Reality Therapy is a particular technique in psychotherapy and counseling.
It basically developed by the psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser since the mid-1960’s.
It centers on a concept called Choice Theory (originally called control theory). It is commonly used by the US and internationally and it has also been widely applied in education.
Its main objective is on making decisions, and taking action and control of one’s own life. Typically, clients seek to discover what they really want and whether what they are currently doing (how they are choosing to behave) is actually bringing them nearer to, or further away from, that goal.
It is a problem solving technique that focuses on the here-and-now of the client and how to create a better future, instead of concentrating at length on the past.
The therapist becomes involved with the patient and helps the patient to examine his current behavior with a goal of improvement in the future. The therapist also help the patient’s on its past and probing his subconscious are not useful to reality therapists. The therapist relates one on one to the patient rather than playing the role of a transference figure. Irresponsible behavior is confronted, not explained, as the therapist helps the patient to learn ways of acting that will fulfill his psychological needs and reponsibility. And Glasser defines responsibility as “the ability to fulfill one’s needs and to do so in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs.” “
According to Glasser, if an individual cannot achieve these two needs in the “real world,” the individual will dissociate from reality or engage in irresponsible behavior or both.
Glasser rejects the concept of mental illness and focuses on the patient’s behavior in his approach to therapy.