Can you give examples of using Choice Theory in everyday life? : LUSENET : GLASSER Choice Theory & Reality Therapy : One Thread

It would be interesting to gather some examples of how people use CT in everyday life ... nothing too personal here but simple anecdotes.

-- Brian Lennon (, March 19, 2000


Sometimes I deliberately set out to do things which I don't "feel" like doing but which I want to have done: work on a project which hasn't become critical; clear the debris from the back yard; visit Aunt Euthanasia while she is still alive; hoover the stairs; that sort of thing. To me, the RT principle that what you feel and what you do can be out of synchronisation and that you don't have to wait to get your feelings "right" before you get on with something is one of its most valuable aspects.

-- Padraig O'Morain (, March 23, 2000.

I work as a Placement Officer, and in more recent times as an Occupational Guidance Counsellor with the FAS organisation. The National Employment Action Plan introduced by Government in September 1998 has meant that FAS Placement Staff more than ever before has to work with clients on a one to one basis to empower the client to take responsibility for their lives. Whereas my two years of learning Occupational Guidance and Counselling in Maynooth College has been extremely helpful, I am more convinced than ever that the teachings of Dr. Glasser in Reality Therapy/ Choice Theory are the ones I call on most frequently to assist my client make appropriate choices about employment and/or further education and training. It is with a sense of pride and joy in my knowledge of these theories that I pass on my experience,see my client progress out of their "stuck" place into a better place, where one or more of their basis needs are met through the intervention. The job is wonderful, the choice theory that I work to is a Godsend. God Bless Dr. Glasser.

-- Fionnuala Smyth (, May 17, 2000.

Cohoice Theory is the only choice mankind has if it claims to be tha master of its destiny but then it is so much easier not having to make the choice, or let some one do it for us or play the victim role or blame the circumstances or the other people. Making choices mean also facing the consequences. Here comes the rub. We want good results which come from 'good choices' and to make good choices means sticking your neck out. In production, we say if the proocess is good, the result will be good. It can be said about life if the choice is good, life will be good.

-- Dinesh Kumar (, August 20, 2001.

As I have some slow time, I thought I would put it to good use. Everyday use of Choice Theory. . . . I have a 9 year old son who plays basketball. He often asks me to shoot around with him and at times I do. I recall one time he came into the living room and said,"You probably don't feel like shooting around, do you." At the time, I was watching something on TV. The very fact that I cannot recall the subject matter or the program proves it was inconsequential. After he asked me, I thought,"If I don't play with him I will feel regret and disappointment. He may think I care more for the program than I do him." Hey, I played with him. Two games of "21" and I was back in the living room, kicking back and watching the "tube." My Total Behavior exactly as I wanted. TD

-- Ted Donato (, November 06, 2002.

Last Friday was one of my basketball days, during which other school employees and friends gather to play pick-up games in one of our intermediate school gyms. I greatly look forward to this time of comraderie and the opportunity to occassionally make "two points," to reaffirm my status as an athlete. I play primarily for the exercise and fun; competition is on the back burner. There were times when I felt I'd won even though the score indicated w'ed "lost," when I made two points, played good defense, made a good pass, or blocked a shot. I value sportsmanship and the times I do coach, I stress treating your opponent respectfully.

However, at the end of the basketball get together, I was frustrating greatly. I left self-disappointing and regretting, because I was not getting what I wanted. The real kicker was that I was the reason I wasn't getting what I wanted. I wanted to model good sportsmanship and treat my basketball cohorts respectfully and in a good way. My scales were out of balance, because, during one highly emotional moment, I chose unsportsmanlike behavior toward one our group members. We somehow lost track of the score and I found myself arguing with him. Nothing overtly aggressive, we weren't rolling around the gym floor or belly-bumping, but we were both adamant about our perception of the score. In short, I conceded and said something similar to,"Fine! Let's play!" and assumed my most impenetrable defensive posture. (?) I then checked the ball to him and rather than handing it or tossing it, I sorta threw it. It was hard for him to catch, as it bounced off his chest and fell into his hands. Well, as they were up 9 to 8, they won after scoring on that possession.

