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 make choices), and pleasure (to enjoy life and feel good).
Glasser’s theory teaches clients to take responsibility for their total behavior, which includes their actions and reactions, thoughts, emotions such as anxiety and depression, and their physical symptoms such as pains and headaches. Glasser believes that symptoms such as depression, anger, anxiety, and headaches represent submissiveness and a lack of individual accountability. He says these symptoms do not happen to clients, but that clients create aches and upsets by their expectations of others and the way they handle their life situations. Glasser continues to state that when a client is “suffering”, it is simply an unchosen result of a chosen behavior. Therefore clients can assess the effectiveness of their behavior based on whether or not there is a cost to other basic needs.
The reality therapist teaches clients to increase their internal locus of control by helping them become better aware of their choices and responsibilities, by keeping them in the present and refraining from focusing on past trauma, by avoiding focus on symptoms, and by challenging traditional views of mental illness. Reality therapy emphasizes that if clients choose all...
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