According to Glasser’s Choice Theory, we create “pictures” in our minds of our own ideal world where all our basic needs (survival, love and belonging, freedom, fun and power) are best met. Our Quality World View is a mental image or imagined place, a place where people, things, and beliefs that we think could satisfy our basic needs all exist.
While our Quality World View is not a real place, it has an impact on our everyday life. If we see that our life reflects the pictures in our Quality World View, then we feel good: our needs are being satisfied. If instead, we see a large gap between reality and our Quality World View, we won’t feel satisfied at all. This is the same for young people, and in most case more so for the kinds of young people whose behaviour is challenging.
More on Quality World View
Our Quality World View is a personal thing. Satisfaction isn’t determined by the specific pictures in the QWV, but by how well we see that our reality matches the mental images you have created.
For example, if our Quality World picture is of ourselves as a person who enjoys the outdoors, we may be disappointed if we work in an office and never get the chance to do anything active. Meanwhile, a person whose Quality World picture of themselves is as a bookworm, or as a person with no desire to engage with the elements, will be perfectly content with this scenario.
According to Glasser our Quality World View:
- Meets one or more of our five needs
- Is changing and changeable
- Is unique
- Can conflict with itself
- Varies in levels of intensity
- Varies in levels of attainability
Pictures of ourselves in our Quality World View are versions of our ideal ‘self’ that we want to see. If our Quality World picture of our ideal partner is one of excitement, or romantic dinners, flowers and gifts, the reality of a takeaway and television on a Saturday night is unlikely to satisfy our needs!
It’s within our power to be more satisfied; that is, to reduce the gap between our own reality and our Quality World View.
There are two approaches we can use:
1) We can change our reality to bring it closer to our Quality World View, or
2) We can change the pictures in our Quality World View.
If we realise that it will be difficult to feel happy and satisfied if our Quality World View is filled with rigid pictures of things over which we have no control, then we can try to use this to our advantage in our work with young people.
While we can’t control the way that other people behave, we can find ways of changing/developing/expanding a young person’s Quality World View to include us and/or the work we are trying to do with them.
- For those working in education, this will involve trying to make the learning experience engaging enough to feature in their QWV.
- For those working in care it may involve providing for certain needs that weren’t met in the home environment (survival or love and belonging, for example) thus becoming part of a young person’s QWV.
- For an outdoor instructor, a young person’s need for fun could be met through exciting activities, making it relatively easy to be part of a young person’s QWV if done with appropriate thought and care.
According to Glasser, the only hope we have of making a positive impact on behaviour is to find ways of making ourselves, as professionals, part of a young person’s QWV.
By meeting their needs in more productive and positive ways, we have a real opportunity to do this.
While this can be different depending on the role we play in a young person’s life – we just need to be creative about how we reduce the gap between their Quality World View and their reality through meeting needs.
Take some time to reflect on your Quality World View, in terms of what the images are in your mind and how close your reality is to the ideal place where all your needs are met.
Think about how it would affect you if the gap between your QWV and reality widened, and there was little you could do to control it. This is likely to have been the experience of most of the young people you will work with whose behaviour is challenging.