Teaching: Total Behaviour

QUALITY SCHOOL RESOURCES  Choice Theory Axioms Workshop from Murray High School

Axiom #8 All we can do from birth to death is behave. All behavior is total behavior and is made up of four inseparable components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.
Axiom #9 All total behavior is designated by verbs, usually infinitives and gerunds, and named by the component that is most recognizable. For example, I am choosing to depress or I am depressing instead of I am suffering from a depression or I am depressed.
Axiom #10 All total behavior is chosen, but we have direct control over only the acting and thinking components. We can, however, control our feelings and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.

1. Have a student read Axioms #8, #9 and #10 aloud to the rest of the group.

2. (15 min.) Allow students to declare whether or not they agree with these
axioms. Each student should give some examples to
support their opinions.
— Count up how many agree and how many disagree and write the
numbers below:

Agree with Axiom #8 Disagree with Axiom #8

At beginning: _________ _________
At ending: _________ _________

Agree with Axiom #9 Disagree with Axiom #9

At beginning: _________ _________
At ending: _________ _________

Agree with Axiom #10 Disagree with Axiom #10

At beginning: _________ _________
At ending: _________ _________

3. (5 min.) Is it possible to stop BEHAVING? In its broadest sense, what does it
mean “to behave”?

4. (15 min.)Imagine that you are in a car that is skidding on an icy mountain road.
Your best friend is in the car with you, in the passenger seat.
You have just come from a party and have had five beers and
a Marguerita. Neither of you have on your seat belts.

— Describe how you are acting at this moment. What actions are you taking?
Be as specific as you can.

— Describe how you are feeling at this moment. What feelings are you most
conscious of?

— Describe what you are thinking at this moment. What thoughts are running
through your head? Are any thoughts repeating themselves over and
over? Which ones?

— Describe what your body is feeling like inside and outside right now. Are
you cold, hot, is your heart beating too fast, is your breathing irregular?
How alert are you?


4. (10 min.) — Acting
— Feeling
— Thinking
— Physiology

— These are the four components of Total Behavior. From easiest to change
to hardest to change, rank these four behaviors. Refer back to the
example in #3 to answer this question.

5. (20) Consider the two descriptions of Todd’s present existence listed below .
Which seems more true to life?
— Todd is depressed. He wants to sleep all the time and he can’t eat. He’s
failing all his classes and he’s angry at the world. He knows that he’s
just got to live through this because he’s been depressed before and
he’s just got to wait through the darkest part before he’ll have a chance at
feeling better.

— Todd is choosing to depress. He would rather feel the pain of a depression
than the pain of having lost his fiance to another man. He chooses to
sit alone at home in the dark and to think about his beautiful fiance’s face
over and over. He chooses not to eat, so he will grow weak and will feel
that he has been wronged. Perhaps his death would show her how
badly she has treated him and she will feel guilty.

** Which seems less like the attitude of a victim?
6. (25 min.) Look carefully at Todd’s total behavior again.
— Fill out the Present Total Behavior sheet. Put in all the actions that
Todd is choosing in the Acting Quadrant. Put in all the thoughts
that Todd is choosing to think in the Thinking Quadrant. Put in all
the feelings that Todd is experiencing in the Feeling Quadrant and
put all the Physiological symptoms he is experiencing in the
Physiology Quadrant.

— Fill out the Reinvented Total Behavior sheet. Begin with the actions
that Todd is choosing. How would they be different from the
actions he was choosing before?

— Next, clarify the specific thoughts that Todd will be thinking as he
chooses life rather than depression.

— What will Todd be feeling once he has decided not to indulge
himself in depressng.

— What will Todd’s body been experiencing once he stops choosing
to depress. Which seems to be a healthier choice for Todd,
to depress or not to depress?

— Name this sheet Todd’s Happy Total Behavior.

** Do you believe that it is possible for Todd to choose not to depress, or is he a
helpless victim of depression? Explain.

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