Posts tagged “Glasser biography

6 Rules for Happiness and the Environment


“What does happiness and the environment have to do with one another,” you may ask. According to research presented at the recent American Psychological Association convention the two are closely linked. Dr. Miriam Tatzel, who presented the research, explained that –

For decades, consumerism has been on a collision course with the environment, with consumer appetites draining the planet of natural resources and accelerating global warming.
One view is that we need to change consumption in order to save the planet. But what if we approached it from the other way around? What if what’s good for the consumer meets what’s good for the environment?


She went on to then present 6 fundamentals for an authentically happy life, that just so happen to also benefit the environment. As you read, consider the fundamentals through the lens of choice theory. If you are a teacher, think about how students could be exposed to these ideas.

1. Cultivate your talents
Cultivate what you are good at. If you’re not sure what that is, seek to discover it. (This is something that teachers can help students with – not in a tracking, stratifying way – but as a journey of discovery.) Develop your talent, as it will be very need-satisfying whenever you are engaged in this activity. Be reminded, though, that there may be little chance of this talent earning you money.

2. Be thrifty
Buy less stuff and you don’t have to earn so much money. Borrowing money weighs us down and creates an emotional burden that outweighs the supposed benefits.

3. Seek out experiences
If you have a choice between buying experiences and buying stuff, choose experiences.
Experiences stay in our memories forever and usually they are shared with others.
(What do you think about #3? Another view is that experiences come into our lives, but then fly away like the wind. Stuff we buy, like furniture or landscaping or cars, is what lasts. Can choice theory help us with this one?)

4. Work on your relationships
Bingo. Bullseye. Home run. Nuff said!

5. Accept yourself
As we were reminded in the last blog post, working on the relationship we have with ourselves is time well spent. Being comfortable with who we are hugely contributes to our positive mental health.
(I think this is an area in which religion too often hurts rather than helps. The picture of God as stern, exacting, arbitrary, and punishing is very damaging, and very inaccurate. The first two chapters in the Bible describe a perfect, sinless world; the last two chapters in the Bible also talk about a perfect world; all the chapters in between describe God’s efforts to win us back, to redeem us, and to restore us, at incredible cost to Himself. He loves and accepts us, and He yearns for us to do the same with ourselves, and with each other.)

6. Find freedom and independence
The research indicates that freedom and independence tap into our deepest human desires. Whether at home, work, or play, we’ve got to find freedom in our lives. With its clear explanation of internal control psychology, maybe this is one of choice theory’s most important contributions.

Dr. Tatzel concluded with –

A society in which some people are idolized for being fabulously rich sets a standard of success that is unattainable and leads us to try to approach it by working more and spending more. Cooling the consumption-driven economy and consuming less is better for the environment and better for humans, too.

This research is a good reminder that –

What’s good for the planet is good for our personal happiness;
what’s good for our happiness is good for the planet.

* This post is based on a PSYBLOG article at


Now priced at $17.45 on Amazon; 15 reviews have been uploaded. Can we make it 20?

Now priced at $17.45 on Amazon; 15 reviews have been uploaded. Can we make it 20?

For U.S. customers, get a signed copy of Champion of Choice for $20 + $6 (shipping). Send your check, along with any special instructions (e.g.- if the book is a gift), as well as your shipping address, and I will get the biography out to you right away.
Please include your email address, just in case I have questions about your order. My address is P. O. Box 933, Angwin, CA 94508

Get a signed copy of Soul Shapers: A Better Plan for Parents and Teachers for $17.

Amazon reviews would be helpful here, too.

Amazon reviews would be helpful here, too.


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Share The Better Plan blog with a friend or colleague. It’s just one more way to spread the good news about choice theory!

Solitary Pleasure and Mental Health?


The words solitary pleasure and mental health would not seem to go together, yet a case can be made for just that. The August 12 post at describes how people need to cultivate a solitary pleasure as a way to nurture a relationship with themselves. This is interesting and important on several levels.

When I was a young man I remember hearing that you had to be a me before you could become a we. I took that to mean that it’s important to establish your own identity and to be strong within yourself before you attempt to meld your life with a significant other. Even as we connect with others socially and even if we are in a relationship with a significant other, though, there is something very solitary about the human condition. Mental health seems to require an inner personal strength that is comfortable with solitude. Me before We also conveys the importance of learning how to be fulfilled and secure within yourself, rather than being dependent on another person fixing your insecurity.


