Choice Theory is the foundation and underlying theory upon which all of our programmes are based. Originated by Dr. William Glasser, it contends that all of our motivation and behaviours are an attempt to meet out specific wants and universal human needs of:
Love & Belonging
Self worth / power
Freedom & Independence
Fun and enjoyment
Survival and health
Although these needs are not in a hierarchy (as in Maslow's development model of motivation), in practice the two most important needs are "the need to love and be loved" (Love & Belonging) and the (self worth/power) need to feel that we are "worthwhile to ourselves and others" (Glasser, 1965).
Choice Theory maintains that we are internally motivated (to try and fulfil our 'wants' and 'needs') and that our behaviour is 'total' and made up of four (interconnecting) 'components' of acting, thinking, feelings and physiology. Each one always accompanies the other three components. Acting and thinking are predominately voluntary; feelings and physiology are involuntary and can only be changed by changing how we act and think. Additionally, Glasser states that "all of our significant conscious behaviour - that is, all behaviours that have anything directly to do with satisfying basic needs, are chosen" (Glasser, 1998) and that the choices we make are perceived by us to be the best behaviours available to us at that point in time; even though we may regret such choices milli-seconds later, and / or other people might perceive such choices to be ineffective, negative or antisocial etc.
It follows then that we have responsibility for the behavioural choices we make and this is something that we emphasiize empathically and skilfully in both our teaching and practice. Irrespective of the past we can make more effective and need-satisfying choices both today and in the future. - and this truth can set us free! Choice Theory is offered to replace what Glassier refers to as 'external control psychology', the present psychology of most of the world. This forcing, punishing psychology is destructive to every kind of relationship (be it between individuals, groups or even nations) and counterproductive to the quality and well being of virtually any kind of organisation or enterprise. Choice Theory offers an 'internal control psychology' that enhances any kind of relationship, including the one we have with our self.