The late Dr. Glasser was an internationally recognized psychiatrist who is best known as the author of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy he created in 1965 and that is now taught all over the world.
Born in 1925 and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Glasser was initially a Chemical Engineer but went into psychiatry when it became apparent to him that this was his real interest in life. He attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and took his psychiatric training at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles and UCLA (1954-57). He became Board Certified in 1961 and was in private practice from 1957 to 1986.
Dr. Glasser’s approach is non-traditional. He does not believe in the concept of mental illness unless there is something organically wrong with the brain that can be confirmed by a pathologist. Very early, he came to the conclusion that genetically we are social creatures and need each other and that the cause of almost all psychological symptoms is our inability to get along with the important people in our lives.
By 1980, he had begun to form the idea that led to Choice Theory: why so many people are unhappy in their relationships. Unlike all other living creatures, only human beings are genetically driven by the need for power. We try to satisfy that need by using what he calls, external control psychology literally trying to force people to do what we want them to do. This struggle has led to the symptoms described in the DSM-IV. Dr. Glasser teaches that if we are unable to figure out how to satisfy our power need by respecting each other, our days on earth are numbered. He offers choice theory to replace external control and dedicated the remainder of his life to teaching and supporting this idea.
Through the Institute for Reality Therapy which he founded in 1967, over 80,000 people worldwide have taken at least Basic intensive training to gain knowledge on how to apply his ideas in their professional life. They have discovered that by using choice theory, their personal relationships have improved as well.
Glasser’s path has been one of a continuing progression from private practice to lecturing and writing and ultimately culminating in the publication of over twenty books. After writing the counselling book, Reality Therapy (1965), he published his first book on education, Schools without Failure (1969), greatly expanded the understanding of motivation and behaviour with Choice Theory (1998), and finally added, Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health (2003), to help people improve their mental health and happiness. In (2005), he produced a booklet, Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Problem to provide a new resource for mental health professionals.
Under Dr. Glasser’s direction, his teachings have now spread to many countries and is actively promoted within them: Australia, Albania, Bahrain, Bosnia, China, Colombia, Croatia, England, Finland, Germany, Herzegovina, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, and Sweden.
As a result, William Glasser International (WGI) was formed under the direction of its International Board which included the late Dr. Glasser and its current chairperson John Cooper. WGI was authorized and recognized by Dr. William Glasser as the official international organization for Choice Theory, Reality Therapy, Lead Management, Glasser Quality Schools and other applications of Choice Theory psychology. Its primary task is to monitor all training leading to Choice Theory/ Reality Therapy Certification and the achievement of faculty status. The Institute also maintains the records of those who complete various stages of the process world-wide, produces publications, communicates with the memberships locally and world-wide, developing new courses and supporting research in the application of Dr. Glasser’s ideas.