Reality Therapy / Choice Theory

Created by Dr. William Glasser, Reality Therapy and its theoretical underpinning of Choice Theory provide a wonderful lens through which to help clients evaluate their needs. Individuals are thought to have five basic needs that their behaviors seek to satisfy in order for them to be happy and fulfilled. These are: survival or self-preservation; love and belonging; achievement; independence or freedom; and fun. All behavior is believed to be an attempt to meet these needs—even when the behavior is unhealthy or harmful (Glasser).

Having children and adults evaluate their needs has multiple benefits. It immediately shows the therapist or counselor what is in abundance in these five areas of the client’s world and what is lacking. It provokes client awareness and a highly relevant dialogue, and is empowering for clients in that it helps them to see they are usually the catalyst of any hoped-for change.