It All Begins With Relationships: The Glasser Quality School Model

It All Begins With Relationships: The Glasser Quality School Model

Jane V. Hale, Patricia A. Robey
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8963-2.ch007
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Understanding choice theory provides a foundation for developing relationships and is the central component of the Glasser quality school model. Choice theory is William Glasser's explanation of human behavior and motivation. It is based on the premise that we all have five basic needs: love and belonging, power and achievement, the freedom to be independent and make choices, the joy in having fun, and basic needs of survival and safety. In a quality school, the goal of administrators, teachers, counselors, staff, and support personnel is to create an environment in which everyone in the system, especially the students, gets his or her needs met in responsible, respectful ways. In this chapter, the Glasser quality school criteria is explained in addition to the behavioral habits that help build relationships and the behavioral habits that break down relationships. Stories that highlight the experiences of administrators, teachers, and counselors who put Glasser's concepts into action are included to illuminate the essence of the Glasser quality school model.
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William Glasser

Historically, Glasser’s focus on the importance of relationships began as a result of his early experience as a psychiatrist in a veteran’s hospital and in his work with adolescent delinquent girls. Glasser wrote about these experiences in his books Mental Health or Mental Illness (1960) and Reality Therapy (1965). Glasser, who was psychoanalytically trained, discovered that a psychoanalytic approach to therapy was not effective for the populations he served. Glasser argued for the importance of building a personally connected and collaborative relationship with his patients instead of being in a hierarchical relationship in which therapy was oriented to an exploration of the past, with a focus on the unconscious and achieving insight. Glasser’s focus was on mental health instead of mental illness, noting that the problems we face in our lives are basically due to the difficulty we experience in our interpersonal relationships. His therapeutic approach was based primarily on establishing a good working relationship with his patients, and then helping them accept personal responsibility for the areas in which they had some control. Glasser helped his patients identify ways to make changes that led to meaningful relationships with self and with others.

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