At The Write Time all staff have completed at least the basic training in Choice Theory/Reality therapy which is an intensive 4 day workshop run by the organisation Developing Youth Practice.
Reality therapy is a form of counselling and training based on a positive and optimistic view of human behaviour. It is a very warm and empowering method of counselling/problem solving based on Choice Theory, which is aimed at helping people gain more effective control over their lives. The theoretical base comes from “internal control” psychologies – ones that see behaviour as motivated from within rather than by external forces. The main model is “Choice Theory” and was developed by Dr William Glasser, an American psychiatrist.
KEY CONCEPTS OF CHOICE THEORY
1. Human behaviour is motivated by a desire to meet five basic needs (Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun). Our behaviour is always our best effort to meet a perceived shortfall between what we want (need) and what we are getting. All behaviour is Total Behaviour and is made up of four components: Acting, Thinking, Feeling and Physiology. All Total Behaviour is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
2. Young people are seen as doing the best they can at the time to satisfy their needs. It therefore gives the worker permission to be non-judgemental. The task of the worker is to enable the young person to try some more effective behaviours, or ways of getting what they want/need next time.
3. The only person we can control is oneself. This puts responsibility for a young person’s behaviour firmly back with them. This is very empowering once accepted. It stops young people making plans that are too dependent on other people and therefore not realistic, and from blaming other people for all their problems.
4. Attempts to control others damages relationships and are likely to be ineffective. Behaviours that damage reationships should be avoided and caring habits used instead:
The Seven Deadly Habits: Criticising, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing, Bribing or rewarding to control.
The Seven Caring Habits: Supporting, Encouraging, Listening, Accepting, Trusting, Respecting, and Negotiating differences.
5. We have most control over what we do and what we think. Feelings are important but are discussed more as indicators of how well needs are being met as they are very difficult to control by themselves.
6. The focus of the work is in the present and the future. The past is discussed rarely, and usually in respect of finding past successes. Although things that have happened to us in the past may affect our behaviour now, the problems these create are in the present.