When realities are meaningful, we develop an appreciative consciousness of values. When relationships are recognized and appreciated, we grow individually, socially, and spiritually. Our most closely held values are ideally cultivated within the context of personal experience thriough relationships.
William Glasser was an American psychiatrist. His theories were arrayed largely in opposition to conventional mainstream psychiatry. Where the prevailing tradition was to focus on classifying psychiatric syndromes as “illnesses” and prescribe psychotropic medications to treat mental disorders, Glasser believed that people sometimes process their frustrations in unhealthy ways, acting out due to a lack of any meaningful personal connection with the most important people in their lives.
Glasser’s emphasis was on education and in developing frameworks for finding and following healthy therapeutic direction. After being thrown off the staff at a VA hospital due to his anti-Freudian beliefs, He worked as a staff psychiatrist at a school for delinquent youth. There he developed many of the ideas that became the basis for what he called reality therapy. He authored and co-authored many influential books on mental health, counseling, school improvement, and teaching.
At the heart of Reality Therapy is Control Theory, and the latter is how Glasser often referred to his body of work. By 1996, the theoretical structure evolved into a more comprehensive methodology and it was renamed Choice Theory. From the very beginning, reality therapy, emphasized the present. The goals are to change current behavior, improve relationships, and thereby address the prevailing mental health conditions. Glasser believed that disconnects, from others, are at the core of the unhappiness that ensues, a person’s general dissatisfaction with life, and sometimes a variety of physical symptoms, including chemical imbalances.
His critics, are quick to point out, it is the legacy issues and resulting internal states that may be causing a person’s troubles. In reality therapy, the process begins by guiding a person’s attention away from past behaviors in order to focus on those that occur in the present. Practitioners hold that present needs are what’s most relevant, as they are the needs that can be satisfied.
From a philosophical perspective, the “here and now” focus on choice dovetails nicely with the alternative scenarios that were described long ago, in the Book of Deuteronomy, wherein God said: “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil.” Choice Theory emphasizes responsibility, commitment, and a willingness to change. The counseling process starts with assessing the state of relationships and any unmet needs, exploring what behaviors clients are manifesting that either help or prevent them from meeting their needs. It then aims to help them find better ways to improve relationships and fulfill their needs.
The unified mind of Jesus is our greatest example of what can be achieved through self-mastery. Successful living is built upon superior habits and dependable techniques for solving common problems. The solution to any problem often becomes obvious when the reason for such difficulty is first located and isolated. Impediments may include an inability to recognize our problems due to our failure to grapple with and overcome our most profound fears. Add to this our other common human foibles such as envy, deep-seated prejudices, clinging to illusions of safety and false feelings of security and the nature and gravity of our situation can be obscured.
The abandonment of fear, comforting illusions, and our long-cherished conceit is prerequisite to any real understanding of what a sincere and logical mind discovers. Within us is a powerful conspiracy of spiritual forces that can effect our final deliverance from the bondage of fear and the handicaps of time. We are, in purpose and ideals, empowered increasingly to subject the animal nature to the mastery of the Spirit. Evidence of character and the true measure of self-mastery stem from our trustworthiness.
The world presents plenty of evil, real and potential. This contrastive perfection and imperfection is stimulative of the choosing between truth and error, good and evil, righteousness or missing the mark. Prayer effects positive and enduring change within the individual who prays with sincere faith and confident expectation. It is the forerunner for peace of mind, cheerfulness, calmness, courage, fair-mindedness, and self-mastery.
Jesus told us it is by our love, for one another, that we will convince the world it is truly possible to pass from bondage to liberty, from darkness and death into light and life everlasting. To become the living channel of spiritual light to the person who sits in spiritual darkness is an ennobling experience. In the effectual working of God’s power, we are first transformed by the Spirit of Truth, strengthened in our inner souls by the constant spiritual renewing of our minds, and thus endowed with the power of the certain and joyous performance of the gracious, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
When we are born of the spirit, we are inducted to the joyous kingdom of the spirit. We produce the fruits of the spirit in our daily lives. The fruits of the spirit are best produced through the highest type of joyful and ennobling self-control, true self-mastery.