Another way in which solitary pleasure can be healthy is described in Positive Addiction (1976), where Glasser described how people can be “addicted” to an activity that is actually good for them. After visiting with and surveying runners, he concluded that if certain conditions were met, the act of running could bring the runner into a special mental state where contentment, confidence, and creativity flourished. The runners admitted that if they could run with ease for around an hour, and if the element of competition was not present, they would experience a kind of runner’s “high” that strengthened them and seemed to prepare them to meet their responsibilities even more effectively. They also admitted that when they didn’t run for awhile they began to feel less healthy – physically and emotionally – and wanted to get their running shoes on and get back on the road. Glasser noted that other activities besides running could lead to this Positive Addiction (PA) state as long as the conditions were met. The key is that rather than detracting from our life forces and literally imprisoning us, like negative addictions do, a positive addiction adds strength and creativity to our lives.

And so there is a kind of solitary that is healthy. As humans we need to be able to handle, and even tap into the benefits of solitude. That being said, though, let’s remember that not every kind of solitary is good for us. Choice theory points out the importance of relationships in our lives, and how so much of our emotional distress is created when a relationship suffers. Our mental health, to a great degree, is tied to the quality connections we have with others. So what’s the difference between a healthy solitary and an unhealthy solitary? For me the answer boils down to: Is my solitary a way to escape or is it a way to empower?


The story is told of a man that went out to the wood pile to cut wood, and how at first he cut the wood quickly and made great progress. He had a lot of wood to cut and he was pleased at how easy it was. As the days went by, though, he seemed to cut less wood in the same amount of time. Rather than getting stronger and cutting even more wood, he was cutting less. It got to the point where he seemed unable to get the saw through the wood at all. Discouragement and frustration became his companions as he went out to the wood pile each day to wrestle with the few pieces he could now handle. When a friend stopped by to visit and noticed how slow he was now cutting the wood, the friend suggested that he ought to sharpen the saw. Indeed, the saw was sharpened and the experience became doable and efficient once again.

We each need to be aware of the ways in which our “saws” are sharpened. It could be meditation or morning devotions, prayer, cycling, walking, knitting, gardening, or hitting golf balls. If life is marked by difficulty and drudgery, it may be that our saw is dull and that we are trying to cut the same amount of wood with it. Caring for ourselves is not a selfish act. Ultimately, we can care for others and do our jobs even better when our “saws” are sharpened. When solitary activities empower us to face our responsibilities and connect with others in the process, they are healthy and needful.

One of the important benefits of “sharpening the saw” activities and healthy solitude is becoming more aware of and accepting of ourselves. As the post suggested, we need to develop and nurture a healthy relationship within ourself and learn how to meet our own needs in the process.

So, in review –

Me before We

Positive instead of negative addiction

Empowerment rather than escape

Keep that saw sharp


14 Amazon reviews; can we make it 20?

14 Amazon reviews; can we make it 20?

For U.S. customers, get a signed copy of Champion of Choice for $20 + $6 (shipping). Send your check, along with any special instructions (e.g.- if the book is a gift), as well as your shipping address, and I will get the biography out to you right away.
Please include your email address, just in case I have questions about your order. My address is P. O. Box 933, Angwin, CA 94508

Get a signed copy of Soul Shapers: A Better Plan for Parents and Teachers for $17.

Amazon reviews would be helpful here, too.

Amazon reviews would be helpful here, too.


You can access The Better Plan posts on –


Teaching the Quality World

Today’s blog post is authored by Banning Lary, who I met at the Toronto conference last month. I want to create a page on The Better Plan website at which people can find Choice Theory instructional ideas. This article does just that. The article has previously appeared in The International Journal of Choice Theory and is used with the permission of the author. Thank you, Banning, for sharing this.

Explaining Glasser’s ‘Quality World’
by Banning Lary

During the process of learning about Choice Theory / Reality Therapy (CT/RT) to a level worthy of certification, I found the “How the Brain Works” chart to be intimidating in its complexity. My first instinct was to change the chart and make it more palatable. But, as I began to understand CT/RT the chart began to make more and more sense and I eventually fell in step with the many who have come before me whose minds were positively altered by this sublime and workable model. As certification requires selecting a portion of the chart and preparing a presentation, I wanted to choose an area I wanted to know thoroughly, to the extent that I could explain it to others. I searched Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory (1998) until I came upon this quote:

“Learning what is in a person’s ‘Quality World’ and trying to support it, will bring us closer to that person than anything else we can do.” (p. 51).

