Choice Theory


Glasser Quality School

At Sunshine Beach State School we have been using William Glasser’s Choice Theory as our Psychological Base since 1994 to better understand human behaviour. In 2003 we became the first Glasser Quality School in Australia.


A Glasser Quality School actively builds quality relationships, encourages quality work from all, provides a need-satisfying environment and aims to encourage all learners and staff to achieve to their potential.

A GQS operates with Choice Theory as its Psychological Base. Some of the core concepts include:

  • Removal of fear and coercion
  • Doing quality work is deeply satisfying
  • Quality relationships enable quality learning
  • Self-evaluation and co-verification lead to quality learning outcomes.

Operating in this way actively removes barriers to learning.

Choice Theory – our psychological base

Choice Theory explains why and how we make choices that determine the course of our lives. Understanding human behaviour at this level gives us the tools to be happy people and build the life we want to live.

Choice Theory states:

  • The only person’s behaviour I can control is my own (trying to control others ruins the relationships I need).
  • Behaviour is always purposeful and chosen (and is our best attempt at the time to satisfy our Basic Needs).
  • I choose everything I do (and practically all I think). My emotions and physiology are a direct result of those choices.
  • We are internally driven by our genes to satisfy our Basic Needs (Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, Fun and Enjoyment).
  • I can change what I’m doing and thinking if it isn’t getting me what I need.
  • Each person is responsible for his / her behaviour.
  • Many long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.

How we use this information

Choice Theory underpins everything we do at Sunshine Beach State School. Quality relationships are our focus.

Helping our learners understand how and why they behave and how they can take more effective control of their lives is part of every class, every day.

Some of the ways we do this are:

  • Staff trained in Choice Theory, Reality Therapy and Lead Management
  • Implementing our whole-school Choice Theory curriculum, with explicit lessons and experiences taught across all year levels
  • Helping our learners to identify and balance their Basic Needs
  • Helping learners to grow from requiring co-management to being responsibly self-managed
  • Continually evaluating our practices by asking, ‘Is what we are doing getting us the Sunshine Seven Outcomes?’
  • Providing a continuum of support for those who need it.
Find out more about Choice Theory Psychology.



From the Sunshine Beach resource Centre:

  • Choice Theory, William Glasser, 1998
  • Take Charge of Your Life: How to get What You Need with Choice Theory Psychology, William Glasser, 2013
  • For Parents and Teenagers, Dissolving the Barrier Between You and Your Teen, William Glasser, 2003
  • The Quality School, William Glasser, 1998
  • Counselling with Choice Theory, William Glasser, 2001
  • Staying Together, William Glasser, 1996
Last reviewed 20 September 2019
Last updated 20 September 2019