Glasser presentation 2 william glasser reality therapy and choice theory
REALITY THERAPY WAS DEVELOPED IN THE 1960'S BY
And the style of treatment falls into the cognitive behavioural
approach to psychotherapy.
As with other forms of psychology Reality theory
assumes that as human beings we all have
certain basic needs, although what these needs
are may change depending on the theory.
Glasser theorized that people had five basic
needs and classified them as
This is the need to eat, warm clothes, shelter, sex
Love and Belonging
This includes our relationships, friendships, family, school, work,
and social groups that we may belong to
As human beings we like to achieve things have status feel
worthwhile, we like to win, and have respect from others
This is our need for independence
This is what gives us pleasure and enjoyment
The core principle of Reality Therapy is that even if we don’t
we are all trying to meet these needs all of the time.
For instance when we socialise we are trying to meet our
Love and Belonging.
And going out meeting new people is an effective way of
meeting this need
Problems arise when we either don’t meet the need at all or what
we are doing to meet the need is ineffective
I need to meet my Love and Belonging so I go out, but I don’t
socialise or speak to new people. I sit in a corner on my own
and wonder why I feel so alone.
If I don’t make the effort to effectively meet new people then the
chance is I will remain lonely
This is ineffective and while it might work on some level generally it
wont meet the need and could cause a lot of pain and turmoil
And it is when a person feels this that they might seek the help of a
So what Reality Therapy will do if a client is feeling distressed
or unsatisfied with life is to check that they are meeting their
four psychological needs
Love,power,freedom and fun.
The need for Survival is normally been met.
What reality therapy does not do is to listen to a client lay
blame for their issues with others, reality therapy uses what
Glasser called control theory but later became know as
Choice theory to help clients discover that they make choices
in their lives and that these choices that they make determine
how they feel
The choice to go out was good the choice to sit alone was not
and led to the client feeling lonely
We as humans all have the same basic needs
But the level at which they are needed by an individual may
Love is a basic need for all of us yet some people need more
than others some need to love and be loved by one person
others may need to be accepted liked loved by everyone they
come into contact with.
As stated earlier central to reality therapy is
what we want!
What we want is important because its our wants that drive us
to act or behave in certain ways
If we feel lonely our need for love in not been met we want
that need to be met so we call a friend go out or join a club.
We all think about what we want all the time
We rarely think about our needs
Dr Glasser believes that the need for love and belonging is
the most important need of all as we are basically social
beings and we need positive relationships in order to feel
However the need for power can often override the need for
love as people enjoy feeling important and will often place this
first and foremost in their lives often at the expense of their
A person wishing to do well at work may well upset
colleagues in order to be seen as doing well and receive
praise from the boss.
During the process of Reality Therapy the therapist will
encourage the client to explore their wants and needs and
their thoughts relating to them.
The therapist will ask the client three basic questions
What do you want?
What are you doing to get what you want?
Is it working?
A therapist may also suggest plans but the choice would
always be the clients and a plan is always open to revision or
rejection by the client
During the process it is hoped that with the help and support
of the therapist the client will come to realise the only person
that they are able to control is themselves and that trying to
control others will lead to frustration.
The basic goal of the therapy is to help the client learn better
ways to maintain their needs as well as making positive
healthy connections with people.
As in all therapy the role of the therapist is not to judge the
client but to support and encourage the client.
Reality therapy helps people to see that it is their behaviour or
thoughts that's causing them to feel distress and when they
are able to act or think in a new way and maintain their needs
effectively they are then able to function in a positive way
The therapist will help the client make a “workable plan”
To get what it is that want
RT differs from other therapy’s in that although it will look at a
clients past and their relationships etc, but it does not focus
there Glasser says although we are shaped by our past we
can not change it or erase it and the only change we can
bring about in our lives is in our own behaviour in the present
So the focus is kept on the client how they act and how they
think known as their total behaviour, this is because it is the
only thing that the client is able to change.
Changing what we do is the key to changing how we feel and
what we want
Reality Therapy is based on the therapist's knowledge of
The therapist knows that underlying problems are all the
same and that the primary problem of all clients is that they
A client's unhappiness is associated with things such as their
inability to develop satisfying “present” relationships because
they haven't met their need for love
They blame their difficulties on others such as their
They want their counselling to focus on their suffering or their
They want to blame their present feelings on their past
experience or what on what may happen and they will do
anything to avoid the present
In Choice Theory all the things a person wants are described
as making that person’s Quality World.
For any two people some of the things in their Quality World
will overlap (i.e. they want some of the same things)
but many and perhaps most, will be different.
We must be willing to allow these differences if we are to
have harmony in our relationships
The structure of choice theory
The only person whose behaviour we can control is our
All we can give another person is information.
All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship
The problem relationship is always part of our present
What happened in the past has made us what we are
today but we can only satisfy our present needs and plan
on continuing to do so in the future
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