Reality Therapy: Understanding Our Inner Lives through Our Quality World
As a counselor and therapist, one of the effective therapeutic modalities from which I draw is Reality Therapy—an approach centered around human beings’ relatedness and connection to self and one another. Reality Therapy posits that humans have five, innate basic needs, and we are doing our best to realize these in order to be happy and fulfilled. The needs are: survival (shelter, food); love and belonging; achievement; freedom; and fun. Clients and therapists/counselors explore the degree to which the client’s needs are being met.A relationship, past or present, is considered to be the significant source of clients’ presenting issues. The relationship may be with self—how the client perceives him/herself or with another person. Together, client and therapist identify the problematic relationship and explore how the client’s chosen behavior may be “helping or hurting.” Personal accountability, opportunities to change the status quo for the better, and tools to reconnect are explored with an emphasis on empowering the client.
So What is the Quality World?
The Quality World can be understood as a place inside us that holds a unique vision (pictures) of all that is most dear to us. Pictures may include our family and close friends, interests, passions, belief systems, and hopes for the future. The Quality World may include something we already have or intend to; it may also reflect relinquished hopes (the adult who always dreamed of playing the piano or going to Italy, or getting married; the teenager who wishes he could get A’s or even B’s but has given up; or the child who fantasizes about his divorced mom and dad remarrying).
Both as a school counselor and therapist, I find this exercise exceptionally useful with children and adults. The drawing component (collage) helps the therapist or counselor understand the client’s strengths and vulnerabilities and more quickly pinpoint inner conflict than might be possible using a more traditional therapeutic approach. I find that both adults and children enjoy depicting their Quality World and the possibility to work creatively. Clients evaluate their goals, the probability of their success, and the behavior needed to attain them.
Dr. William Glasser, an internationally recognized psychiatrist, is the creator of Reality Therapy and the theory that undergirds it, Choice Theory. This therapeutic approach is used world wide in schools, businesses, and the counseling and therapy environments. More information about this approach is available at http://wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach