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COUN720 Reality Therapy

by: Marie Fritch

COUN720 Reality Therapy Coun 720

Marie Fritch
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
GPA 4.0
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These notes cover reality therapy in depth with explanations of basic assumptions, key figures, techniques, etc.
Counseling and Consulting Theories
Dr. Boley
Class Notes




Popular in Counseling and Consulting Theories

Popular in Psychlogy

This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Marie Fritch on Wednesday April 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Coun 720 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Boley in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Counseling and Consulting Theories in Psychlogy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Created: 04/06/16
Reality Therapy 1 Reality Therapy Marie Fritch Edinboro University COUN 720.002 Dr. Boley 4/4/16 Reality Therapy 2 Reality Therapy 1. Key figures William Glasser William Glasser was the developer of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory. He rejected the  Freudian model and believed people are accountable for their behaviors. His theories focus  on personal choice, personal responsibility and personal transformation. Choice theory  emphasizes our responsibility for our choices in life motivated by our needs and wants  (Corey, 2013).  Robert E. Wubbolding Robert E. Wubbolding attended trainings for reality therapy taught by William Glasser. He  was later appointed the director of the William Glasser Institute. He internationally known as a author, teacher, and reality therapist introducing both of these therapies to Europe, the  Middle East, and Asia (Corey, 2013).  1. Basic underlying assumptions: Reality therapists theorize that the client chooses their behaviors based upon their frustrations with not being able to maintain or keep relationships. Choice therapy is the theoretical basis  for reality therapy. Choice therapy provides explanation for why we function the way that we do. Reality therapy is the delivery system for assisting clients in asserting power over their  life and choices (Corey, 2013).  2. Key essential concepts: Reality Therapy 3 Choice therapy’s view of human nature theorizes that we are born with five innate needs that  drive us. These needs are as follows, survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. As  humans we very in the degree that we need of each of these five encoded needs (Corey, 2013).  The need to love and to belong is the primary need of all humans. We are driven by pain and do  what we can to feel better and thrive.  Choice theory’s explanation of behavior resides in the belief that everything we do is chosen  with very little exception. Behaviors are our attempt to find a way to satisfy our needs. Behavior  is made of four components, acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology. These are in tune with  every thought or action that we have. Since our behaviors are from the inside, we then are  choosing our identities (Corey, 2013).  Characteristics of reality therapy are that focus is placed on the suffering or lacking  relationship of the client. Having meaningful healthy relationships is the key to emotional health  of the individual. The individual is asked to assess how their choices are affecting their  relationships with significant people in their lives. The client is taught that they are responsible  for controlling themselves and their actions will affect everyone around them (Corey, 2013).  3. Important goals The important goals of reality therapy are to find a sense of belonging and need. The  client is encouraged to build strong meaningful relationships and maintain them to their best  of their abilities.  Clients are encouraged to make effective and logical choices towards  obtaining their wants and needs. Making connections and reconnections are a primary goal in the client’s social life (Corey, 2013).  4. Role of therapeutic relationship in outcomes Reality Therapy 4 The therapist’s role in reality therapy is to offer mentoring to the client. The relationship  between the two is similar to teacher and student relationship. Clients learn how to self evaluate  their choices and determine if their actions are helping them get what they want and need. The  therapists should not make the assessments of the clients actions, but rather teach them to self  assess and create their own plan of action (Corey, 2013).  The client does not fixate on the past or symptoms in reality therapy.  The emphasis is on the  actions they take towards needs and wants. Once the client changes their actions their feelings  and thoughts will change as well. The therapist prompts the client to take action in the present  and view each session as if it is there last.  The relationship between the therapist and client  should be one of understanding and support. It is critical in this relationship for trust to be built  (Corey, 2013). 