Counseling Today, Online Exclusives

ACA remembers William Glasser

Heather Rudow August 26, 2013

William_Glasser_PhotoWilliam Glasser, founder of Reality Therapy and Choice Therapy, passed away Aug. 23 at his home in Los Angeles in the company of his wife, Carleen. According to The William Glasser Institute his death was a “massive shock” despite the fact that he had been experiencing declining health.

Glasser’s books, which include Reality Therapy, Reality Therapy in Action, Counseling With Choice Theory and Positive Addiction were groundbreaking within the counseling field. Glasser’s approaches, which focus on responsibility and choices, have been applied to psychotherapy, health, education and relationships. In 2004 the American Counseling Association named Glasser, a frequent presenter at ACA conferences, a “Living Legend.” He told Counseling Today he was first in school to become a clinical psychologist but was advised by a professor to become a psychiatrist. 

“I am now a counselor because all I have ever done is counsel, write books and teach,” Glasser said, “I have never prescribed a psychiatric drug, and I am against all brain drugs. So I am not typical of my profession  and feel very comfortable among counselors.”


  1. Bryan Funk

    I am deeply saddened by this news. Dr. Glasser’s ideas on treatment had a major impact on me. I hope that his ideas and passion for helping others lives on.

  2. Linda Albert

    Dr. Glasser’s ideas and theories greatly influenced the development of my Cooperative Discipline book and program. The world has lost a great thinker and educator. He will be sorely missed by so many!

  3. Dawn Ferrara

    Very sad news. Dr. Glasser was a huge influence in my professional development. Meeting him was one of the most special moments of my counseling career.

    1. Laura Hodges

      I agree completely with Dawn’s sentiments. I had the incredible luck to see him twice, each time more influential than before. Sad to lose this amazing man and practical thinker.

  4. Tim Robertson

    I am saddened by the news about Dr. Glasser. I had the pleasure of spending a day with him 1997. I found him to be genuinely a warm and thoughtful person. There are not many like him left, truly one of a kind.

  5. Stephen Tracy

    I will be forever grateful for my first encounter with Dr. Glasser in 1992, during which he led me to a new understanding of the nature and power of human relationships, and for our last meeting, which gave me the opportunity to thank him for the impact that his teachings have had on my life.

  6. Beverly LaFond

    It was my privilege to be the “point man” for Dr. Glasser at ACA in San Antonio, TX in 2000 and work in the William Glasser Institute Booth with his wonderful wife Carleen. The following year in New Orleans, the Montgomerys, LaFonds, and student Casey Songy could hardly keep up with the ACA attendees who flocked the booth for books and photo ops with Bill and Carleen. Thank you for honoring him and for supporting his suggestions in “Defiining Mental Health as Public Health Issue.”

  7. Maureen Craig McIntosh

    I first met Dr. Glasser in my first counselling course in 1986. I was working with Teenagers and needed new tools. We had many discussions over the years. The thing I learned from him was I can only work with the client that is in front of me. This was invaluable in working with Teenagers. They would come in and complain about their parents and their teachers and I could only work with them Through using the five basic needs I could teach them how to get their needs met and then learn about their own total behaviour. Counselling with Choice Theory has been the most powerful tool I have ever used and continue to use after 30 years of counselling. I miss him already, but I am so grateful he was in my life over the last 25 years! I want to celebrate his life and my mission is to carry his work forward as long as I can. Rest in Peace Bill Glasser.

  8. Cynthia Floyd

    To Dr Glasser’s family, I’m sure you have many wonderful memories that must bring you comfort at this time, but I hope it also brings you great comfort to know that he made such a huge difference in the lives and professions of others and will for decades to come. His life will continue to affect this world as his influence ripples across the counseling practice, supporting success for future generations. Thank you, Dr Glasser, for all that you shared with this world.

  9. Pinkey Stewart

    I was saddened to hear about Dr. Glasser’s passing. When I was pursuing my Ph.D., I needed some information and contacted Dr. Glasser for help. He was out of the country at the time, but when he returned he personally sent me the materials I needed and included a hand written note as well. He was very passionate about our profession. My sympathy to his family.

  10. ava

    Dr Glasse’s teaching helped me leave an abusive relationship , deal with the fall on from my children and go on to lead a good life . Ava Ireland RIP


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