If our work is to help others self-evaluate, learning about their Quality Worlds (QW) seemed not only critically important, but possibly a good place to initiate a dialogue to find out about a person. I thus selected the Quality World portion of the chart as my certification project and developed a PowerPoint presentation, slides of which are incorporated into this article.

As I was setting up my computer to begin my presentation, I passed a white index card to everyone in the class and asked them to read the card and write a one-sentence answer. Every card contained the same set of instructions:

What is a table?

Picture a table you know in your mind. Then
write a one sentence description on this card.

The purpose for this will become clear in a moment.

I started my presentation macroscopically and worked inward. I described the Real World as being made up of phenomena, appearances in time and space that can be apprehended by the senses. The Perceived World was described as being a subset of the Real World, comprised of only what we as individuals see, smell, touch, taste or hear. This was further illustrated using the parable of the blind men and the elephant.

Five blind men approached an elephant for the first time and tried to describe it to others. “It’s flat and floppy,” said the blind mind who came in contact with the elephant’s ear. “No, it’s round and heavy,” said the man with his arms round a leg. “It’s like a tapered tube,” said the man holding the snout. “It’s thin and ropelike,” said the man with its tail. “It’s broad and wide,” the fifth blind man said, his arms outstretched spanning the elephant’s torso.


I then asked my colleagues to read what they had written on their cards. “A table is wooden, rectangular and usually found in a dining room.” “A table is round with a thick glass top.” “A table is made of columns and rows of numbers, like an accountant would use.” “A green felt covered piece of slate housed in a heavy frame with bumpers used for billiards.” And so on.


From one simple word, all these different perceptions. Now what would happen if you asked a group of different people to explain their perception of words like power, love, freedom, physical health or fun: the five basic needs of Choice Theory, their fulfillment ideally represented in a person’s Quality World. Therefore, each person’s Quality World is a subset of their Perceived World which is a subset of the Real World.


According to Glasser, a Quality World is made of pictures (people, places, things, activities, ideas and belief systems) we perceive as being need-fulfilling whether anyone else may regard them as need-fulfilling or not. These pictures relate to our past experiences, future aims and ambitions and relate to our idealized selves. Our personal Quality World pictures direct our efforts to fulfill our vision of our basic needs and thereby direct our behavior. Behavior, as Glasser sees it, is comprised of thinking, doing, feeling and physiology (Total Behavior), but that is another area of the chart outside of this discussion.


Pictures in our Quality Worlds are changing and changeable as we go through life. Pictures in an infant’s Quality World may just be his or her parents as they fulfil the infant’s five basic needs. These pictures can vary in levels of intensity or in the possibility of attainment, such as personal goals of becoming a doctor, having a family, building a vacation home or even winning an Oscar. The composite Quality World of a young adult will be more complex and contain more pictures. A Teenager, for example, may have a composite Quality World that looks like this:


Or like this:


Notice how the size and span of the images can vary, how one picture can fill one or more of our basic needs. Notice also the change in the size of the pictures in the second example from the first example. Assuming these are Quality World composites from the same individual, notice how the importance of athletic achievement diminished as the desire or want to smoke dope and hang out with pals increased. This acknowledges Glasser’s observation that Quality Worlds are not always comprised of pictures we (others) might ethically, legally or morally judge as being right. And that…

“… a lot of people have not found anyone they can trust and enjoy being with. They may have been rejected or abused… to feel good they begin to replace people pictures with nonpeople pleasure pictures – pictures of violence, drugs and unloving sex – in the quality worlds. As they do so they separate themselves further from people and happiness, compounding the urgency of their problem.” (Glasser, Choice Theory, 1998, p. 49).

In other words, people who do not have their needs fulfilled in ways society regards as being healthy and positive, may turn to negative and destructive activities to get their needs met. This is where aberration begins. And, if we can discover these life diminishing behaviors by being allowed into the other person’s Quality World, we can ask the kind of questions necessary to help the person make more life-sustaining choices. These choices will lead to further refinement and replacement of images in the person’s Quality World.


