Some of the influencers in my professional life are practitioners of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory, created by William Glasser. Though I don’t consider this my foundational theory (like Adam), there are elements that I appreciate. Why would I make my inaugural post about a theory that I don’t practice? Well, because I feel like this lesson is an important one when considering if you should go to counseling or not. A large component of Choice Theory is the idea that people have the power to choose how they want to live. With this in mind, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want?
- What am I doing to get what I want?
- Is it working?
Each of these questions is as important as the next. I practice from a client-centered, solution-focused theory. To me, having goals to work towards are essential in therapy. The first question is asking you to really think about what it is you’re hoping for, and in therapy we use this to create manageable, realistic goals. The second question is asking how you are working towards your goal at the present time. Are you utilizing your available resources or asking friends for help? Or are you doing anything at all? Sometimes we tell ourselves that we want something, like to have a six-pack by summer, but we continue to eat our favorite junk foods and lay on the couch. Sound familiar? Are you doing anything to change your current situation to look more like your ideal one? And lastly, is what you’re doing working? This question is essential, and might help you decide if you need someone like a therapist to help you reach your goals. You might think you have a handle on whatever it is your working on, but ask yourself, how long have you been trying what you’re doing, and is it really helping?
Consider the following example:
A client has been married to their significant other for over ten years. They have been feeling exhausted, unsupported, and alone being the only one to take care of the children and to do the house chores. Each day, the resentment and the frustration grows.
What do I want?
I want to feel supported, to have help, and to feel like my significant other cares about my happiness.
What am I doing to get what I want?
I continue working as I have been, hoping that my frustration will be clear and they will voluntarily decide to help. This way, I’m not nagging.
Is it working?
This situation is all too common. Maybe not this exact situation, but what it boils down to is that you have one partner desiring a change, but a lack of communication (or healthy communication) to the other partner. Maybe this frustration turns into constant arguments, but never really about what you want. Many times, I see clients who want their partner to read their minds, but ten years later, continuing to wait for this impossible feat to happen, nothing has changed and a lot of time has been wasted.
I hope that this post helps you to identify what it is you want in your life, and helps you to assess whether or not you are able to do this on your own. What I’ll tell you is that a support system is an integral part of your wellbeing, and that you never have to do things alone. Even if a therapist isn’t part of that support system, reach out to those around you to see if they can help you reach your goals!
Your listening ear,