Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ah The Freedom to STAY me!

Saturday mornings, supermarkets and small children are never a good mix. It’s only a matter of time before someone’s child unleashes a vent of unrelenting fury from an overwrought and unappreciated parent dealing with just too much. Last Saturday, on an unexpected venture into madness, I witnessed another of these surges of rage. What caught my attention though was the look of apparent serenity on the daughter’s face. Her mum had lost control and was spitting missiles and tossing grenades but the girl seemed to have tuned out. “Wow,” I thought, “that is quite a skill.”

It reminded me of a friend who has an overbearing father. He used to drive her crazy. He used to be ‘in her face’, telling her what to do, giving his unsolicited opinion, offering advice on everything. I say ‘used to be’ because I have watched her over the years manage herself to the point he has backed right off. They never had an argument, in fact she has never addressed him directly about it – she just managed not to react, stay on track and gently persist until she got what she wanted. And I found myself thinking, “How does she pull that off?”

Until recently I’d only met a handful of people who would manage to maintain that space. I recall an intense meeting where the stakeholders came with knives barely sheathed and which would have turned into a bloodbath but for the rock solid centeredness of one operator. Despite the accusations, unstated agendas and bath of criticism, he remained utterly untouched. In fact, even better than that he could see through the battle to a position of peace and collaboration. As the meeting progressed his centeredness touched others – rather than the other way round – and drew the stakeholders to a balanced position ready for an alliance rather than a war. The outcome was satisfying but what intrigued me was...”How did he do that?”

Road rage, automated teleresponders, criticism from a loved one, the silent treatment..

I know what presses my buttons. I’ve seen what presses buttons for others

But there are some people who don’t seem to have buttons... is there a way to become one of those?

Because if there is ... just imagine what it could be worth...

What would it be worth to you...

  • To be released from the grief of being pushed around by other people
  • To be able to remain calm, centred and unflustered
  • To be able to protect your boundaries
    ...no matter what others dish up?

I have been on a 20 year quest, to work out precisely how they do that...
I wandered through Jung, Myers Briggs, NLP, meditation, various forms of spirituality, and countless popular psychology books... and then... ¾ of the way though my Doctorate... I discovered someone who embodied this ability, and knew why... she was an instructor of Choice Theory.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Choice Theory Stands to Attention!

We had been standing to attention in our starched Army uniforms for half and hour in the stifling Canberra summer heat. I could feel the warm drops of sweat running down the back of my legs and even though I was looking straight ahead I could just see one stubborn drop wobbling on the end of my nose. The officer strutted up and down in front of us, a look of contempt, no disgust on his face.

"Cadet Morris, this is your last chance, two wrong answers already, one more and you are painting rocks for the weekend, you didn't want to go on leave and see your family anyway, did you? In the trenches of Gallipoli, your forefathers, the ANZACs fought for the freedom of this country, they used their initiative, creating bombs out of jam tins. I want to know what brand of jam were those tins?"

My heart leapt, Morrie knew the answer to this one! We had been cramming our military history last night and I remembered this one, 'Golden Circle Pineapple Jam' the one with the rising sun logo. He just had to get it or we would all be out there this weekend helping him paint those rocks.

Morrie replied, he sounded confident and I was sure he remembered too. "Sir, I believe that the brand of jam that the ANZACS used at Gallipoli was definitely COTTEE'S Jam"

That was when the yelling began.

The sixteen of us spent what was meant to be our first weekend of freedom for twelve weeks giving the local geology a makeover with a bucket of white paint and a brush. In our starched Army uniforms with sweat running down the backs of our legs in the stifling Canberra sun.


What has this got to do with Choice Theory?

For me it was a turning point in my life and an opportunity to put to the test this idea that even when the going got tough it was how I thought about it and what I did that was the most important of all. What's more interesting is that at the age of seventeen I was given a gift of knowledge that set me up to grow and develop into the person I wanted to be through the challenges of my life.

