Last summer (2012) I presented a breakout session on choice theory during the NAD convention in Nashville. In preparation for that breakout I got to thinking about the key beliefs of choice theory and how those beliefs jibed with key beliefs of Christian faith. Glasser developed what he referred to as the 10 axioms of choice theory, belief statements that, to him, were self-evident bedrock foundation points of his approach. I came up with the following belief statements to serve as a springboard for discussion during the convention breakout. I don’t think the list is comprehensive, so I invite you to help me complete it. I am also open to any questions you may have. Here goes —

Choice Theory in a Spiritual Jacket

God created us in His image – with free will being the most impressive of our attributes.

We are designed to create, to think, and to choose.

He created us to be in connection and harmony with Him.

He created us to be in connection and harmony with each other.

Every individual is designed to control himself.

We were not designed to control others.

Neither were we designed to be controlled by someone else.

Since God created us with free will, this would indicate that even God Himself will not control us.

Humans constantly behave.

All behavior is purposeful.

Our actions represent what we think will best meet our needs at that moment.

The only person we can control is our self.

The world of Choice Theory is a responsible world where individuals understand how and why they make choices and then own the results of those choices.

We choose our state of mind, including the misery we feel.

Instead of adults seeking ways to control the behavior of children, often extending this desire to control even into adulthood, their goal should be to wean children from such control as soon as possible.

(Remember that weaning children from our control does not mean weaning them from our guidance and influence. Our influence actually increases as our control decreases.)

Children need to understand their status as free will beings and the power that comes  with their ability to make choices.

Schools need to be a part of the process that helps students recognize and embrace their choice power.


Some of you may be curious about Glasser’s 10 choice theory axioms. Just in case, his axioms are listed below as they appear on his website.

The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory

The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.

All we can give another person is information.

All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.

The problem relationship is always part of our present life.

What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.

We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.

All we do is behave.

All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.

All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.

All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.