As an exercise, I then put up a blank screen and pass around a placard listing a variety of images I have in a folder that are easily accessible on my computer. At the top of the card it reads:



The card is passed around and I ask participants to select an image that fulfills a need and tell how it does so. The images I have used are: Aerobics Class, Backpacking, Basketball, Basketball Professional, Boating, Burger And Fries, Carribean Cruise, Community Service, Cooking Class, Coworkers Smiling, Daughter And Father, Dental Hygenist, Dentist, Dinner Party, Diploma, Family, Father Or Grandfather, Fiesta Dance, Flying Small Plane, Gambling, Gardening, Grandparents , Gymnastics Girls, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Knitting, Making A Movie, Man Fishing, Man Golfing, Man Job Promotion, Man Losing Weight, Man Skiing , Mother, Public Speaking, Quinceanera, Rap Music, Running, Scuba Diving, Sky Diving, Smoking Marijuana, Surgeon, Teaching, Weight Lifting, Travel To Asia, Travel To Europe, Vacation Home, Volunteering In Hospital, Wedding On Beach, Winning The Oscar, Woman And Cat, Woman And Dog, Women Archery,, Woman Bowling, Woman Helping The Elderly, Woman Job Promotion, Woman Losing Weight, Woman Skiing, Woman Snorkeling, Woman Tennis, Woman Water Skiing, Woman With Baby.

Someone might select the image of the diploma and say it fulfills their basic need for power (self-worth). Another might pick the photo of the mother, grandparents or coworkers smiling and refer to fulfilling the need for love and belonging. For fun, I have had them choose scuba diving, golfing, gymnastics, gardening or having a dinner party, which could also fulfill love and belonging, and so forth. There are, of course, no right or wrong answers, but as they select these images I place them on the page. This provides a dynamic example of how a Quality World is created that is easy to understand.


After we have constructed a sample Quality World and everyone who wants to participates, I conclude with a good thematic quote from Glasser:

“But, ultimately, whether people agree with us or not, we define reality in the way that works best for us.” (Glasser, Choice Theory, 1998, p. 47).

Therein lies the beauty of the Quality World, the visual composite of our ideal need fulfilling images which uniquely frames the mentality of every individual. By understanding and embracing another’s Quality World, we afford ourselves the opportunity to help people self-evaluate and change their lives.

If this exercise appeals to you, feel free to use it or develop a variation for use in your own work with clients or students or to help educate others about the Quality World and its importance to Choice Theory / Reality Therapy.


Glasser, W. (1998). Choice Theory. New York: Harper Collins.

William Glasser Institute: How the Brain Works Chart


Banning K. Lary
344 Madison Place
Lexington, KY 40508



13 Amazon reviews; can we make it 15?

13 Amazon reviews; can we make it 15?

For U.S. customers, get a signed copy of Champion of Choice for $20 + $6 (shipping). Send your check, along with any special instructions (e.g.- if the book is a gift), as well as your shipping address, and I will get the biography out to you right away.
Please include your email address, just in case I have questions about your order. My address is P. O. Box 933, Angwin, CA 94508

Get a signed copy of Soul Shapers: A Better Plan for Parents and Teachers for $17.


Some Amazon reviews for Soul Shapers wouldn’t hurt either.




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No Word for Accountability? Are You Kidding Me?


Finland is doing something really, really right with their schools, yet the U.S. education system is either ignoring what Finland is doing, or is incapable of seeing the value in what they are doing. I suggest we Americans take a moment and consider three key points in Finland’s approach.

In “quality of life” global surveys, out of all the countries in the world Finland ranks #1. The PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, which compares 15 year olds from 18 different countries in reading, math, and science, ranks Finnish students at the top as well. Since 2001, they have either been ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. PISA performance for U.S. students has been middling at best.


So what gives in Finland? Here are three keys to keep in mind.

1)  Finland is an education superpower because it values equality over excellence.
When Finland recognized in the 1970s that they had to fix their schools they decided to create an education system that worked for all of its citizens, and especially their children. Today there are hardly any private schools in Finland, and those that do exist cannot charge tuition. Their goal was not to focus on choice, but on equity; not on competition, but on cooperation.

2)  They view learning as a constructive process.
Finnish schools assign less homework and schedule more creative play. Except for a national matriculation exam at the end of high school, there are no standardized tests. Periodically, some tests are given to sample groups, but these tests simply provide a snapshot of how their education system is doing in specific content areas.

3)  There is no word for accountability in Finnish.
No wonder the Finnish approach to education is going completely over the heads of Americans. We are obsessed with accountability, and because of this we are always on the lookout for a strategy to keep track of performance and then apply the right carrot or stick as needed. Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility, during an interview at Teachers’ College of Columbia University, when asked about accountability, shrugged as he pointed out that “There’s no word for accountability in Finnish.” He then explained that “Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.”