It was the last game, I walked out of the gym to go shower up. As I left, my Thinking component resounded with, "Go back and apologize. You were wrong. That behavior doesn't fit you. You are a better man than than." I didn't go back. As the degree to which one's needs aren't met is relative to his/her level of frustration, I felt badly all the way home. I even mentioned it to my wife. Only after I committed myself to the plan to make it right by way of apology our next game day (Tuesday, today), did I begin to feel better.

My perceived world didn't match with my Quality World. I wasn't getting what I wanted, which was sportsmanlike behavior on my part. Understand the fact that I think well of this individual is irrelevant; it has more to do with me that someone else. Hey, gotta go practice my apology. Thanks for the "ear." TD

-- Ted Donato (, November 26, 2002.


-- julian porter (, December 26, 2002.

Excerpt from our Choice Theory staff bulletin dated for March 3, 2003

For the last several weeks, during our tests and review of Choice Theory learnings in our 3rd through 5th grade classes, I have emphasized being in control--in control of behaviors, allowing control of our consequences, allowing control of our feelings. Two weeks ago, it was necessary for me to assume control (again), as I had a collection of feelings with which I was very uncomfortable. Three weeks ago, my older son went to Royal to compete in the regional wrestling tournament as the number two seed from his district. On paper, it looked very good for him to be able to go to Tacoma to wrestle in the state tournament. After taking our younger son to his game in Yakima, we headed to Royal. After arriving, we learned that my son had won his first match. He then lost to the number one seed from the other district. His next match would determine if he went to Tacoma to wrestle. It still looked good; he'd wrestled the other boy one time before and had won. However, from the beginning of the match, he looked hesitant, bewildered and unmotivated. He lost something like "7 to 2." I felt disappointed and angry.

Usually after our children's games or matches, we sign them out and they ride back with us. We (I) left him to ride the bus. After leaving, I mentioned my feelings to my wife, she said nothing. This was my first clue (Duh!) that my feelings, perhaps, weren't consistent with what was happening. I posed the question to one of my classes, "If I'd been right, what would my wife have said?" A student quickly responded, "She would have said, 'You're right.'" Another rendered, "I feel like that, too." But as she was quiet, I had choices--question to determine her thoughts and feelings and then compare them to mine, remain quiet and contemplate my perceptions and what was really happening, or listen to the radio and make small talk and enjoy the trip home.

I chose the latter. I was relatively quiet until hitting the highway along the Columbia River. I then asked my wife if we should go to Vantage, then head through Ellensburg for home. She chose to go through E-burg. After crossing the Columbia, I recall we made small talk and even had a few laughs. Apparently, at some point I was able to rationalize that the feelings I had weren't consistent with the consequences and behaviors. First, I wasn't the one who was wrestling. (Imagine, if wrestlers won, their parents had to travel to Tacoma and wrestle?) Second, I didn't have to experience the consequences. I didn't miss out on the trip to a state tournament. Lastly, I posed the following cloze question to my classes,"If I felt angry and disappointed, how did. . . ." In all cases, someone was able to complete the question with ". . . your son feel?" Hey, the time was right for me to be supportive and considerate and not critical. I ended the "Ted misses out on wrestling at the Tacoma Dome" disclosure with, "The next morning I remember sitting in the living room reading the newspaper before church, when my son came in to ask for the paper. Does anyone know what I said to him?" Some guesses were given, some posing negative verbalizations, some positive. I shared that I asked my son, "Ronald, are you alright about yesterday?" He nodded his head. Athletics should teach us to win with humility, lose graciously, and display good sportsmanship. Our kids should learn something, too.

-- Ted Donato (, February 24, 2003.

