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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Im very interested in a second opinion or Dr. Wm. Glasser'

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I'm very interested in a "second opinion" or Dr. Wm. Glasser's "Choice Theory".

I've been under treatment for arthritis for nearly 15 years (I'm 53). I had a total knee replacement in 2001. I have also been taking anti-depressents for at least 20 years.

My Psychologist, who I've met with twice has told me to read the book, which I have, AND, that, the depression & arthritis are literally "totally your own fault". I'm both confused and angered by this - could somebody comment please?
Do most people in the Mental Health field really believe people CHOOSE to be depressed, anxious, have schizophrenia! That they CHOOSE to have arthritis as well as other autoimmune diseases?

I'm considering bailing on this "seek counseling" idea because I can't get my head around actually choosing these things! I acknowledge I've made some poor choices in my life - but not any diferently from the people all around me - ? Thanks Sara
Hi servus. I can understand why you would be angered and confused by this concept. As you have read the book, I won't go into a lot of detail around the theory. But basically, according to Glasser, our behavior is made up of acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. Glasser says that we have control or choice about how we think and act, but we little choice over feelings and physiology. As these four components are closely intertwined, the choices we make in our thinking and acting greatly affect our feelings and physiology. Technically then, we can choose how our lives will be.

I don't think this means that your depression and arthritis are "totally your own fault." But I do agree with the basic tenets of the theory. We CAN control our thoughts and actions, and our thoughts directly influence our feelings and how we take care of ourselves physically. I don't think the point of this is to make you feel bad and guilty. The point is to help empower you to realize that you have much more control over your moods and your life than you think you have. This isn't a bad awareness.

I would encourage you not to bail on the counseling idea. There are many benefits you can derive from this process. But if you don't feel you have a good fit with your psychologist because of their theoretical orientation, please look for another one. However, you might want to talk with your psychologist first to clarify their position on this theory. I would imagine the book was to introduce you to this concept, not to leave you with the feeling that these things are your fault.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Are you saying that you agree with Dr. Glasser, that thru our choice of THOUGHTS, we cause our own physical disabilities, such as high cholesterol or autoimmune disease?
No necessarily, although there are certainly people who do believe that. What I believe is that we can choose our thoughts and actions, and this influences our feelings and physiology. I am not comfortable saying that we cause our physical disabilities, but I won't say we don't have any control over them either. There are numerous studies showing that thinking and behavior does influence physical problems, from cancer to blood pressure. So to dismiss the idea outright, in my opinion, would not be wise. But that doesn't mean I think anyone is to blame for their physical problems. Again, I see this theory as being beneficial from the perspective of encouraging us to be more proactive in how we choose to live, because the effects of our choices can be more far-reaching than we think. Tamara
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