Sunday, April 19, 2015

William Glasser was a highly-respected psychotherapist who intially labeled his research into psychological and physical well-being “Reality Therapy.” Without going into too much technical detail, here are the basic needs he identifies for every human being:

  1. Physical well-being (biological needs met)
  2. Freedom
  3. Power
  4. Love and Belonging
  5. Fun

I like to describe these five points as five legs of a stool. If any one leg is broken, the stool is not sturdy or grounded. If more than one of these legs is broken (i.e. any need is not met), the stool could fall over. 

Whenever I’m feeling out of sorts, “ungrounded,” I ask myself if any of these five legs has broken or is cracked. Usually, there will be at least one. This allows me to analyze what the issue is in order to attempt to target a remedy. Now Glasser has a whole book of tactics on how to remedy each of these. You will have to read his research to see if you agree or if you want some very practical solutions. Let it suffice to say that identifying the unmet need is the first and most crucial step in finding a solution. This theory can be applied to any area of our lives: discontent in a job, marital issues, lack of purpose, social anxiety, etc. 

Many in the mainstream are so busy working, parenting, hopefully playing and having fun that sometimes we don’t take time to identify the need(s) not being met, so we walk around tense or anxious blocking out whatever might be causing a feeling of malaise or emptiness. William Glasser’s theory has been a useful tool for me both personally and professionally. If you’re feeling “out of sorts” and can’t figure out why, give it a try.