HomeAbout Dr. P.BookChoice Psychology FAQs

CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY FAQs

WHAT IS CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY?
Choice psychology is a term I coined to describe a new way of thinking about relationships and emotions. It’s based on the groundbreaking work of renowned psychiatrist William Glasser, MD, developer of “choice theory.” Simply put, choice psychology holds that the quality of our experience is determined by the behavior we choose, not by external factors.

HOW CAN CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY HELP IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE?
Most unhappiness stems from our efforts to control others, or to fend off their attempts to control us. Choice psychology is a positive approach to human relationships that can help you to:
· deal with others more effectively
· find greater satisfaction and success in your work
· enjoy a more creative and satisfying life
while overcoming the desire to control what others think and do.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY AND TRADITIONAL PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Traditional therapies focus on the external reasons for our distress, such as difficult parents or a chemical imbalance. Choice psychology states that it’s our responsibility to find effective ways to meet our basic needs, especially in the face of difficult circumstances.

WHAT ARE THESE BASIC NEEDS YOU REFER TO?
Power, love, freedom, safety, and fun. We're always choosing behavior, making our best attempt to meet one or more of these needs. When our efforts are successful, we’re happy. When they’re not, we develop symptoms such as anxiety or depression.

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY REGARDING PARENTING?
In my view, the best parents are those who are less concerned with shaping their child into the person they want him to be, and more concerned with creating the conditions for their child’s healthy growth and development.

WHAT IS CHOICE PARENTING?
Choice parenting, unlike the conventional “punishment-reward-timeout” formula, aims for more than simple compliance. It’s a specific method that encourages children to struggle with their challenges, enjoy their own successes, and develop a responsible, creative approach to life. Parents who use the choice parenting approach want their children to learn to make effective life choices. They encourage this process by being very engaged, but non-controlling. In this way, they build a strong parent-child relationship -- the key to resolving difficult behavior problems.

WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES OF CHOICE PARENTING?
We all want well-behaved children. In the choice parenting model, what we really want is for children to evaluate their own behavior and to make responsible choices as they encounter challenges in life. Here is a set of “tools,” or principles, that encourage kids to take responsibility. They’re explained more fully in my book, Choice Parenting.

· STAY CONNECTED
This is the foundation for every intervention you make with your child. The best way to stay connected is to try to see the sense in your child’s behavior. Instead of, “Holy smokes, what a mess! What’s the matter with you?” try, “I can see you’ve been having a lot of fun in here. How about helping me clean it up?”

· ENCOURAGE SELF-EVALUATION
Before you tell your child what you think about his behavior, ask him what he thinks. For example: “Are you satisfied with the grade you got on the quiz? What would it take to do better?”

· SET YOUR LIMITS

· PLAN TOGETHER.

 
 




Rich_Final_4-12.jpg
Dr. Richard Primason

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF CHILD-BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS THAT THIS APPROACH CAN HELP WITH?
The choice parenting approach can help to resolve problems with:
· Anxiety and separation
· School avoidance and phobias
· Homework hassles
· Bullying
· Depression and underachieving
· Aggression and disruptive behavior
· Learning differences or challenging temperament

HOW CAN CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY HELP ME FIND MORE SATISFACTION IN MY PERSONAL AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS?
As you learn to more effectively connect without controlling, the quality of all your relationships will improve. Many people complain that their partner is emotionally distant, so they resort to criticism or coercion to get the partner more involved. With a better understanding of choice psychology, you can let your partner know what you want in the relationship in a way that feels safer to him or her. The moment your partner joins you in this more connected conversation, a new, more satisfying pattern begins.

HOW CAN I USE THE PRINCIPLES OF CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY TO DEAL MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AT WORK?
We all have difficult people in our work lives. Difficult people usually have a strong need to control others. In dealing with a difficult boss or coworker, the key is to stay connected without being controlled. It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Try saying things like, “I see what you mean; I’m going to think about that idea,” or “You seem very unhappy about this assignment; I wonder what you can do to make it more appealing satisfying.”

I SUFFER FROM ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM. HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM THE CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY APPROACH?
Anxiety and depression are among the most common ways that people express unhappiness. Sometimes being anxious or depressed can be used as a tool to elicit an emotional response from others. With choice psychology, you can learn to resist the human impulse to manipulate other people into meeting your needs. As your relationships improve your needs will be more easily met, and the intensity of your symptoms should will diminish.

I'VE BEEN TOLD I HAVE A CHEMICAL IMBALANCE, AND THAT I'LL NEED ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS TO FEEL BETTER. IS THIS AT ODDS WITH CHOICE PSYCHOLOGY?
Many choice psychologists are opposed to psychotropic medication. I take a more moderate position. One danger with relying on drugs for emotional health is that it they can allow you to avoid responsibility for finding more effective ways to meet your basic needs. Your mood may improve, but your life won’t. This is why I generally recommend that people not use medication as their first step. There’s so much that can be done to improve mental health by changing the way you live. It’s best to start by looking at the quality of your primary relationships. Once you learn to choose caring, non-controlling behavior, you can try medication as an additional tool. But you probably won’t need to!

email: Rprimason@gmail.com
tel: (914) 478-2146