Development of Ideas

Development and Evolution of William Glasser's Ideas

The following is a chronology of Dr. William Glasser's ideas.

(click here to download pdf)


1925William Glasser is born on May 11th, in Cleveland Ohio to Ben and Betty Glasser.
1942Graduates from Cleveland Heights High School. Enters CASE School of Applied Science.
1945Completes B.Sc. degree in chemical engineering and begins work as a chemical engineer for Lubrizol at CASE.
1946Enrolls in a psychology program at Western Reserve University in the spring and enters Master’s program in the fall. Is drafted into the army and after basic training in Alexandria, Virginia, goes to Dugway Proving Ground in Utah where he tests German poisonous gasses.
1947Is discharged from the chemical corps after 7 months service and
re-enters Master’s Program at Western Reserve.
1948Completes Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and enters the doctoral program at Western Reserve.
1949Enters Western Reserve University Medical School.
1953Graduates from Medical School. Begins internship as a physician at Veterans Administration Center in Los Angeles, CA.
1954Commences psychiatric residency as a ward doctor at the Brentwood Veterans Neuropsychiatric Hospital in West Los Angeles. Works with male patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
1956Begins work as a psychiatrist for the Ventura School for Delinquent Girls and also at the Neuropsychiatric Institute and Outpatient Clinic at UCLA. Meets with G.L. Harrington who says “join the club” of those who do not believe in mental illness. Opens private practice office.
1957Completes residency at VA Hospital and at UCLA. Commences work with paraplegics at the Orthopedic Hospital.
1958Begins lecturing on mental health vs. mental illness for the California Youth Authority.
1960First book Mental Health or Mental Illness? is published
1961Becomes a Board Certified Psychiatrist. Starts using his ideas in public schools in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Palo Alto, CA. Is invited to a “think tank” at the Corning Conference in New York.
1962 First coins the term for his ideas as reality psychiatry at an America Correctional Association lecture In Seattle, WA. In October, while lecturing at the British Columbia Correctional Association, he changes the name to Reality Therapy in order to reach all people working in the helping professions, not just psychiatrists.
1963Extensive Lecturing in Addictions and Corrections while maintaining a private practice.

After consulting for eight years with G.L. Harrington, Dr. Glasser prepared for his upcoming book.
1965Reality Therapy is published by Harper and Row and is a huge success. Begins working in Watts in the Los Angeles Unified Public School District.
1966Finishes work at the Orthopedic Hospital.
1967Establishes The Institute for Reality Therapy. Continues work at the Ventura School for Delinquent Girls.
1968Educator Training Center is established with Doug Naylor as the Director. Works with Donald O’Donnell, Principal in Palo Alto, to create a model elementary school program. 
1969Schools Without Failure is published.
1970Is interviewed by U.S. News and World Report.
1971Consults with schools to create Schools Without Failure.
1972 Identity Society is published.
1973 Continues to consult with schools.
1974Books sell all over the world and are translated into almost every language in the civilized world. Interview by Berges in the Los Angeles Times.
1975Produces a play (which he wrote) called “Beehive,” which runs for 6-7 months in LA theaters. (Coincidentally, the TV series, Three’s Company, airs the following season with the same theme as Beehive. The first Reality Therapy Certification class is held.
1976Positive Addiction is published. Meets William Powers after reading his book, Behavior: The Control of Perception.
1977Goes to Chicago to consult with Powers. Interview by Muro for article in The Humanist Educator. Begins to develop a theory of human behavior based on William Powers’ ideas.
1978 Writing and working with the ideas of Control Theory.
1979Lecturing extensively throughout the United States and Canada.
1980What Are You Doing?, a book on case studies, is published, edited by Naomi Glasser, his wife at the time. The 1st Convention is held in Los Angeles.
1981Stations of the Mind is published. The 2nd Reality Therapy Convention is held in St.Charles, IL. Advisory Board of Directors of The Institute for Reality Therapy is formed. The International Journal of Reality Therapy is launched with Dr. Larry Litwack as editor.
1982Interview by Evans for The Personnel and Guidance Journal. The 3rd International Convention is held in Houston, TX.
1983 The 4th International Convention is held in Boston, MA.
1984Take Effective Control of Your Life is published. The 5th International Convention is held in Copper Mountain, CO.
1985Take Effective Control of Your Life is reprinted in paperback as Control Theory. The 6th Annual International Conference is held in Montreal, Quebec.
1986Control Theory in the Classroom is published. The Glasser Scholarship Fund is started to help provide training for Reality Therapy Certification. Private practice office is closed due to extensive lecture schedule, worldwide. The 7th International Convention is held in Seattle, WA.
1987Is interviewed by Gough for the Phi Delta Kappan Magazine. Senior Faculty training program developed for instructors. The 8th Annual International Convention is held in Hollywood, FL
1988Brandt interview in Educational Leadership. Robert Wubbolding becomes the first and current Director of Training. The 9th Annual International Convention is held in Scottsdale, AZ. Achievement Inc. is launched in Toyko, Japan.
1989Is invited to join the distinguished faculty of pioneers in the Psychological professions for the renowned Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference. Cockrum interview in Psychology, A Journal of Human Behavior. Control Theory in the Practice of Reality Therapy is published. The 10th Annual International Convention is held in Kansas City, MO.
1990The Quality School is published. Chance/Bibens interview in Middle School Journal. Receives honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from the University of San Francisco. Begins disassociating himself from discipline programs in schools. The 11th Annual Convention is held in Cincinnati, OH., marking the 25th anniversary of the book, Reality Therapy.
1991The Quality School ideas spread and training to establish the first Glasser Quality School in Michigan takes place. No Annual Convention is held this year but regional conferences take place.
1992 Naomi Glasser, wife of 46 years, dies of cancer. The Institute members sadly mourn her death. The 12th Annual International Convention is held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and dedicated to Naomi Glasser.
1993 The Quality School Teacher is published. The 13th Annual International Convention is held in Sunbelt in New Orleans, LA.
1994 The Control Theory Manager is published. Begins a serious relationship with Carleen Floyd, an instructor for The Institute, with a school counseling background. Together they begin work in the Schwab Middle School in Cincinnati, OH., to train staff in the Quality School ideas. The 14th Annual International Convention is held in Dublin, Ireland.
1995 Staying Together is published. Marries Carleen, July 8, 1995 at the 15th International Convention in Philadelphia, PA. While in Ireland, Irish instructors say the title “Control” Theory is misleading and should be changed to reflect the rejection of external control. Presents at the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Choice Theory replaces Control Theory in a talk just north of Brisbane, Australia - part of an extensive three month speaking tour in New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Japan and Singapore. The name of The Institute for Reality Therapy, Control Theory, and Lead Management is changed to The William Glasser Institute. At the 16th International Convention in Albuquerque, NM, Glasser takes a formal stand against the use of discipline programs in all schools. This resulted in some faculty leaving The Institute.

