Reality Therapy was developed by psychiatrist William Glasser (1925). By 1962 Reality Therapy was complete, and Glasser then revised William Powers’ Control Theory and renamed it Choice Theory in 1996. The New Reality Theory claims that most clients share the same basic dilemma: an unhappy relationship with a significant person in their life. The main goal of this therapy is to support clients in connecting with the people they wish to include in their quality world, which is the world they would like to live in if they could, and which is based on their individual and specific needs. The goal of Reality Therapy is to also help clients learn more effective ways of fulfilling their needs of power (to achieve and accomplish), freedom (to
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Clients are always the common denominator in their relationships and reality therapy teaches clients that the only person they can control is themselves. Focus on the past is discouraged unless it involves successes or strengths, because healthy behaviors are encouraged. Glasser believes that “People do not act irresponsibly because they are “ill”; they are “ill” because they act irresponsibly” (Reality Therapy, 1962). Reality theory highlights that clients have a better chance for success when they learn to avoid feeling helpless and avoid believing they are a victim of their environment, their past, or their symptoms. Learned helplessness seems to be so normal for many clients, and I believe it is common for many to have the attitude and mindset that they want someone to come and rescue them from their helpless state. But the good news is that this helplessness can be un-learned and clients do not have to feel they are a victim of their environment, their past, or their symptoms!
One characteristic of reality therapy that I did not include in Part I was the therapist’s role and aim to reject transference by being themselves, and to use the relationship to show clients how to connect with others in their lives. Reality therapy emphasizes the importance of the therapist creating a good relationship with their clients, showing trust and understanding, and helping