From a choice theory perspective there is so much here to think about. Equity over choice might alarm some, but think about the implications of this emphasis. Their goal is to have 100% of their schools be the kind of school that any student would want to attend. In America we don’t work to create excellent schools for all students, but then we use the idea of “choice” to wiggle out of this level of responsibility. We stress competition, even as the “playing field” heavily favors those with money. And no word for accountability? How can that be? As I have thought about it I have come to see the external control nature of accountability. Accountability is monitoring performance so that an external reward or punishment can be strategically applied.

I suppose that accountability does not have to be a bad word. Glasser used the word responsibility a lot to begin with, but then retreated from it when he saw how teachers were using it to pressure kids. He didn’t have good feelings about the word motivate either. He thought that it conveyed the idea of one person applying some sort of external stimuli to get another person to behave in a certain way. Maybe accountability is a similar kind of word. Maybe, though, there is a way to use it appropriately; may it can be used in a way that doesn’t attempt to control people. If we do like the concept of accountability we will need to be vigilant. External control can be so tempting.

Apparently, the Finns don’t have the word accountability in their dictionary. I wonder how we can get it out of ours.


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12 Amazon reviews; can we make it 13?

12 Amazon reviews; can we make it 13?

For U.S. customers, get a signed copy of Champion of Choice for $20 + $6 (shipping). Send your check, along with any special instructions (e.g.- if the book is a gift), as well as your shipping address, and I will get the biography out to you right away.
Please include your email address, just in case I have questions about your order. My address is P. O. Box 933, Angwin, CA 94508


Today’s blog was based on an article in The Atlantic (Dec. 29, 2011) by Anu Partanen titled What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success. There have been many other articles touting Finland’s school system since then.

Love and Belonging: Same Side of the Coin?


I am trying to wrap my head around something Glasser wrote in Choice Theory (1998, p.96) about how to measure the strength of our need for love and belonging. “It is important to understand,” he began, “that the strength of this need is measured by how much we are willing to give, not by how much we are willing to receive.” At first glance this seems easy enough to understand, but as I think about what this really means I begin to sense something deeper and more important.

I teach about the Basic Needs as part of the choice theory workshops I facilitate each summer, including asking participants to try to identify their own Basic Need strength levels.

When participants assess their personal need for Love and Belonging I am pretty sure they focus more on their perceived need to belong than on their need to love. Belonging has to do with our need for connection, and I think that is where participants go when they self-evaluate in this area. “To what extent do I need to connect with others?” they are probably wondering.


But that’s not really how to measure this strength, at least according to Bill. Belonging is about our need to “receive” from others, to be affirmed through membership within a group or from a relationship with another person, and to be included. Love, on the other hand, is giving affection and caring about others, without regard to receiving favors in return.

As the Love chapter in 1 Corinthians says –

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.   ! Cor. 13:4-7


There seems to be a distinct difference between love and belonging. Both are about relationships, yet one is about what we take from the relationship, while the other is about what we bring or give to the relationship.

Glasser hits this theme again when he describes the Solving Circle for marital discord. (He actually recommended drawing an imaginary circle on the floor that spouses would enter before beginning their conversation.) “Step into the circle,” he coached, “and tell each other not what you want but what you are willing to give.” (Choice Theory, p.98)

So what do we do with the Love and Belonging need? Is it possible to have a high need for belonging and a low need to love? Given Glasser’s view that the strength of the Love and Belonging need is how much a person is willing to give, it would seem the person with a low need to love and a high need to belong ends up with a lower score for Love and Belonging. Does that make sense? I am really thinking about how to process this piece in future workshops.


10 Amazon reviews; can we make it 11?

10 Amazon reviews; can we make it 11?

For U.S. customers, get a signed copy of Champion of Choice for $20 + $6 (shipping). Send your check, along with any special instructions (e.g.- if the book is a gift), as well as your shipping address, and I will get the biography out to you right away.
Please include your email address, just in case I have questions about your order. My address is P. O. Box 933, Angwin, CA 94508


The Future of Choice Theory Is In Our Hands

In the last Better Plan post I shared the questions that people would ask William Glasser himself, if he were still with us. (If you have insights or answers to one of the questions, please share them with us.) Today I will post the results of the other assignment I gave during the Toronto talk, that being – What suggestions do you have to get Glasser’s ideas out to the public more effectively?

