In our daily life, we are constantly making decisions. What to do, eat, who to be with … It is true that we are influenced by a large number of people (the family, social, school and work environment is very important in our lives and can in part lead to our behavior) but, in the end, it is we who will or make the final decision to act or not. Triem.
From psychology this fact has been studied from different perspectives and has generated various theories. Among them, William Glasser’s theory of choice.
Glasser’s Choice Theory
William Glasser’s choice theory proposes that the human being is able to control himself. In fact, the control of his own conduct is only under our control. Our brain and mind allow behavioral control from within.
This theory comes from the cognitive paradigm, And proposes that although the outside world influences us, we are solely responsible for our own actions. The environment only provides us with inputs, which we interpret and to which we react in a certain way according to our choices. So, choice theory assumes that we are able to control our thoughts and actions, and even influence our emotions and physiology.
Glasser’s contribution, in turn, assumes that blaming others or haphazardly is a way to avoid our responsibility, To avoid accepting that we have decided to act or not to do it for ourselves.
Human beings must be able to interpret situations realistically, to take responsibility for their own behaviors and even for their emotions (because they are generated internally and it is possible to act to modify them) and be governed by both own and social needs, Being the pursuit of ethics a means of valuing oneself). Otherwise, problems such as mental disorders or adjustment problems may arise.
Why do we act? Basic needs
Glasser’s theory indicates that human beings have a number of needs that they must meet. More precisely, choice theory proposes the existence of five.
First, those of basic survival: eating and sleeping, both regulated by internal mechanisms. Another of the most important needs is membership, In which we need the emotional bond with our fellows, loved ones and close to our environment. The third need would be that of power or competition, through which we feel fulfilled to achieve our goals and strengthens our self-esteem and sense of competence.
Freedom and ability to choose it is, in addition to being a fundamental element of the theory of choice, another of the fundamental needs of the human being. The last one, although also very important, is the need to enjoy, to enjoy our actions.
These needs are not self-sufficient: we must take action to meet them. This leads us to be able to affirm that the ultimate cause which prompts us to act is endogenous: the will to give them satisfaction. And with that, we choose the behaviors we adopt and how we do it. And even how the events that bring us to them or take us away from them affect us: perception, cognition and emotion are internal elements over which we have a certain capacity for control.
The Seven Habits
William Gassler suggests that the existence of seven habits with destructive effects and that they hinder the development and well-being of those around us and even of ourselves. These habits aim to restrict freedom of choice or to escape responsibility for it. These habits are blame, threat, complaint, criticism, punishment, reprimand, and bribery.
On the other hand, he considers in the same way that there is another set of habits that encourage good development, A good relationship and respect for the right to choose and to take responsibility for one’s own actions. In this case, the habits that theory considers constructive are listening, trusting, encouraging, accepting, respecting, negotiating, and supporting others.
Applications of William Glasser’s theory
William Glasser’s choice theory has applications in different fields, Emphasizing among them clinical practice and training.
Mental problems in theory
Choice theory considers most problems they occur at a psychological level they originate from a deficient personal interactionIt is necessary to improve the bond between the individual and the environment and their fellow human beings to start causing a recovery.
As we have already said, we also have to work on the correct perception of reality and responsibility with our own actions and reactions to the environment. Reality therapy is used for this.
Another aspect to emphasize is that when it comes to dealing with a problem, it is necessary to focus on the present, which is the moment when the patient is able to act and make changes. The symptoms themselves are not that relevant because these are seen as an inappropriate way to deal with broken relationships. Thoughts and behaviors can be changed directly, while other aspects can be changed through them.
In order to help patients, the therapist works on aspects such as interacting with others, identifying and evaluating current behaviors that may be maladaptive, jointly planning more adaptive ways of acting and in self-improvement. ” committing to implement them without accepting an apology or imposing sanctions.
The theory of choice in education
Another area in which William Glasser’s choice theory can be applied is in education. In this area, it should be borne in mind that learning will follow the same patterns as behavior, Be something internal and not external.
Thus, the figure of the teacher is that of a guide (with a vision similar to that of constructivism), who helps students generate their own learning. Meaningful learning is stimulated and memorization is criticized. The student should be able to find the usefulness of what has been learned, Or you will end up forgetting it. Thus, the tasks must arouse interest, and respond to what the subject gradually acquires greater autonomy and a capacity for choice.
- Shock, JW (2014). Approach to choice theory. Scientia. Research Journal. 3 (1). Adventist University of Bolivia.
- Glasser, W. (2004). Introduction to the psychology of external control and choice theory. Choose, 2, 7-8.