness again

Choice Theory: Need for a new Psychology
• Glasser believes problem is external mindset of our society
– “You must do what I want or be the way I want you to be!”
– – – – – – – – – – – –

ChoiceTheory: Need for a new Psychology
• Need to change our “7 Deadly Habits of External Control”
Criticizing Blaming Complaining Nagging Threatening Punishing Bribing or rewarding to control Respecting Supporting Encouraging Listening Accepting Trusting Negotiating differences to a Win/Win situation

• Rather than letting us both decide what is best for us in our relationship & then work togetherto make it happen • Glasser feels that society should move more towards internal locus of control

• To the “7 Caring Habits of Choice Theory)”

Choice Theory: Need for a new Psychology
• Difficult to retrain our thinking & communication because we are so engrained in the external control system • Three Beliefs of External Control Psychology:
– 1) My behavior is caused by something that...
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