The Option Process®

Most people see the world through the psychological model known as stimulus-response. The dog barks, I get scared. My friend compliments me, I feel happy. We see our emotions and experiences as being caused by the people and events around us. As a result, we may try to change our circumstances and the people around us so that we can feel good or, at least, not feel bad.

This approach leaves us feeling like victims. We think that if we could just get our loved ones to treat us right, or our finances to increase, or the roads to be traffic-free, we would feel better. But there's always something else. Even without major life events such as divorce, bankruptcy, illness or loss of a loved one, many of us experience deep unhappiness and discomfort.

The Option Process modifies the stimulus-response model with a third component: belief. Every stimulus that elicits a response from us is first filtered through one or more beliefs. As our beliefs change, so do our responses and experiences. This simple shift changes everything in our lives, moving us from the passenger seat into the driver's seat.

Although one person hearing that dog bark may think "I'm scared" remembering that a dog once bit them, another person might think "I'm happy" because they love dogs, and another might think "I'm sad" because they miss a dog they had as a child.  Even if several people think "I'm scared", they will each be thinking it for their own reasons.  For instance: they may be afraid of all loud noises, or because they believe the dog's bark indicates another source of danger, or because they are concerned for the dog.

Best of all, our beliefs are changeable. Our experience with thousands of people from across the globe has shown us that, when people use the tools that we provide, known collectively as The Option Process, they are able to uncover the beliefs fueling their responses and the underlying reasons for their beliefs. Moreover, they are able to change the beliefs that may be generating unhappiness, dysfunctional relationships or ineffective behaviors.

Adapted from "The Core of What we Teach" by Barry Neil Kaufman, Co-founder of The Option Institute™

If you'd like to find out more ...

If you'd like to learn more about the Option Process® it can be wonderful both for your exploring in the Dialogue and for becoming a student of yourself - growing, becoming happier and transforming your experience. Here are some of the books, videos and CDs which are available:


  • If you're starting out, you may enjoy Happiness is a Choice and Giant Steps by Barry Neil Kaufman
  • If you're looking for something to get your teeth into then To Love is to be Happy With or PowerDialogues: The Ultimate System for Personal Change may be more your thing - also by Barry Neil Kaufman
  • If you're interested in autism and the Son-Rise® Program (or even if you're not!), Son-Rise: the Miracle Continues by Barry Neil Kaufman and Autism Breakthrough by Raun K. Kaufman are both wonderful
These can be ordered from the Option Indigo online store (US),, or Rekha Neilson's online store (UK)


If videos are more your thing, there are a range of videos and web seminars on the Option Institute™ Videos and Web Seminars page, and a new introductory video entitled Your Invitation to Change (18m 46s):


There is also a range of CDs which are excerpts from classes held at the Option Institute. I've taken many of these programs, and listening to these can be almost as good as being in class.

These can be ordered from the Option Indigo online store (US) or Rekha Neilson's online store (UK).