PSC Non-Credit Class Draws Students From Around the World [5/8/15]
If you were to visit Prairie State College’s Matteson Area Center a few weeks ago,
you would have discovered a student from India, one from Wyoming, and one from Pennsylvania
– all three in the same class. What class drew such widespread interest? It was the
Choice Theory class taught by Kim Olver.
Olver is a licensed clinical professional counselor, a nationally certified counselor, and a board certified coach. She serves as the executive director for the William Glasser Institute, both the United States and international organizations. Choice Theory psychology is based on Dr. William Glasser’s theory of human behavior. To summarize the William Glasser website description of Choice Theory, (wglasser.com), Choice Theory helps people understand themselves and helps them better manage the events and people in their lives, over which they have no control.
Olver was first introduced to Choice Theory when she was working as a social worker at a foster care organization and all employees were trained in the discipline. “That training was life changing for me. I learned that people do have choices, and they can learn to focus internally on what they can do to make their life better.
“Sometimes Choice Theory is described as common sense that is not so common. That all behavior is purposeful and proactive,” Olver explained.
Her training led her to form her own business in 2004 called Coaching for Excellence and to spend her professional life teaching others the important principles of Choice Theory. Olver is also an author with several books on the subject designed to help people in their personal and professional relationships.
Her training also led her to Prairie State College (PSC), where she began teaching her Choice Theory class three times a year. The class is titled, “Breakthrough Strategies for Success for Teachers, Administrators, Coaches, Counselors, Social Workers, and Supervisors,” and it focuses on why people do what they do and how to intervene for optimal success.
“What I discovered through my training was that everyone has basic needs, and people have to get their needs met in a collaborative relationship. People do have a choice,” Olver said. “This is not a program in a box. It is a systemic approach that infuses everything you do.”
So why would people travel from all over to take this class? Olver’s answer is that Choice Theory has an international reputation, and that once people learn about Choice Theory, they want to expand their knowledge and expertise in the field.
“After they learn this approach, they are excited and anxious to not only use, but to continue learning about it,” Olver said. “It is a way to change an organization’s culture. I had one teacher tell me that if this was taught in high school, it would be life changing.”
The training is applicable to many organizations. Businesses often use it and title it Lead Management, and it is a tool to help employees reach optimum success. Schools have found it can help teachers deal with difficult classroom problems and work with non-voluntary learners, and coaches have found it useful for helping client achieve success.
Counselors, teachers, and social workers also earn continuing education credits by taking the class. The class will next be offered at PSC’s Matteson Area Center this summer. In addition, Olver is teaching a series of teacher workshops this summer for PSC. For more information or to register for these courses, visit prairiestate.edu/noncredit. For more information on Kim Olver, visit kimolver.com.