To be honest I didn't always like that knowledge and sometimes I pretended to forget it or just plain ignored it! Looking back now I see that it is the philosophy on which I have lived my life and I am grateful for where it has taken me.

There isn't anything mystical or new age about Choice Theory. It is just a wonderful way to organise and understand your thinking that helped me (and countless others) to appreciate how and why I behave. Sounds easy? Well if you can wrap your mind around the idea that you choose everything you do then you are more than half way there!


Not a car, a gift for life

My story begins with the fact I was born into a household in which my psychologist father loved to practise what he preached on his kids! Yep, I'm not joking we were walking, talking, (talking back!) guinea pigs! Like most strong willed (high freedom and power need) kids it took me a good twenty years to actually listen to what my parents were saying. When my father announced that my post year twelve gift was to take a course in Choice Theory - I was just a bit disappointed! No car?! No expensive watch? Definitely no holiday to Bali? (for the Gen Y's - schoolies was not yet invented!) Nope not for me! In the end this gift from my parents as unexciting as it first seemed was in fact a gift for life, it became the pen that taught me to be the author of my own story.

I was on the verge of adulthood. I had enlisted into the Australian Army as an Officer and was just weeks away from my recruit training. In the four day course I was presented with the idea that whatever emotions I felt, thoughts I had or physical feelings I had - it was all under my control. It was mind blowing and turned my view of the world on its head! I had just been through adolescence and emotions just seemed to happen to you, at least that's what my friends and I had thought. Now I couldn't let myself see others as the cause of any of my unhappiness, but saw it was my choice about how I viewed each and every life experience.


A different approach

A month later I sat in a crowd of eager and apprehensive recruits waving goodbye to my family as we drove off into the horizon towards our new life in the Army. One of the differences between me and the rest of the young recruits on the bus was that I knew that no matter what I was going to face over the next eight weeks of induction I was mentally prepared to cope. I knew how to understand my emotions and to change my thoughts and how to control my physiology – those physical reactions that see so many people ‘break down’ during Army induction training.

Many of my fellow recruits would bounce from up to down, disaster to despair as we played the game of Army life for the first time. A lifestyle that is never predictable or stable and constantly throws you curve balls! Without a solid footing in understanding their behaviour many of my fellow cadets were swinging at the curve ball wildly, spinning on the plate just trying to get their balance as the next ball came flying at them!

I had my share of challenges and disasters (to be honest probably more than my share!) but with the understanding I had of my own psychology I managed my thoughts and emotions to successfully negotiate those first challenging weeks. It was later on during further training that the true value of applying Choice Theory came to the fore. That however, is another story entirely! It’s now 15 years later and I credit that first Basic Intensive Week in Choice Theory as the key to much of my personal success. The main concepts that the only person whose behaviour we can control is our own and that all behaviour is Total Behaviour and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology helped me to negotiate the obstacle course of Army life.

The Officer was standing in the shade, sipping an icy cold can of cola and eyeing us suspiciously. Morrie was beside me bucket in hand and his brush's bristles all squashed from their task of making boring old rocks look respectable.

'Hey Morrie' I giggled "I reckon we've only got another five million rocks to go!" "You know the craziest thing is about all this? sure were missing out on our weekend but were not the only ones" I grinned and shot a look back over to the gum tree where the Officer was standing sipping on his cola. "Just remember mate, they can take away our weekend but they can't take away our sense of humour!"

Morrie looked up and smiled, "Hey thanks, I tell you what, I don't think I will ever forget Golden Circle Pineapple Jam for as long as I live and I reckon we've got more like three million rocks to go" and turning back to the next rock in line Morrie flourished his paintbrush and gave his rock a makeover, starting with a big smile and two twinkling eyes.
Rebekah Russell runs 'My Potential' and is a coach, facilitator and trainer amongst many other things! She likes surfing (on a mini mal and not very well!), playing 'The Gruffalo' with her kids and writing for fun.
My Potential – Coach, Learn, Lead, Inspire www.rebekahrussell.com
Faculty William Glasser Institute, Coach, Facilitator and Trainer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bob Sullo

We are very excited in both New Zealand and in Australia about the visit of Bob Sullo.  Bob, senior faculty with the William Glasser Institute, lives in Massachusetts and has family in Brisbane.  While he is in Australia he is working in Queensland and Adelaide Bob has a great blog which focuses on inspiring student motivation. Check out his message as he helps with the application of Choice Theory in school settings.

