Research Ideas

The William Glasser Institute Ireland extends a special welcome to those who are studying or researching in the areas of counselling, psychology, education, personal well-being and management. On this special page we are putting together ideas and resources that we hope will be of use to students and, indeed, to their tutors in this area. Careful scientific methodology is the best guarantee we have to ensure that what we believe and do is valid and effective.  What follows is a list of ideas for research, for projects and essays.

RESEARCH: Construct Validation

  • Internal Control of Human Behaviour
    • What evidence can we offer that Human Behaviour is controlled from within the person rather than by external stimuli. The research by Albert Bandura on self-efficacy may provide useful material.
  • The existence of Five Basic Needs
    • Can evidence be offered, preferably with a strong cross-cultural dimension, that Glasser’s five basic needs are the ultimate driving forces of our behaviour? Dr. Jesús Miranda Páez has laid excellent groundwork for this approach using factor analysis.
    • Is there a direct relationship between deficiencies in need satisfaction and behaviour? Does a person choose behaviours that restore equilibrium in the needs?
    • Do different individuals have different needs intensities? If such differences exist are they genetic or learned?
    • Does a person’s Needs Intensities profile give some indication of how that person might interact with others? How do people with different needs intensities interact?
  • Trans-cultural and language comparisons of the Total Knowledge Filter
    • What part does the classification or identification of external stimuli play in our perceptual systems? There are cultural differences in the use of language (for example, “green” in English does not refer to the same sample of the colour spectrum as “verde” in Spanish). Social Psychology will provide lots of useful material around these issues.
  • Phenomenology: the role of Perceptions in Human Behaviour
    • George Kelly of Construct Theory once said that nobody ever responded to a stimulus but to their perception of a stimulus. The crucial intermediary role of perception and indeed the very nature of “reality” itself give ample scope for research.
  • The Values Filter and Perceptual Set
    • Perceptual set is well researched in Psychology but the links between the Values Filter and the Quality World give scope for new research in the context of Choice Theory.
  • Cultural influences on the Values Filter
    • Hand-in-hand with the cultural differences in the Quality World go differences in the values filter.
  • Cultural influences on the Quality World
    • This area of research could also include sub-cultures such as different religious groups.
  • The Relationship between Quality World and Behaviour
    • How do the images that a person accumulates in his/her Quality World reflect in that person’s behaviour?
  • The origins of the Quality World
    • Where and when do the “pictures” in the Quality World come from? Are specific parts of the Quality World formed at special critical phases of development? Related areas that may merit more specialized research are “obsessions”, fanatacism, fundamentalism and any form of “hero worship”.
  • Organized Behaviour
    • Do people have special “databases” or vocabularies of behaviours that they call on when problem-solving or decision-making?
  • Reorganizing Behaviours
    • Can we show that people dip into their creativity when their Organized Behaviours do not have solutions for new problems?
  • Total Behaviour: the totality of acting, thinking, feeling and physiology
    • Do these four components really work together in an inseparable way? Does changing any one of them effectively change the others? (Biofeedback methodology may provide valuable data here.)

RESEARCH: Effectiveness

General aspects of Effectiveness

  • Establishment of Criteria for the Evaluation of Effectiveness
  • Identification of Sources of Variance in measures of Effectiveness
  • Ethical Considerations in Research into Counselling Effectiveness
  • Comparative Studies of Effectiveness of different Counselling Approaches

NB: Choice Theory does not accept the traditional diagnostic labels of psychiatry insofar as they imply that the corresponding behaviours always stem from disorders of the brain or from chemical imbalances. The Choice Theory explanation of pathological symptoms and behaviour contrasts sharply with the more medically-oriented views. Research does need to identify particular client groups and it is for this purpose only that some of the traditional labels are used below.

The Effectiveness of Reality Therapy for:

  • General Counselling
  • Career Counselling
  • Bereavement Counselling
  • Conflict/Mediation/Negotiation
  • Group Therapy
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Personal Development
  • Counselling Addicts
  • Social Skills Deficiencies
  • Couples with Relationship Problems
  • Parent/Child Relationships
  • Sexual Identity Issues
  • Anger Management
  • Suicidal Clients
  • Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia
  • Attention Deficit Behaviour
  • Asberger’s Syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Post-natal Depression
  • Manic Depression (Bi-polar)
  • Neuroses
  • Post-Traumatic Stress
  • Schizophrenia/Psychosis
  • Dealing with Life-long Illness or Disability
  • Dealing with Terminal Illness

The Effectiveness of Choice Theory in Education (The Quality School)

  • General Impact on a Class group or whole school
  • Personal Development
  • Academic Achievement
  • Behaviour and Discipline
  • Attendance and Punctuality

The Effectiveness of Choice Theory in Management (Lead Management)

  • Productivity
  • Group Decision Making
  • Demarcation/Collaboration
  • Worker Attendance and Punctuality

RESEARCH: Factors Affecting Counselling

  • Components of Involvement and their influence on the Counselling Process
  • Analysis of Quality World Exploration techniques
  • Analysis of the use of Self-Evaluation in Reality Therapy Counselling
  • Analysis of Planning in Reality Therapy
  • Factors influencing the length of counselling, number of sessions, duration of sessions


  • Choice Theory: Its origins and development
  • Choice Theory and Mental Health
  • The Brain and the Mind
  • Empathy and Involvement: Similarities and Differences
  • Total Behaviour and Biofeedback
  • Reality Therapy: Is it a Cognitive Therapy?
  • The client-centred nature of Reality Therapy
  • The role of teaching in Reality Therapy
  • The Role of Feelings in Reality Therapy
  • Mental Illness is not an Illness
  • The differing roles of Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists
  • Choice Theory and the concept of Creative Illness
  • “Guilty but insane”: The Choice Theory View
  • Responsibility and Awareness in Reality Therapy
  • The Evaluation of Counselling
  • How the Basic Needs of Students are met on the campus
  • Basic Needs Intensities: Nature or Nurture
  • Sex and the Basic Needs
  • Money and the Basic Needs
  • Drug Addiction from a Choice Theory Viewpoint
  • The Quality World of Students
  • Choice Theory and its impact on educational methods
  • The Impact of Piagetian Formal Operations Thinking on the Quality World
  • A Choice Theory analysis of Crime and Punishment
  • Choice Theory and Linguistics: Interactions between thought, language and behaviour
  • The Medical Model versus the Psychological Model
  • Chemistry or Choice?
  • Application of Choice Theory to Child-Rearing practice
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Adlerian Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Cognitive Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Brief Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Solution Oriented Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Primal Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Psychoanalysis
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Behavioural Therapy
  • Comparison of Reality Therapy and Gestalt Therapy
  • Can Creativity be taught? A Choice Theory Perspective
  • A Choice Theory Analysis of the Life of Salvador Dalí
  • The Survival Need: the Individual or the Species?
  • The Ethics of Individual Need Fulfilment versus the Common Good
  • Critical Phase Learning and the Development of the Quality World
  • From a Quality School to a Quality Community: The application of Choice Theory in the Community
  • Implications of Choice Theory for Democracy
  • The Use of Choice Theory during the Balkan Conflict
  • The Political implications of Choice Theory
  • Choice Theory and Parenting
  • Needs Intensities and Dating
  • DSM IV – Fact or Fiction

Existing RT/CT Research

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