Excerpt from Choices Activity News, Week of December 8, 2003

PREVIEW! Total Behavior  As you might know all our behavior has the goal of our personal need-gratification, to obtain Fun, Power, Freedom, and Love & Belonging. Our modus operandi is our Total Behavior. Dr. Glasser says that all we do is comprised of four components--Acting, Thinking, Feeling, and Physiology, thus Total Behavior. These four components either act in unison to get us what we want or interact poorly to allow us to miss out on what we want and need. HAVE I'VE GOT A CASE IN POINT. . . . you kneed to read carefully. .

If one's Physiology is out of whack, i.e., bad knee, it can affect the remaining components. One's Feeling component might be characterized by sadness, regret, and disappointment. One might entertain negative thoughts (Thinking component) similar to--My recreational basketball career is over.; No way I'm ready for bowling or golf.; I don't want to just ride an exercise bike and lift weights.; or If I can't play basketball, I'm gonna probably end up looking like one. Eventually a Choice Theorist's thoughts would tend to run toward the positive and productive spectrum--Well, I think I'd better have a doctor look at it.; It might just be a sprain.; If I have to have an operation, I might be back sooner than I think.; and Hey, it might allow me to expand my repertoire of moves! Eventually these positive thoughts will influence the Acting component--Call to make an appointment with a doctor. (12/2); Speak to others who've had similar injuries. (12/2); Ride the exercise bike and lift weights until further notice. It works on paper; let's see!!

-- Ted Donato (, December 03, 2003.

Excerpt from Choices Activity News, Week of March 22, 2004

You're lying; I didn't lie! Two behaviors which allow much frustration for many adults are blatant profanity focused directly at us and lying. Both impose upon the gratification of our Needs for Power and Love & Belonging, i.e., I am truthful, honest, caring, and respectful; I deserve the same. Recently a peer made the comment about how two students had the gall to lie to her and even to our principal. Students do so to avoid or delay consequences and, in the end, to meet needs. However, by carefully choosing our initial verbalization, we can minimize its occurrence. If someone has reported to me of someone's inappropriate behavior. I will speak to the person alone with the goals of correcting the inappropriate behavior and removing from him/her the out of lying. By doing so, I achieve two things--I receive the truth directly from the student and am able to encourage continued honesty and truthfulness.

My initial verbalization might be similar to, "I heard from several people that you had some difficulty during recess." HUH-UH! "I want you to think very carefully before answering any other questions." Give the student a long wait time to think or to calm down, if they show emotional distress. "When I speak with the people who saw everything, what will they tell me?" At this time the student must either continue to maintain the misrepresentation of events or to take the stance of a 3rd person witnessing the actual events. He/She knows better than anyone what happened and knows exactly what witnesses will, no, should report. If they still remain in denial, I check to see if the student is angry. If so, I allow a wait time to really calm down. Remember we make poor judgments when we are angry. Pursuing the issue and wielding consequences for an angry student can be likened to "giving them more rope." An important aspect of this type of verbalization is to appear to have a low level of perception, i.e, by maintaining a calm, reserved Physiology; even though you may be boiling inside. Maintaining the appearance of a low level of perception will often allow us to avoid Power struggles. No lie!

-- Ted Donato (, March 18, 2004.

My 4 yr old grandson was throwing a temper tantrum, and I took him to the time out chair. I told him when he stopped choosing anger he could get up from the chair. He folded his arms and agrily yelled, "I am choosing anger", staring at me defiantly. I informed him he nost certainly could choose anger, but then he couldn't get up, and I gave him examples of better choices, and I had faith in him that he'd figure out a better choice. After a few minutes he did calm down and told me he's choose to stop yelling. I gave him a hug and told him that's what being a grandpa was all about, teaching their grandkids to make better choices. All his "caregivers" use this and over time he's chosen to 'pull less fits'.

-- Jim Thompson (, February 22, 2005.

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