Reality Therapy (A guide)

This blog explains in detail reality therapy, which was introduced by Dr. William Glasser.

Reality therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals resolve their conflicts and enable them to make good choices in their life so they can achieve your goals efficiently.

Dr. William Glasser’s reality therapy focuses on the present rather than the past.

Reality therapy aims to help individuals resolve their conflict, reform their relationships, and work towards a better future.

In reality therapy, the therapist works in coordination with the client do identify the behaviors of clients that need to be changed and help individuals in the process of goal setting.

Let’s find out more about reality therapy in the next headings.

What is Reality Therapy? A Definition

Reality therapy is a kind of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify their basic primary needs which are not met, set realistic goals, resolve conflicts, and connect with others in a way that the individuals feel a sense of belongingness and meaning with them. 

Reality therapy presents the five basic needs of humans that need to be fulfilled in order to ensure the optimal functioning of the individual and improve his satisfaction with life.

These five basic needs are as follows: 

  • Survival needs; the needs related to food, water, shelter, and sexual needs. 
  • Love and belongingness needs; that includes seeking love and feel connected to family members, friends, relatives
  • Power needs; that includes the sense of accomplishment and a boost in self- efficacy as well as self-esteem. 
  • Freedom needs; which refers to to the feeling of being independent and autonomous, having inadequate personal space 
  • Fun needs; which refers to satisfaction, happiness, and joy

Reality therapy aims to provide assistance to clients in recognizing their unfulfilled primary needs.

The therapy helps them to work on achieving those primary needs through the goal-setting process.

It helps clients accept the reality of the world (radical acceptance) and make wise decisions that aid them in their goal achievement process by driving them close to their goals. 

Application of Reality Therapy

Reality therapy is found to be a very effective form of psychotherapy for resolving the conflict of individuals.

However, reality therapy might be more effective while dealing with problems experienced by children and young adults either in their educational institutions or in their communities. 

Empirical evidence has shown that when teachers and school counselors training of reality therapy, the functioning of the overall classroom enhanced, and there is a decrease in challenging behaviors.

Researchers have also shown that reality therapy is very effective when it is obliged to treat certain behavioral conducts and issues such as teen pregnancy.

The perspective on which reality therapy works on the perspective that individuals must take responsibility for their behavior if they are really willing to change their behavior.

It has been found that reality therapy is also effective in big communities for example, in athletic coaching, while working with juvenile offenders, and for facilitating behavioral modification.

Reality therapy uses tools such as education and equality to fill in the gap between ignorance and intolerance and reduce a single, united group.

What are the Benefits of Reality Therapy?

Reality therapy has various benefits.

It helps resolve conflict, and enable individuals to set realistic goals and work on achieving them.

Reality therapy focuses on modifying the behaviors and thoughts of individuals and through this, it gives authority to individuals the work on making their present and future better.

The clients experience a boost in their self-confidence when meeting small successes.

It empowers them to set more advanced goals and resolve their conflicts by themselves.

Criticisms and Limitations of Reality Therapy

Although reality therapy was a great success and has various applications, it has some drawbacks as well.

The following are the limitations and criticisms faced by reality therapy from some health professionals:

Opposition of mental illness: The psychiatric community objected to Dr. William Glasser’s claimed that mental illness does not exist. 

Potential to impose views: According to reality therapy, a reality therapist aid individuals in adopting new actions.

Some people say that this gives the therapist a chance to reflects their values and judgments on the clients. 

Anti-medication stance: According to Dr. William Glasser, mental illness never requires medication to be treated.

The professionals said that William Glasser could have compared the benefits of his therapy with those of drugs rather than totally eliminating the effects of medication.

Disregard of the unconscious: Many critics say that reality therapy failed to identify the power of the unconscious part of the mind. 

Limitation to the present: Since reality therapy focuses on the present, critics claimed that unlike other forms of psychotherapy, reality therapy fails to understand the past conflicts.

When is Reality Therapy Used?

Reality therapy is a very effective form of psychotherapy.

It can be used in a variety of cases. Reality therapy is used for individual therapy, family therapy, marriage counseling, parenting, education, management, resolving conflicts between relationships, friendships, and addiction therapy.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.

The following is a list of some of the best books on reality therapy.

You can read these books to increase your knowledge about reality therapy, acknowledge the techniques used in reality therapy, and much more.

All of the following books are easily accessible on the Amazon store.

Just click the book you wish to study and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it.

What is the main focus of reality therapy?

The main focus of reality therapy is to resolve conflicts of the individual, strengthen his connections, and help in the process of goal achievement.

The reality therapist works with the client to help him acknowledge his values, his goals, and how he can modify his behavior to achieve those goals.

What are the three Rs of reality therapy?

The three R’s of reality therapy include realism, responsibility, and right and wrong.

Reality therapy helps individuals identify and achieve their goals, form meaningful relationships, and enhance their problem-solving skills.

What are the key concepts of reality therapy?

The key concept of reality therapy is to help individuals achieve their basic necessities as one or more unfilled primary needs are the reason for their conflicts.

These five basic needs include survival needs, love, and belongingness, power, freedom, and fun.

What are some of the main applications of reality therapy?

Reality therapy is very helpful in helping an individual resolve his conflict, treating disorders such as addiction and eating disorders, emotional and behavioral conduct, and so forth.

What is the WDEP of reality therapy?

WDEP a kind of reality therapy technique that helps individuals identify their wants, determine what they are doing for the attainment of their wants, evaluating whether their actions are helpful in the attainment of their wants or not, and finally making a realistic plan that would help them achieve their goals or wants.

What are the techniques of reality therapy?

A number of reality therapy techniques are used to help individuals.

Some of the reality therapy techniques include focusing on the present moment, avoid discussing symptoms, grounding energy for the purpose of bringing a change in behavior or life.

This blog aimed to provide information about reality therapy.

The blog explained the application of reality therapy, its benefits, and criticisms faced by it.

Some good books are also recommended to help you find out more about reality therapy.

Let us know if you have any questions or queries regarding the blog. We will be glad to assist you.


Reality Therapy: Constructing Your Future One Choice at a Time Courtney E. Ackerman (2019)

Reality Therapy Techniques, Benefits, and Limitations

Reality Therapy – GoodTherapy

What is Reality Therapy Complete Definition Here | CRC …

Reality Therapy | Psychology Today UK