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Article 4, An Analysis of WDEP Problem Solving

Updated on April 18, 2012

An example of WDEP

Article 4/WDEP and Choice Theory: A Personal Example of Problem Solving

It has taken a while to complete the next section of this series. This chapter has been difficult to write as it is deeply personal. Thus, the adventure begins again. It is my sincere hope that by studying this lengthy report,readers will make connections to their own lives and thus find happiness in living the life they choose, close to the people they love.

The objective of the present piece relates to an explanation of WDEP in action, and how it can be used to help reorganize behaviors around making change in personal situations. The global understanding that will be offered is that by taking charge of thoughts and actions, attitudes can be altered.

In order to accomplish this goal, personal reflections will be offered and universal questions will be raised. The first question is, “How does changing one’s quality world pictures relate to changing the reorganization of perceptions?”After having organized behavior around a particular lifestyle, how can viewing life through a different lens lead to different way of living?

The second question to be addressed is “How can WDEP or POWR strategies reorganize thinking for the purpose of reorganizing behaviors?”

We all view the world through particular perceptual filters. These were explained in article one. Essentially, the world offers information to each of us. We take that information and make decisions about it and even though the information is merely a picture in our brain, we determine what to do about that information. When we are given criticizing information, we hear it, we see it, we decide if the information is worth keeping based of pictures n our quality world. If the information is aligned with our experiences, past actions and quality world pictures, we may choose to consider it. If not, we will probably choose to let it go.

How does WDEP help us to decide on actions that may lead to behavior change? Why do we keep performing ineffective behaviors even when our real world filters are telling us to do something different? How can our creative process lead us to self destruction or self preservation?

I was sired by a lady who was a creative genius. She raised three children as a single mother. All the children are currently living lives where they support and care for each other, although thousands of miles separate them physically. When my mom retired, she told me, “Mike I made it! Everything from here is a bonus.” She lived that way for the next 15 years, until cancer took her.

How did she live? How was she a creative genius? First, she did not do anything that retired people do. She couch potatoed and eventually heart attacked before the cancer and other illnesses caused her bodily functions to change from healthy and comfortable circumstances to hospital visits and nursing home care. Where is the creativity in that?

Conversations with my mom revealed that her purpose in life was centered around being someone’s secretary, someone’s mother, someone’s partner. The picture in my mom’s quality world was really about her living her life FOR other people, rather than CLOSE to other people. This information is based on interviews and conversations with mom over the years she had been retired.

Creativity was utilized because my sister became mom’s caregiver. Mom was able to become relevant in her own eyes, as the patient rather than the mentor. Repeated conversations revealed that mom was great at saying the right things and controlling situations through use of future plans, promises of greater effort. Strategizing toward new activities and related concepts were organized behaviors in name only. These creative ways allowed her to continue the organized behavior of couch sitting. They can also be viewed as organized behaviors around attention getting and sadding. Essentially, these behaviors appeared to satisfy a power need. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

Following is an example of an attempted conversation with mom.

“How are you feeling?”

“Oh, you know, my arthur (arthritis) is talking to me again.”

“What does your blood sugar look like?”

“Oh. It’s ok.” My mom was a closet binge eater.

“I saw you polished off that pound of Fanny May. Is that going to help you see Sam grow up?”

“OK kiddo, I eat what I want, when I want, just leave it alone. I wish I could go for a walk with Sammy ( her grandson)”

“What’s keeping you?”

“It’s so hard for me to breathe”

On it goes. Mom’s creativity allowed her to manipulate the conversation from eating and health to Sam and tired legs. How would the same conversation be framed differently using WDEP? Here is a possibility.

“Hey momma, you look good today. What’s going on?”

“I’m OK. My Arthur is acting up a little.”

“Your legs hurt. What does the doc say about that? Remember?”

“Circulation. I want it. I just don’t feel like it.”

“How do you get better circulation?”

“I know, I need to go for a walk.”

“Do you want to feel better?”

“Of course, you monkey.”

“Is watching Law and Order reruns getting you circulation? Are you willing to look at a way of feeling better?”

“If it doesn’t involve exercise, I am, I know should get up and clean up this house.”

“You got any ideas that don’t involve exercise?”


“If I suggested some would you be open to considering them?”

“If it will get you to leave me alone, I will”.

“I’ll suggest and see if it fits with what you are thinking about. If it does, great, maybe you can help me with suggestions as well. If not, that’s ok too, as long as you know I ain’t trying to tell you what to do or force you into anything.”

“OK. Just tell me what you want me to do.”

“I’ll help you, you decide, OK?”


“Have you considered taking Sam for a walk to the corner? Have you thought of going to the newsstand for the paper so Judy doesn’t have to do it? You got any ideas?”

“Will you take me shopping? I could walk there.”

“Sure. When do you want to go?”

“What if I take the garbage out? “

“Now you’re cooking with gas!! What else are you thinking about?”

“I don’t know.”

“When do you want to go shopping? Can you be ready in twenty minutes?”

Mom never really did start the exercise program. She would begin, stay with it for a week or so, and then go back to the organized behavior of binge eating and watching TV whenever she decided to frustrate or sad. Her behavior showed that her quality world picture was so strong that it made sense for her to be miserable even to the point of death. Mom’s control over the family was done through playing the role of victim, although she never articulated “Woe is me” in public.

The question becomes how did mom’s behavior control those around her? It’s really hard to be certain, as the subject has been dead for two years. Looking at behavior patterns may lend some clues. When mom was working, she had purpose, although it was externally controlled. She worked, she earned, she paid the bills, she raised a family, she survived.

Mom’s love and belonging need were met as she was Mike’s mom, Judy and Chris’ mom, g’ma D. Recognition came from the people she worked with, and the power need may have been highlighted as well in this regard.

The situation described here is done for illustrative purposes only. It’s hard to evaluate one’s motives if a conversation is impossible. The bottom line is, behavioral observations show that mom got what she wanted, which was contact with her grown children. Her children called and used relationship building skills around encouragement toward health. Her daughter was the primary caregiver as seen in how she scheduled her own life around mom’s needs.

Eventually, the children used relationship killing skills as they frustrated over mom’s decision to relinquish control of her health, to live the life SHE chose, which meant watching TV, sleeping and surviving. Proof of this can be seen in late life conversations and bribes that were used by her children for the purpose of getting mom to move around.

What did mom really want? According to her children, mom’s desire was to see that all of her offspring were grown, successful and happy. After that, as mom said, “the rest is a bonus”. Did she do what was needed in order to accomplish the goal? Evidence generated by viewing mom’s record of working two jobs and using vacation money to pay for schooling her children point to a positive answer. Using retirement to help her daughter buy a house is more evidence of that fact.

What self evaluation was done? That’s hard to say. Mom’s plan was to see that her children were free and comfortable with the choices that they themselves had made. The statement “Remember, a child’s first step is the first step they take away from you” demonstrates this idea.

In summary, it appears that mom really lived choice theory in her later years, even though the world might argue that she lived under external control. Did she live the way she wanted? Did she live with the people she wanted to live with? Did she behave in ways that satisfied the pictures in her quality world? The evidence shows that she did. In a peculiar and maybe twisted way, mom lived the choice theory axioms. We’ll never really know.

Are you willing to look at things differently? How? When?

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