Posts tagged “WDEP

Three Types of People – Awesome, Dangerous, and Run

Three Types of People



It is so interesting to me how involved human beings are in creating their own reality. I think this is one of choice theory’s important contributions to understanding our own beliefs and behaviors.

In our Soul Shapers 1 class last week we covered the quality world, the photo album in our heads where we store specific pictures of everything that is need-satisfying to us, and the perceived world, which basically is our view of reality. Choice theory describes how we create pictures that represent what we want;  choice theory also describes how we create a world view that represents what we think we have. This explains how a person can be so sure of his/her interpretation of an event, in spite of viable alternative interpretations or data that says otherwise. (Imagine a wife being incredulous as she wonders aloud to her moody husband, “You took it that way when I said that?” Really?”) An alumnus of a choice theory training I did last summer sent me the graphic above, which really portrays the possible views of reality.

In #1 the arrangement is considered healthy because the person understands that his view of reality may contain elements of the Truth (I use a capital T on purpose), or reality as it really is, but he also recognizes that his view may not be totally accurate. Such a position allows for growth and new learning as new information and experiences come into view. Such a person believes in his view of Truth, but he also allows others to follow their path toward Truth.

In #2 the arrangement is becoming dangerous because the person believes that his views all fit within what is ultimately True and real. He might not have all the Truth yet and may not have a total picture of reality, but he is in the right place to discover Truth. It is good that this person allows for not knowing everything yet; it is less healthy, and even dangerous, since the person has defined the bounds of Truth and his views all come within those boundaries.

In #3 the arrangement has reached a point where the rest of us can only be encouraged to run away from this person as fast as we can. This person believes that his view of reality is exactly the same as Truth; that the world as he sees it and prefers it is exactly as it should be.  Such a view becomes especially dangerous when a person believes that his view is ordained by God.

Because I believe in the first arrangement, the one where a person may perceive reality exactly as it is, and then again may not, does not make me a relativist. To me, such a view doesn’t mean anything goes. I have beliefs that I hold dear, including beliefs about God and His role in the creation and redemption of humankind, yet I embrace these beliefs through faith. I can’t prove them, at least in the way we think of the word prove. I have beliefs about how people should treat one another and the role that government should play toward providing a fair playing field for all citizens, and my beliefs may be right, although I recognize I don’t have a pipeline to Truth. I am convinced that Truth, capital T exists, and I desire to find it and come more and more into alignment with it.  Rather than thinking that I have arrived at Truth and Reality, I appreciate it when others can improve my views and help me see things more clearly.


Tomorrow is the last day of Soul Shapers 2. It’s been a very good week. I’ve appreciated the Soul Shapers alumni that have joined us each day to join in the role plays and provide added coaching. The role plays were really good today. We’ve eased into the role plays, starting with attainable wants, but moving into more challenging scenarios today. The role play below has a teacher talking with a student who was involved in a fight again and may be expelled from school. I should have recorded it as it was that good! Sean Kootsey, History teacher at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, in the role of teacher, talks with Yuliana Pandjaitan, Math teacher at Newbury Park Academy, who is in the role of the student who was caught fighting.  Both Sean and Yuliana hit this role play out of the park! So well done. Yuliana played the role of the student a little “too” well. 🙂  Dan Muhic, Science teacher at Napa Adventist Christian School, is in the role of observer and will help Sean and Yuliana in the process of self-evaluation when the role play is completed. Herb Dunn, Industrial Technology and Business teacher at Monterey Bay Academy, also observes and will give feedback to the trio afterward.

What to do after being caught for fighting?

What to do after being caught for fighting?

While the class includes instruction and discussions and film clips and guest presentations and group activities, role playing is at the heart of the advanced Soul Shaper workshop. It is pretty amazing the way in which insights and skills can be gained through role playing real-life scenarios.

Hey! It works!

A teacher shares what happened recently when he had the opportunity to use the conferencing skills he learned earlier this summer.

This summer I had the privilege of taking the Soul Shaper 1 & 2 class at Pacific Union College.  After doing so and reading a number of Glasser books, I was extremely interested in putting conferencing into practice.  We did a number of role plays in class to prepare for a conference, but there is something exciting about leading out in a real life scenario.

I received a call from a close friend about a relationship issue he was experiencing.  He was looking for some advice from me, so I told him to meet me at a local coffee shop.  On my way to our meeting, I thought back to the role plays in class and the acronym WDEP came to mind.  After reminding myself what each letter stood for, (W – What do you want, D- What are you doing? E- Evaluate if it is working, and P- The plan) I convinced myself that this would be the ideal time to practice what I had learned.

After breaking the ice a bit over coffee, I finally began our dialogue by asking him what was on his mind.  He gave me a long version of his dilemma, which was whether or not he should break up with his girlfriend.  He was quick to blame this dilemma on his significant other, telling me how he didn’t like how she did such and such. I listened carefully and after he was through I simply asked him, well what do you want right now?  He looked at me, kind of perplexed and asked me what I meant.  I asked him again, “deep down, what is it that you feel you need right now? I know we are here about the relationship, but that aside, what do you want?” He thought a bit, I sipped some coffee trying to keep myself from talking to break the silence.  Finally he spoke up and began to paint a picture that depicted freedom to me.  After he was through, I said, “would it be safe to say that what you need right now is freedom?” He assured me that this is what he needed.  I then asked him if he could find this freedom in his current relationship.  Without much thought he told me no. To make sure, I asked him what it would take to gain the freedom that he felt he needed and again asked if there was any way the relationship could still work with this need.  He assured me that he did not think he could get the freedom he needed while maintaining the relationship.  I then reminded him about the blame he put on his significant other for the current conflict.   I asked him, “Could it be that deep down you have wanted out of this relationship for awhile and you were waiting for a good excuse to end it?”  At this point he looked at me and told me that I was “freaking him out”.  He thought I was reading his mind or something.  We joked a bit and then continued on.  He agreed that this was indeed the case, but he was worried that if he broke things off he may not find someone else that had some of the traits he appreciated about her.  We worked through the process again a bit and he came to the conclusion that he needed to end the relationship.  We role played how that would look and talked about blame and how destructive that could be. He agreed and we were able to talk out what a break up might look like.

I don’t want to say that this experience went perfectly. I talked a bit more then I have expressed here and wish I could have been better at listening, but overall I saw that he had self-evaluated which made for a very rewarding experience for me, and hopefully for him.


The story above reminds us that we experience problem-solving conferencing opportunities in many normal, every day moments. We can use WDEP conferencing skills as teachers and principals, but we can also tap into WDEP skills as parents and friends. The above story also seems to embody the definition of problem-solving conferencing – that being


A lot of us are well-intentioned “fixers” who quickly start sharing advice and solutions when our student, colleague, or friend really just wants someone to listen and help them figure things out. The concept of self-evaluation is hugely important in the choice theory scheme of things. Whether it relates to academic performance and grading or to conferencing with a student regarding a behavior at school, the student’s ability to self-evaluate is the key. The KEY! We can count on this reality as surely as we can count on the law of gravity or the sun coming up in the morning. There is no getting around it. We can advise, direct, order, prescribe, or even threaten, but until a student comes to understand and acknowledge the situation for himself our efforts will lead to frustration and a strained relationship.

When we can non-judgmentally ask WDEP questions the results are frequently amazing! Often, people just need a little help thinking through things on their own and coming up with a plan of their own creation.

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