What is Reality Therapy?

By March 26, 2015

Today’s psychology focus in on Reality (Choice Theory) Therapy. You will love this approach if:

  • You like using plans to accomplish goals.
  • You procrastinate or have a hard time focusing on a specific goal.
  • You feel isolated and desire more human contact and meaningful connection.
  • You have a family problem and want everyone to participate in the solution.
  • You are a parent and desire counseling for a child or adolescent to build self-esteem and independence.

reality-therapyWilliam Glasser developed this approach in the 1960s. It operates from the belief that you are the only person who can control “you,” and the present and future are where solutions live. Human suffering is the result of being disconnected from the resources necessary for you to live your “quality world,” and a lack of awareness about how your actions do not support your goal to do so.

Glasser teaches that humans have four basic needs: love – a sense of belongingness; power – a feeling of worthiness; freedom – autonomy through personal responsibility; fun – relaxation and joy. When these needs are not met, you act irresponsibly in an effort to get them met, your relationships suffer, and you become more isolated from the people, places, and things that can actually be useful to you. Reality Therapy supports the development of personal accountability and responsible behavior.

What happens in a Reality Therapy counseling session?

-Explore what is your “Quality Word” – what you want in life (love, home, family, work, etc.)

-Identify your goal and evaluate your current behavior.

-Create a “plan” that is realistic, manageable, and doable (often it is written and signed).

-Assess progress, update the plan, and action step implementation.

-Confront distracting fantasies, efforts to control others or feelings of victimization, excuse making (“no excuses, no punishment, never give up”).

Resources for further exploration

“Reality Therapy in Action” by William Glasser

The William Glasser Institute

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