His workshops on the Gold Coast is titled Grow the Child Not Just Measure Him or Her.  It is about dealing with national testing by improving learning outcomes through self evaluation.

Contact WGI-A for further information.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A simple message based on 20 years of experience

Gary Garnaut on one of the key tricks of choice theory:

Five People Complete the Advanced Practicum

From Tuesday Nov 16:

Congratulations to the 5 participants who signed off on their Advanced Practicum on Tuesday night and who are completing Certification in December. It has been a quality experience in every way and a privilege to be a part of their  journey and to work alongside them.  Liz and I  will miss our get- togethers as they have been such rewarding and enlightening occasions.

We wish them well as they embark upon the next phase of their journey with Choice Theory.

Di Childs

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How one guy made the choice against alcoholism

What happened on the way to the grand old Oprey

Floods had destroyed the Grand Old Oprey. It was being re-invented although many said it couldn’t be done. And on my way to the new venue I found out that people are always re-inventing themselves. Bill Glasser and his Choice Theory came to mind again.

Getting a lift from the Choice Theory Conference to the Grand Old Oprey, the chauffeur driver quizzed me.

He said: “I’ve been looking at a book from your bookstore at the conference on CT and alcoholism.” He asked: “Do you believe alcoholism is a disease?”

I replied “No I don’t. Choice Theory would say the consumption of alcohol is a choice

You choose to buy the alcohol, you choose to pour it down your throat, and you are not controlled by some mysterious brain disease.”

The taxi driver said, “This goes against modern medical and psychiatric beliefs because everyone says alcoholism is a disease!”

I explained to him that Choice Theory says that we choose all we do in order to get what we want. A person might choose alcohol to deal with a difficulty in their lives and it becomes a habit. There is one thing you can do, “Stop drinking!”

He shook his head. I said to him, “Tell me your story.”

He replied, “When I came back from Vietnam, I was an alcoholic. I married and got on with my life. It seemed to be working for me until one day my wife said to me “If you continue drinking, the children and I will be leaving”.I stopped drinking that day and I have never drunk since. I own a fleet of hire cars and run a successful business.”

I asked him, “How did you stop?”

He said, ”I just did it”

I asked, “How did you do it? Were there any withdrawal symptoms?”

“For a few days but I didn’t pay much attention to them.” “What kept you on the straight and narrow?” I enquired. “I decided that my wife and family were more important than drinking. It’s as simple as that.”

I said, “That is great. That really demonstrates what we teach in Choice Theory. We choose all we do because it is the best choice we can make at the time. When you realised the consequences of your decision to continue drinking you chose a more satisfying option!”

I mentioned to him that in Dr. Glasser’s book “Positive Addiction” he says that we need to replace negatively addictive behaviours with more positive ones.

He nodded, “I chose my wife, my family and my business. But most of all, I chose myself.”

And I had had a great night at the Grand Old Oprey, in more ways than one.

A real life experience from Ivan Honey, Psychologist, Senior Faculty WGI-Aust. with assistance from Gary Garnaut.

In his spare time Ivan embraces the beauty of our natural world and can be found bushwalking or biking around his home town of Bendigo. He also loves spending time with his ever increasing family and grandchildren meeting his ‘Fun’ & ‘Love and Belonging’ needs. Ivan’s preferred mode of transport is his VW Volkswagen bus which was much of his inspiration for the Cars’R'Us Cards.