Those in attendance at the Toronto talk were asked to work with a partner and think of things that could be kept in mind as the organization moves forward. If there was more than one suggestion for the same idea I placed an “x” after that idea. Some ideas have quite a few x’s by them. If we had more time in Toronto we could have refined these ideas even more. However, here they are in their more raw form.

TED talks. x x x x x x x x x

Create a YouTube channel with strategic key words that will attract people when they do searches. x x x x x x

Use social media more. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. x x x x x x

Writing reviews on Champion of Choice. x x x x

Choose a business model and concentrate our efforts to market choice theory, including hiring people who know marketing. Develop a recognizable brand and logo. x x x

Establish and support the William Glasser Foundation. x x

Model the theory and walk our talk. x x

Training to certification must be quicker for the millennial generation. x

Research. x

Create partnerships with different people, communities, or businesses. x

Let people know about x

Be clearer about what is required to be certified.

Keep reality therapy in the discussion – don’t limit it to choice theory.

Reach out to universities and textbook writers. Get the word out to academics.

Develop a graduate curriculum for reality therapy.

Develop a reality TV show on reality therapy and choice theory.

Talk shows – Ellen, Oprah, Saturday Night Live, etc.

Market “Choice Theory in Motion” more aggressively.

Create a database of supporting evidence (annotated) of studies supporting choice theory.

Create marketing for Take Charge of Your Life.

WGI members need to be attending and presenting at other conferences, like the ACA.

Make a movie of Champion of Choice.

Never give up.

Write a book about Rochester School and the experiences we had implementing choice theory in our community.

Find a young person to be his (Bill’s) champion.

Focus on youth.

Providing funding to offer training to principals and teachers.

Produce a film or documentary on Bill and his ideas.

Massive book launches.

Effective one-day workshops.

Filming teachers who are effectively applying RT/CT in the classroom and publishing these examples.

A focused voice from each discipline using choice theory.

We’re getting too old as an organization. We need to connect to youth.

#choice theory

Create a presence on maternity wards and geriatric centers – e.g. material that would help new parents

Introduce CT concepts in the school system at an early age – embed in the curriculum.

There are some very good ideas here. Some of them we can do as individuals, while some of them would need to be addressed at an organizational level. Do you want to lobby for one of these ideas? Respond in the box below and let us know what you are thinking. Thank you to each set of partners during the Toronto talk who came up with these suggestions.


“If you don’t like something, change it;
if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
Mary Engelbreit

Questions for Bill


It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago today the 2nd International Glasser Conference was just beginning, and that I kicked off the conference by talking about his just published biography – Champion of Choice. Thanks to Banning Lary, that talk was posted in the last blog. I still have such positive memories about the conference and the time I was able to spend with so many of you. Although traveling can be a hassle and expensive, I am so glad I attended. Thank you to WGI – Canada for such a wonderfully planned event.

Carleen Glasser speaking at the Toronto conference.

Carleen Glasser speaking at the Toronto conference.

During the talk I had people work with a partner and answer a couple of questions. The first invited those in attendance to consider – If Bill were still with us, what question would you like to ask him? The second question asked – What can the organization or individuals do to get the choice theory word out to the public better? Today’s blog is going to focus on the first one and share some of the questions that are on your heart and mind.

Some of you will know the answers to some of these questions. If so, I invite you to respond to this post and share your knowledge. Some of the questions are answered or commented on in the biography. If so, I will indicate that. And some of the questions we can only wonder what Bill might say. The questions definitely invite us to think and reflect.

There were too many questions to list all of them, but here are a few –

In looking back on your life do you have any regrets? (A number of you asked this question in one form or another.)

What is the role of the unconscious mind in choice theory? (At first glance, I thought this question had an obvious answer, since Bill consistently wanted us to focus on the conscious mind. That being true, though, this question is still valid.)

What would you suggest that we do to promote choice theory in education and to get it into all the schools?

How did you come to realize that external control doesn’t work? (In the biography.)

How can RT/CT help understand autism?

How did your childhood, and specifically your relationship with your mother, contribute to your outlook, beliefs, and success? (In the biography.)

What would you like to say that you’ve never said before?

Do you think homosexuality is genetic or by choice? (In the biography.)

How difficult was it to apply your theories to your personal life? (In the biography.)

Which components of the choice theory framework are the most important?

What do you still want to accomplish professionally?

What do you wonder about currently?

If you were a politician, what would your first project be?

How long did it take you to move from external control to internal control in living your life? (In the biography.)

In looking back, would you have used other ways or methods to further your ideas?

What does freedom look like for you?