1997 Educator Training Center is dissolved. The 17th International Convention is held in Portland, OR. The Glassers speak throughout Europe, Norway, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and Great Britain. Coins the subtitle for the new book Choice Theory to be “A New Psychology of Personal Freedom” because to the Croatians and Slovenians, Choice Theory represents “freedom”. Presented the Quality Community ideas to the Corning New York School District.
1998 Choice Theory, is published, and Choice Theory the Flip Side of Control (co-authored by Carleen) is published in 1999 by HarperCollins as The Language of Choice Theory. The 18th Annual Convention is held in Orlando, Florida. The Glassers speak in Galway and London.
1999 The 19th William Glasser Institute International Convention is held in Los Angeles, CA. The Glassers speak in Bogata, Colombia in August. Four more books are in production.
2000 What is This Thing Called Love? co-authored with Carleen is self-published, as is Every Student Can Succeed. Getting Together and Staying Together (also co-authored with Carleen) is published by Harper Collins. Reality Therapy in Action (later called Counseling with Choice Theory, the New Reality Therapy) follows. Speaks at the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim, California. The 20th International Convention is held in Ottawa, Canada. Speaks in Israel and Slovenia.
2001 Fibromyalgia: Hope From a Completely New Perspective is self-published. Control Theory in the Classroom is reprinted as Choice Theory in the Classroom. The 21st Annual International Convention is held in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Glasser promotes Linda Harshman, Administrator, to the position of Executive Director of The Institute.
2002 Nelson interview for Teacher Education Quarterly. Unhappy Teenagers is published and later called For Parents and Teenagers. The 22nd International Convention is held in San Antonio, TX. Consultation with staff of Torrance Memorial Hospital, CA begins.
2003 Warning Psychiatry Can be Hazardous to Your Mental Health is published. Glasser Biography book by Jim Roy is commenced. The 23rd International Conference is held in Seattle, WA
2004 Is honored by the American Counseling Association as a Legend in Counseling for developing Reality Therapy. The 24th William Glasser Institute International Conference is held in Schaumburg, IL.
2005  Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Problem (later called Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue) booklet is published. Sixty-five thousand copies are released and eight thousand and five hundred are given as handouts at The Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim, CA. The 25th International Conference is held in Dublin, Ireland, marking Carleen & Bill’s 10th wedding anniversary.
2006 Begins teaching Choice Theory as a class in the addictions counseling program at Loyola Marymount University with Bradley Smith. Receives an honorary degree of Doctorate of Education from Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA. The 26th William Glasser Institute International Conference is held in Jersey City, NJ.
2007 The William Glasser Foundation is started at Loyola Marymount University. The book, Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage is copyrighted for publication by HarperCollins. The 27th International Conference is held in Seattle, WA.
2008 The William Glasser Institute for Research in Public Mental Health is established in the Psychology Department at Loyola Marymount University and funded by Foundation donors. Japanese company, Achievement, Inc. celebrates 20th anniversary of teaching Glasser’s ideas to businesses with a speaking tour by the Glassers in Japan and the release of the book Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage in Japanese. The 28th International Conference is held in Colorado Springs, CO. Through the efforts of EART President Leon Lojk, Reality Therapy is recognized as a scientifically validated psychotherapy by the European Association for Psychotherapy.
2009 The 29th William Glasser Institute International Conference (also the 4th European Conference) was held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Choice Theory and Reality Therapy have, to date, spread to over thirty-five countries. There are 77,405 people who have taken at least a Basic Intensive and a total of 10,851 people have become Reality Therapy Certified.
2010 The 30th William Glasser Institute International Conference was held in Nashville, TN.
2011 Dr. Glasser's last book, Take Charge of Your Life, is published in September. There were regional conferences held in the United States, especially a highly attended one in Chicago.
2012 The 1st biennial William Glasser International conference was held at Loyola-Marymount University. It was the last conference Dr. Glasser attended before his death.
2013 The 1st WGI-US biennial conference in Buffalo, NY. Over 85,000 people have taken at least a Basic Training. There have been people certified in all 50 US states, Puerto Rico and DC. There have been people certified in all 10 Canadian provinces and we have certified people in 42 other countries. On August 23, 2013, Dr. Glasser passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by loved ones. His presence is greatly missed in the Choice Theory community around the world.
2014 The 2nd biennial William Glasser International conference was held in Toronto, Ontario with 242 participants from 14 countries and 6 continents. The opening night set the tone for the conference with a wonderful tribute to Dr. Glasser, celebrating his work and his life.