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Scan 142870001-1 nemilaCHOICE THEORY.

William Glasser (1925 - ) developped "Choice Theory", holding that  we are all motivated to act in ways that increase pleasure and decrease pain  - we want to think and behave in ways that will make us feel better. All pleasure and pain, he says, derives from our efforts to satisfy 5 genetically encoded needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. Any behaviour that satisfies one of these is pleasurable, and any that fails to do so is a source of pain, and ultimately it is only through human relationships that we can satisfy these needs:

1. When we are struggling to survive, the help of another makes us feel good;

2. In order to feel love and belonging, we need at least one good relationship;

3. To sense even the least of our power, we need someone to listen to what we say;

4. To feel free, we must feel free from the control of others;

5. While it is possible to have fun on our own, it is much easier with other people. For these reasons, he argues, "we are, by nature, social beings".

Glasser emphasizes that lasting psychological problems are usually caused by problems in our personal relationships, and distress can be remedied through repairing these relationships. He points towards the basic human need for power, which we try to satisfy by attempting to control other people. In fact, the only thing that we can control is the way we behave and think; we cannot control others. Trying to, he says, shows a lack of respect for others and is the cause of unhappiness. Choice Theory is a self-control psychology designed to counteract this tendency and to help us find happiness within our relationships (William Glasser, Choice Theory, 1965)

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