Reality Therapy, developed by Dr. William Glasser in 1965, was based on the theory that people have issues when one or more of the five basic psychological needs are not met such as power, love and belonging, freedom, fun, and survival. This mode of therapy believes that when you choose to change your own behavior instead of someone else’s, you are more successful with your own goals and desires.
Reality Therapy focuses on the current issues that you are facing instead of past issues. This therapy also tries to find the behavior that is preventing you from finding a solution and encourages problem solving. Reality therapy believes that mental distress occurs when the basic psychological needs are not met such as having no self-worth, feel no sense of belonging to loved ones, have no freedom, do not experience enjoyment, or have no basic needs of survival. You learn how to be aware of the negative thoughts and actions that prevent you from acquiring those needs. Changing your actions will give you a positive effect on how you feel and the ability to acquire those desires.
It is the job of the therapist to guide the patient away from past behavior to focus on what is going on now. You will be asked to consider the effects of your behavior and focusing on what you can change about yourself. In order for change to occur, it is important to assume responsibility for your actions. Instead of criticizing or blaming others for why you cannot obtain your desires, this mode of therapy will help you understand and plan how to obtain your needs in order to form, reform, or strengthen your connection to others. The connection that you make with your therapist is the most important component in that if you get along well with your therapist, you will be more comfortable to make connections outside of the therapeutic environment.
Reality therapy can very valuable to children and young adults. It has made improvements in the overall classroom function, cooperation, and has led to a decrease in the challenging behaviors of students. It can also help with certain issues that have behavioral parts like teen pregnancy as well as athletic coaching and juvenile delinquents to create change for them. Reality therapy is useful for anyone who needs more control over their behavior but they do not know what needs to be fixed.