You seem uncomfortable with religion, but have you ever had, or come close to having, a spiritual experience?

Was it you or your ideas that had the greatest influence?

When working with young children who find it extremely difficult to verbalize, or even truly understand their emotions, what successful approaches can be implemented to assist them in terms of their behavior choices?

How did you get to the analogy of the car for Total Behavior? (In the biography.)

How did political and cultural activities of the 1960s affect your theories? (In the biography.)

What other career would you pursue if you had your time over?

What do you think about sexual addiction/compulsion?

What has brought you the most joy in your life?

That last question is a great one to end on. As I said at the outset, some of you have great responses to certain of these questions. I encourage you to take a moment and share your thoughts with the rest of us.

One thing the questions do is remind us how much we miss Bill and how much we wish he was still with us to answer the questions himself. Toronto represented the first international conference without Bill and it will be interesting to see how his ideas move ahead on their own. Of course, his ideas are not alone. They aren’t orphans. His ideas have us to care for them and proclaim them.


As of July 24, the Amazon reviews for Champion of Choice remains at –



“Happiness is when you feel good about yourself without the need for anyone else’s approval.”

In a Nutshell


I sometimes get asked, “In a nutshell, what is choice theory?”

The person doing the asking may not have heard of William Glasser or choice theory and, when the conversation comes around to Glasser and his ideas, they become interested in a short-cut description.

It’s a fair question. So, how would you, in a nutshell, describe choice theory?

Some possible descriptions include –

Choice theory explains how human beings are motivated and guided by an internal control mechanism. Whether we are proactively creating new behaviors or simply responding to external circumstances, it is this internal control process from which we decide how to behave or how to respond.

Choice theory describes a psychology that is based on the belief that human beings behave in purposeful ways to meet their personal needs. These needs include connecting with others, being successful at what we want to do, being free to do what we want without undo restrictions, and having fun and enjoying life. Rather than being controlled by others, we are constantly behaving in a way that we think will be need-satisfying.

Choice theory describes how free we are, and how much power we have, to be the architects of our own mental health. It helps us understand how to become more responsible for our thinking, our acting, our feelings, and even our physiology.

What is your nutshell description? Do you have a “go to” answer for this situation?



The implication of people being motivated and guided by an internal control system is huge! Bigger than huge! It takes existing approaches and practices and sweeps them away. For educators the implications of internal control are especially significant.

Choice theory, along with explaining the reality of internal control, also explains why external control—rewards and punishments in their varied forms—is ineffective, at best, and destructive at its worst. For over a century schools in the U.S. have sought to discover some new form of reward or punishment to externally control students, and even teachers, toward better performance. The No Child Left Behind school improvement plan led to underperforming schools being listed in the newspaper, with the hope that public embarrassment would spur them toward higher achievement. It didn’t work that way, as you might predict. Policy makers with an external control mindset want to extend the hours of the school day and lengthen the school year, thinking these external factors will make better learning take place. What they have failed to see is that doing things ineffectively, only now doing them for longer periods of time, still result in ineffective performance. What is needed is to design a school experience that acknowledges the internal control system by which every student is guided. Only when we intentionally create schools that are need-satisfying to students will performance reach the desired levels.


Some schools have created this kind of environment and are experiencing wonderful results. Glasser Quality Schools would be a prime example. Closer to home for me, the New Technology schools throughout Napa County are creating this kind of environment as well. It can be done.



Thank you to those who have written a review on Amazon for the Champion of Choice biography! Eight reviews have been submitted so far. It would be good if we could get that number up to 80, or even higher. Writing a review is a simple way to draw attention to Glasser’s life and his ideas.


“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
Carl Jung

Reflections on Toronto


Jim Roy and Bob Wubbolding. (Bob is wearing the Bengals hat he got for my son. Thank you, Bob.)

My emotions were truly mixed as I left Toronto yesterday afternoon, after good-byes to fellow choice theorists, some of them having traveled from the other side of the world to attend the conference. In total behavior language, my back tire of feeling, and even my physiology, was experiencing the reality of saying farewell to people who I may not see again for quite a while. I had been looking forward to seeing them as the conference approached, but now the conference had ended and we were all heading home. I intentionally decided to get back on the front tire of thinking and tried to embrace thoughts like – I’ll stay in better touch, or I’ll see people again at the next conference in Korea (summer, 2016), or We can stay connected through The Better Plan blog – but no sooner had I got on the front tires when that huge back feeling tire reminded me that the conference was over and the wonderful time I had spent with dear friends was soon to be a moment in the past. Maybe there is a kind of appropriate grief at the end of a Glasser conference.

