You Are Missed, Bill Glasser!
William Glasser passed away a year ago today. His legacy includes a long and successful career in which he influenced countless people on how to be mentally healthy and happy in their relationships with others. As the creator of Reality Therapy, Glasser challenged the therapeutic status quo and began to melt the complexity of human psychology; as the creator of Choice Theory, he provided a model of human behavior that even a child can understand, a model that acknowledged basic human needs and wants.
Everybody needs one essential friend. William Glasser
Although anticipated, his passing left a void organizationally and more importantly, left a void personally within the hearts of those who were seeking and continue to seek to understand his ideas about motivation and behavior. Organizationally, people have stepped up to maintain and even grow the structure of Glasser, Inc. Time will tell regarding the extent to which the organization flourishes or not. For many of us personally, though, this same process is going on within our own hearts and minds. In what ways and to what extent are Glasser’s ideas flourishing within us as individuals? What do his ideas mean to us personally?
For me personally, the principles of Choice Theory continue to influence my thinking a great deal. Of course, it is one thing to think something and quite another thing to consistently apply that thinking in your life, but Choice Theory brings me back to a good starting point when I get off track. Before becoming acquainted with Choice Theory, I was very capable of choosing to depress and to withdraw in general. Now, after learning about Choice Theory, not so much. Glasser’s ideas have been a kind of psychological immunization against the common mental distressers for me.
It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice. William Glasser
His explanation of the importance of the relationships in our lives has been very significant for me, especially the idea that our ability to influence a person is directly dependent on our level of connection with him/her. For parents and teachers this is the gold standard of advice. As long as we are connected to our kids we have influence with them. When that connection is severed, usually due to our anger or disgust or coercive approach, so, too, is the influence. It is crazy how flippant we can be with this kind of connection!
Glasser’s biography, Champion of Choice, became available less than four months after his death. So close. People that knew him and worked with him for many years have affirmed the book’s accuracy, which means a lot to me, and people that thought they knew him well have indicated they learned new things about his life from reading the biography. Of special importance to me, though, is the possibility that readers will learn about the principles of Reality Therapy, Choice Theory, mental health, and the whole idea of getting and staying happy.
If everyone could learn that what is right for me does not make it right for anyone else, the world would be a much happier place. William Glasser
Today (Saturday, Aug. 23) also happens to be my Sabbath, a day designed for rest and contemplation. Glasser’s ideas have certainly been a part of my spiritual journey and have strengthened and enlarged my concepts of total well-being, love, freedom, purpose, and joy. He has been a mentor to me and I will take solace in reflecting on our time together and the positive ways he influenced me – cognitively, emotionally, and even spiritually.
You are missed, Bill. You are missed.
I invite you to respond to this post and share what Glasser or his ideas have come to mean to you since his passing a year ago. I think you need to register on WordPress to submit comments, but the registration is super easy. No big deal. I encourage you to do it and share.
Jim Roy, you are beginning to be a major distraction to me. I try to get on with my own writing …your Soul Shapers arrived yesterday and in these quiet restful hours I began to read. How many memories of my church school teaching days rolled back. And then inspired, I came to your website and was reminded of the anniversary of Glasser’s passing already a year gone by. The moving piece for me was the realization that it is not only anniversary of his passing but it is also the date of my own dear mother s departure from this earth. She was the greatest example of non coercive Adventist living for me so I lost a dear and intimate mentor in her then Glasser took over as my professional influence and guide.
I share your grief and your longing today but am reminded of something Mandy Matinkin said in a tape I watched last night with Charlie Rose interviewing. He said ” As long as there is someone left on earth who remembers, it isn’t over” Their legacy lives on in us due to our memories.
I look forward to the comeraderie of not only remembering but making meaningful choices to further his work.
Thank you, Jim. This post has shown me what you have been writing about all along. I am proceeding to learn and do more of what you/Glasser speak.
Thanks for your well written and thoughtful article/tribute to Dr. Glasser. Loved the pictures too.
I am a very privileged person. I started learning from Dr. Glasser when I was 22-years old and am now in my 60’s. My father, another personal champion of mine introduced me to Dr. Glasser’s ideas while I was still an undergraduate in college. And I have continued my study, learning, teaching and sharing ever since. Dr. Glasser has influence every part of my life, both personally and professionally.
My work, Peaceful Parenting is the application of Choice Theory psychology to parenting. I’m proud to say that Dr. Glasser fully approved and endorsed this work. He even told me he learned from me! My developmental model of human development based on Choice Theory psychology was part of my doctoral work and is part of Peaceful Parenting. His compliment was certainly one of my proudest professional moments.
And now I’m working hard on creating Mental Health & Happiness, http://www.mentalhealthandhappiness.com. This is WGI-US following the mandate that Dr. Glasser gave us. We are teaching the world how to be mentally healthy and happy through and in their relationships. It is my hope that together we will change the world’s understanding of mental health as Dr. Glasser envisioned. Mental Health & Happiness is a public health issue. We all can learn what to do to develop, improve and maintain our Mental Health & Happiness every day by following the principals of Choice Theory psychology.
Although I miss Dr. Glasser, the man and the champion, every day I know how lucky I am to have known him. Thanks for giving me this forum to share my thoughts and feelings on this day of remembrance.
I am glad that you reminded readers of Peaceful Parenting and of the Mental Health & Happiness website. Hopefully, more people will hook up with what you are doing to share the principles of choice theory.
Your dad sounds like a special person.
Thanks for the reminder, Jim. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year! There’s not a day that goes by that Dr Glasser’s ideas can be applied to a situation (that I’m involved in or I am observing from afar). I will be forever grateful for having the opportunity to study, internalise and teach his amazing ideas. I am excited about the prospect of being able to help teach the world Choice Theory.
ps…your book about Dr Glasser’s life was great, Jim!
“It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice.”
So true and so unbelievably useful.