5. Techniques The practice of reality therapy is conceptualized as the cycle of counseling. This cycle has  two major counterparts, which are, creating the counseling environment, and implementing  specific procedures that promote changes in behaviors. These components encourage the client  to self evaluate and move in effective directions (Corey, 2013). The counseling environment is supportive but challenging in order to encourage the client to  make life changes. If the relationship between counselor and client is weak the self­evaluation of  the client is likely to be lacking as well. The therapists should maintain a non­judgmental stance  and avoid behaviors such as attacking, arguing, criticizing, and finding fault (Corey, 2013).  The therapist to motivate the client to take action implements procedures that lead to change.  The reality therapist gathers information on the client’s relationships and asks the client how  Reality Therapy 5 their actions are working to improve those important connections. According to reality therapy  the client will not directly talk about the actual problem but rather the symptoms around the  problem. The therapist will encourage the client to talk about the real problem, which are often  the client’s poor relationships (Corey, 2013).  The WDEP system describes key procedures in the practice of reality therapy. This system  helps the client explore theory wants and things that they can do and plans for how to make  changes. The W stands for wants, needs and perceptions. D stands for direction and doing. E  stands for self­evaluation. And P represents planning. The client must be committed to the  changes they discuss putting in place for their lives (Corey, 2013). 6. Application to client populations, settings, and treatment of problems  The WDEP system translates very well to group therapy. The relationships within the group  can be a way for the client to meet their needs and make connections with other people (Corey,  2013). Group members assess what they have now in life and what they want to have in the  future. Members have control over their homework tasks and complete homework assignments  outside of therapy. Reality therapy can be used in counseling, education, social work, crisis  intervention, rehabilitation centers, and community development. It may take place in hospitals  both general and mental, schools, and drug and alcohol abuse centers (Corey, 2013).  7. Major strengths from a diversity perspective Strengths from a diversity perspective are that the therapist is expected to respect cross cultural  differences and worldviews of clients. Clients are encouraged to make future life plans based on  their cultural values (Corey, 2013). The counselor does not decide what behaviors should be  changed, only makes suggestions and guides. Clients that come from diverse backgrounds can  Reality Therapy 6 determine the degree that they have become acculturated into society. The counselor assists the  client in finding balance between cultural values of dominant society and personal values.  Relationships are important to all cultures because it is in our human nature to connect with one  another. However, the therapist must be sensitive regarding what degree it is appropriate to  assess the clients’ personal relationships (Corey, 2013).  8. Shortcomings from a diversity perspective Shortcomings from a diversity perspective lie in the directness of therapist’s questions as  well as consideration for environmental factors working against the client. There is limited  awareness to forms of discrimination such as sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism and more  (Corey, 2013). These uncontrollable and unfortunate injustices can play a major role in the  clients overall happiness in life. Clients are more likely to feel misunderstood under these  conditions because the hurt they feel is a direct response to this maltreatment. The therapists  must acknowledge that the client does not choose to be a victim of social injustice. Clients of  various cultures may be unaccustomed to verbally expressing what they want and need. They  may be conditioned by culture to only consider what is in the best interest of the group’s wants,  rather than their own individual wants and needs (Corey, 2013).  9. Most significant contribution The most significant contribution of reality therapy lies in its short­term focus. Reality  therapy addresses clients conscious behavior issues, promotes self­evaluation, encourages  commitment to tasks and making a plan of action. The client can form independence and self­ empowerment with encouragement from the therapist. Reality therapy is also useful for reluctant  clients who show resistive behaviors towards therapy (Corey, 2013). Reality Therapy 7 10. Most significant limitation Limitations of reality therapy spawn from the priority placed on only the consciousness of  the client. There is little attention given to repressed conflicts or the power of the unconscious  and how it influences the clients or thoughts and actions. There is no guideline for interpretation  of dreams (Corey, 2013). Transference is viewed as a misleading concept, yet in reality the way  the client is treated in relationships is often reflected in how the client tends to treat others. It is  theorized by Glasser that conditions such as depression and psychosis are chosen behaviors. He  believed that mental health is directly influenced by the health of the relationships we hold and  determines our happiness (Corey, 2013). Reality Therapy 8 References Corey, G. (2013). Theory & Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th. Ed.).  Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole


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