Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Choice Theory

I made a little mistake on my last post that I corrected. I said that William Glasser came up with the Control Theory which should have said Choice Theory. For all of us members of the LDS faith, we have come to know that it was actually Satan that came up with the Control Plan.

Glasser says that there are 3 beliefs of external control psychology.

1. What we do is in response to a simple external signal. Accepting this belief would mean that we are not responsible for how we respond to something that happens to us. It would make us powerless, which is depressing.
2. I can make people do what I want them to do, and other people can control how I think, act, & feel. If I believe this is really true then it creates a desire to manipulate and allows me to be manipulated, which is why I could get angry and depressed because it violates free agency and doesn't work. It has been interesting for me to really notice how often I have felt someone is keeping me from doing what I really want to do when in reality, I am holding myself back, because it is always a choice that I have.
3. It is right to ridicule, threaten, or punish those who don't do what I tell them to do or even reward them if it will get them to do what I want. This takes manipulation to an even higher, more destructive level, and even if I can get someone to do something I want that they don't want to do. they will later resent me because I haven't honored their free agency.

I can certainly see how I have falsely believed all three of these at one time or another and how damaging it can be. The hard thing is that often I have embraced these beliefs with a sincere but misdirected desire to help others be happy or protect them from pain.

Here is a powerful quote from this book: "It is hard, if not impossible, to love someone who wants to control and change you or someone you want to control and change."

1 comment:

Steph said...

I just spent the last semester studying Glasser's Choice Theory along with a few other ones and his was definitely one of my favorites!! The thing I loved the most is that he was all about teaching people to make choices in therapy instead of trying to change people in therapy like some of the other theories. Now what I need to figure out is how to always "choose the best thing" like Elder Oaks taught.