Choice Theory and Reality Therapy

Choice Theory contends that we are intrinsically motivated to behave in ways that we believe to be most satisfying and important, that we choose all of our behaviors, and that external stimuli or events are incapable of making us do anything. The idea is that it is always you who makes the choice to engage in any given behavior, no matter how destructive or irrational it may appear. Behavioral choices are considered driven by internal images of how we would like things to be, within our unique “quality world.” These internal images are based on basic needs shared by all humans, individual variation exists in the strength and degree of importance of these needs.

Reality Therapy, based in Choice Theory, focuses on choice and responsibility in how we decide to lead our lives in the present moment. Responsibility involves learning to choose behaviors that will satisfy individual basic needs while simultaneously not depriving others of the opportunity to do the same. In Reality Therapy, excuses for irresponsible behaviors are considered unacceptable and individuals are allowed to experience the natural consequences of their behavioral choices. A common question asked within counseling is, “Does your current behavior have a reasonable chance of getting you what you want now, and will it move you in the direction you wish to go?”

Choose to Put “We” Before “Me”

“True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared.” – Thomas Merton A romantic relationship is the combining of two individuals with their own unique sets of traits, preferences, and dreams.  A vast array of conscious and unconscious factors play into our initial attraction towards another person.  We are…

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3 Reasons People Choose to Depress

“Depressed people think they know themselves, but maybe they only know depression.” – Mark Epstein Most of us agree that we don’t “enjoy” feeling miserable.  For people dealing with depression, the mere implication that they are choosing their own suffering can be very upsetting.  Rather than get caught up in feeling misunderstood, invalidated, or just…

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Choice Theory: 7 Relationship Habits

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke As long as we insist…

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Is Mental Illness a Choice?

The way that we understand “mental illness” has an enormous impact on how we view individuals suffering from psychological and emotional conditions.  Do we believe these individuals to be suffering from a “disease” beyond their control or from normal responses to abnormal situations?  There is much debate over whether or not psychological and emotional conditions…

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