For more information visit www.ivanhoney.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nancy Snow on the value of Choice Theory in relationships

From the Hunter Valley, Nancy discusses how Choice Theory can serve as a tool for simply making one's life better

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gentle Way

Life is about solving problems - making decisions on a minute by minute basis in the hope of shortening the distance between what we have and what we want: the difference between our resources and our desires. On the one hand there are all the things we want – material, intellectual, emotional and spiritual - which we believe will give us happiness. On the other hand there are the givens - the stress, the work hours, the debt, depression, and disappointing relationships. Choice Theory provides us with both a map and the skills to navigate the life challenges to best meet our desires. It is a grounded, logical way to understand the how and why we behave to lead to more effective control of our lives.

It is an unconditional, non-judgemental and compassionate way of viewing ourselves in the world. As we learn to take responsibility for our own lives we become more compassionate towards others and their life choices. Being aware of the choices, we can open multiple pathways to transcend the limiting beliefs of external control. A loving, spiritual life to transform the crappy side to a happiness..

Di Childs
Dorothy Devine
John Cooper

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Last night I finished a basic practicum with a group of 8 professionals (lawyers, teachers, principals, pastoral care workers). There were 2 final presentations that demonstrated just how deeply integrated Choice Theory has become for them. I'll post up some video links soon. But here's what some of them had to say...

"...the practicum is very useful in deepening understanding especially when working with aggressive clients in gaining better knowledge of how not to use external control..."


"...the practicum was a fantastic experience. It has enabled me to internalise the theory, reality therapy & lead management to a point where I now feel more confident using this material."

Couldn't ask for more than that as their supervisor!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Choice Theory as a Business Coach

Another of our "one minute" grabs on what Choice Theory means to me...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dr Glasser Interview from 1998

This is a nice little interview that a "tweet buddy" helped me find:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An example of why I love being a Choice Theory Reality Therapy counsellor

After 17 years of chronic depression’ June’ arrived at my office on pleading recommendations from her family who knew me. Allergic to antidepressants and a prisoner in her own home, June had not washed her kitchen floor for 3 years, lived her life on the web as was suffering a broken heart from a failed web relationship.

Instead of focusing on what led to the depression, I said, “ Let’s focus on if you could have life the way you want it and be in your life in the way you want, how would that be? June went for gold and literally started to physically and emotionally sparkle. In one hour she stated her goals and aims, her desires to let go of the failed relationships and her desire to reconnect with her sons. June attended 5 sessions only. From session one to five, her whole life changed. Seeing her gold picture for the first time she raced ahead of sessions realising goals, making connections, mending 17 years of damage. Her sons had waited their whole lives for this moment and they grabbed it. She took her sons on a family holidays, she attended her son’s 21st birthday, and even began a new relationship with someone she met on the internet and continued that face to face. June died as a result of an accident before her sixth session. However, her family who all thought she was a loser and chronically unable to be helped, discovered that June was connected to literally thousands of people over the world who she had supported in their depression and isolation. Her oldest son made a web page and two years later people still click on and add to the blog of how June helped them.

June’s biggest loss to herself was that for over 20 years she couldn’t connect but prior to her death she completely turned it around beyond what either of us could have ever thought possible. Junes changed her life because for the first time a therapist focused on at her quality world picture and assisted her to self assess her actions and create a new life. Via understanding her basic needs and her choices through learning about Choice Theory, this was made possible.

Kalikamurti Suich

A Simpler Life with Choice Theory

We were here on Sunday November 7

Friday, November 5, 2010

We're here

Today is the first day of the WGIA marketing operations subcommittee. I'll just call it MOS.
Marketing in not a dirty word, nor is it a mystical process where a "guru" waves a magic wand and instantly things are right. As with a person getting their own head into shape, generating marketing results is about persistent hard work.
And the marketing results we want are furthering the ideas of Dr Glasser, with an ultimate result of more people doing Choice Theory training.
And that can't be a bad thing.