William Glasser(1925) has developed this approach as he believed that looking into your past and dwelling on the past is not beneficial for the therapeutic environment. He believed that one should look at the present reality in order to achieve happiness or be content in life. He was also convinced that one should take responsibility for one’s actions and not project it onto other issues. “The basic assumption is that all any of us can control is our present lives” (Corey;2009.p 316) The approach is based on the Choice Theory.
Reality therapists have a believe that people has a need to have relationships with other people and that they cannot be happy if they do not have satisfactory relationships with other people. The reality therapist therefore helps to shape and manage the clients behaviour to make it more acceptable to society and to the people that they wish to have relationships with. “ The more the clients are able to connect with people, the greater the chance that they have to experience happiness”.(Corey;2009.p 316)
When looking at behaviour from a Reality Therapy approach it is said that “client choose their behaviours as a way to deal with the frustrations caused by unsatisfying relationships”(Corey;2009.p 316) . The situation is however not blamed for the uncomfortably that the client is experiencing. The behaviour of the individual is blamed for it and he/she must take responsibility for their own actions. Glasser does also not agree that one should diagnose mental illness as he thinks that people with behavioural abnormalities are not sick and “people suffering from brain abnormalities, should be treated primarily by neurologists. (Corey;2009.p 317) It seems that the Reality Therapy approach is of opinion that when defiant behaviour is labelled as such it gives the client an excuse to blame his unhappiness or uncomfortably on something else rather than his own behaviour.
Choice theory states that we have been born with five intrinsic needs, namely “survival, love and belonging, power or achievement, freedom or independence, and fun.”(Corey;2009.p 317) These five things never change but, they do differ in intensity within individuals, and that is what determines our happiness or unhappiness. “Choice theory is based on the premise that because we are by nature social creatures we need to both receive and give love.”(Corey;2009.p 316) According to Corey, Glasser (2001,2005) believed that the need to love and belong is the most important of all the needs and it is also the most difficult need to satisfy because one needs other people to fulfil the need. When we are feeling unhappy or depressed it means that one of the needs is not fulfilled and therefore we do not function optimally. This can manifest in different emotional and physical symptoms.
There are five characteristics of reality therapy. Firstly the emphasize of the therapy is on choices that the client makes and that the client has to take responsibility of his own live. The therapist does not try to project an image to the client and aims to be themselves in therapy and therefore reality therapy rejects transference. Some therapy approache focusses on the past and what has happened in the past and how it influences the clients behaviour, reality therapy rejects that notion and only focuses on the present as the past can not be changed and it is over and done with. The past is however not completely ignored but it is not a focus point. Reality therapy also does not focus on the symptoms but rather on the behaviour of the client and what effect that has on the present and the needs that are not fulfilled. Lastly the reality therapy approach challenges the traditional view of mental illness in the fact that they do not label the person that is presenting with anti-social...
Bibliography: Corey, G.T (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy(8th ed). Belmont: Thomson Brooks/Cole
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