The board members of William Glasser International.

The board members of William Glasser International.

The conference was such an international event! I can’t provide a complete list of the countries represented at the conference, however I spoke to people from Canada, Ireland, Australia, Croatia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iran, Columbia, Argentina, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia. Pretty amazing! And several of these countries have fostered an incredible choice theory presence in their respective cultures. An example of this international success was seen during the conference when representatives from Japan stood and indicated that the Achievement Corporation, the company in Japan that promotes the Glasser ideas through publishing and training, was giving $100,000 to the newly established William Glasser International endowment fund. They are doing something right to be able to donate that kind of money! Very cool!


The support for and affirmation of the Glasser biography was very special for me personally, especially from those who were actually a part of Glasser’s life. My hope is that, as a result of my speaking at the conference, more people now know about the book, and that they will pass the word along to others in their communities that Glasser’s story is available. Throughout his life Glasser wanted to make mental health understandable to anyone interested in learning about how our brains work. I wanted his biography to do the same, and I attempted to write it in a way that would capture any reader’s attention. Time will tell the extent to which the biography does that.

thebetterplan PP redo

A big WELCOME to those of you just joining The Better Plan blog as a result of the recent Glasser conference! I think you will find a lot of choice theory support here. Previous posts are listed on the left hand side of the page, and you can quickly and easily access all of the blogs from last year by clicking on the 2013 – Year At A Glance link. Take a moment to enter your email address and click on the FOLLOW link. It’s great to have you join The Better Plan community.


Remember to write a review on Amazon for Champion of Choice. Your review will alert others to the value of the book. Take a quick moment and spread the word about reality therapy and choice theory.



A Selfie from Toronto

I am in Toronto, Canada, attending the 2nd International Glasser Conference, from July 9-13. I was asked to give the opening keynote address, which I did yesterday morning. The following selfie, taken as I began the talk, captures part of the crowd as the conference opened.

Hello from everyone at the 2nd International Glasser Conference in Toronto!

Hello from everyone at the 2nd International Glasser Conference in Toronto!

The energy in the room was very positive, which helped my creativity as I shared details of the writing of Glasser’s biography, as well as stories from his life. (The talk was video-taped, so I am may be able to post that on The Better Plan soon. Feedback from those who have already read the biography has been very positive. Glasser “old-timers” are pointing how there are details about Glasser’s life and his ideas that they did not know about. There is a strong desire to “get the word out” about the book, including other countries like Australia, Ireland, Japan, and Korea. The biography is already being translated into Japanese, and people approached me about translating the book into Korean and Arabic, too.

I brought close to 40 copies of the book to the conference, but they all sold very quickly. I wish I could have brought more copies with me. Those wanting signed copies of the book can get them from me directly. (More on that later.) Of course, the book is also quickly accessible through Amazon.

Carleen Glasser, Maggie Roy, and Sandie Wubbolding.

Carleen Glasser, Maggie Roy, and Sandie Wubbolding.

I was especially frustrated that so many of those attending the conference from other countries were not able to bring copies of the book back home with them. I have checked on shipping costs to Canada and the rates are ridiculous. If I am looking at the websites of the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS correctly, it will cost more to ship the book than the cost of the book itself. Not acceptable. My hope is that something can be done to make the cost of the book reasonable to Glasser advocates around the world. We will solve this!

There are so many wonderful things going on at the conference, so many wonderful presentations and breakout sessions. One of the wonderful things is a choice theory curriculum for children out of Australia. Developed by Ivan Honey, the program is called The Amazing Adventures of Doug Dragster. A pilot project is going on right now in Los Angeles, in cooperation with Loyola Marymount University, to determine the extent to which the program teaches children the skills to improve their mental health, resiliency, and well-being. There is actually a really good sale going on until Sunday, July 13. Through Sunday you can download the book for 99 cents; plus all proceeds from the book will go to support the research project that is being done by LMU on the effects of the Doug Dragster curriculum.


Speaking of Amazon, it’s really important for everyone to submit a review of the Glasser biography, Champion of Choice. It’s easy to do and it will make a huge difference toward getting the word out there about so many of the positive things William Glasser did throughout his life. It doesn’t have to be long.

More tomorrow! In the meantime .  .  .

Ahh .  .  . Toronto. What a great city!

Ahh . . . Toronto. What a great city!

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