This is a method of therapy developed by the psychiatrist, William Glasser, MD in the 1960’s. The main point of this therapeutic approach is that people can choose behaviours that will help them to better meet their needs in the future. Reality therapy focuses on the responsibility of the client to develop their own effective strategies for handling life’s problems and to make better choices in their lives.
Since unsatisfactory or non-existent connections with people we need are the source of almost all human problems, the goal of reality therapy is to help people reconnect. To create a connection between people, the reality therapy counsellor will:
- Focus on the present and avoid discussing the past because all human problems are caused by unsatisfying present relationships.
- Avoid discussing symptoms and complaints as much as possible since these are the ways that people choose to deal with unsatisfying relationships.
- Help you understand the concept of total behaviour, which means focus on what you can do directly – act and think. Spend less time on what you cannot do directly; that is, change your feelings and physiology. Feelings and physiology can be changed, but only if there is a change in the acting and thinking.
- Avoid criticizing, blaming and/or complaining. By doing this, you learn to avoid some extremely harmful external control behaviours that destroy relationships.
- Remain non-judgmental and non-coercive. Ask yourself to evaluate your behaviour by the choice theory axiom: Is what I am doing getting me closer to the people I need? If the choice of behaviours is not working, then what other behaviours can I find that lead to a better connection?
- Teach yourself that legitimate or not, excuses stand directly in the way of you making needed connections.
- Focus on specifics. Find out as soon as possible who you are disconnected from and work to help you choose reconnecting behaviours. If you are completely disconnected, focus on finding a new connection.
- Help you make specific, workable plans to reconnect with the people you need, and then follow through on what was planned by helping you evaluate your progress. Reaffirm the message that there is never only one plan. A plan is always open to revision or rejection by you, the client.
- Be patient and supportive but keep focusing on the source of the problem – the disconnectedness. If you have been disconnected for a long time you will likely find it difficult to reconnect. You are often so involved in the symptom you are choosing that you have lost sight of the fact that you need to reconnect.*William Glasser Institute
The structure of this therapy includes creating an environment of trust and then using specific techniques that help the client gain awareness of their present behaviours and what they really want out of life. Dr. Glassers therapy is built upon what he calls Choice Theory. Choice theory basically states that our choices are made from internal factors or basic needs that we all possess and that the only behaviour we can control is our own. The internal factors that drive a person to make his/her choices, according to Glasser are Love/Belonging, Freedom, Fun, Power, and Survival.* MentalHelp.Net
Ref: Harley Therapy – Psychotherapy & Counselling London