Therapeutic Psychology Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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William Glasser(1925) has developed this approach as he believed that looking into your past and dwelling on the past is not beneficial for the therapeutic environment. He believed that one should look at the present reality in order to achieve happiness or be content in life. He was also convinced that one should take responsibility for ones actions and not project it onto other issues. The basic assumption is that all any of us can control is our present lives (Corey;2009.p 316) The approach is based on the Choice Theory.

Reality therapists have a believe that people has a need to have relationships with other people and that they cannot be happy if they do not have satisfactory relationships with other people. The reality therapist therefore helps to shape and manage the clients behaviour to make it more acceptable to society and to the people that they wish to have relationships with. The more the clients are able to connect with people, the greater the chance that they have to experience happiness.(Corey;2009.p 316)

When looking at behaviour from a Reality Therapy approach it is said that client choose their behaviours as a way to deal with the frustrations caused by unsatisfying relationships(Corey;2009.p 316) . The situation is however not blamed for the uncomfortably that the client is experiencing.

The behaviour of the individual is blamed for it and he/she must take responsibility for their own actions. Glasser does also not agree that one should diagnose mental illness as he thinks that people with behavioural abnormalities are not sick and people suffering from brain abnormalities, should be treated primarily by neurologists. (Corey;2009.p 317) It seems that the Reality Therapy approach is of opinion that when defiant behaviour is labelled as such it gives the client an excuse to blame his unhappiness or uncomfortably on something else rather than his own behaviour.

Choice theory states that we have been born with five intrinsic needs, namely survival, love and belonging, power or achievement, freedom or independence, and fun.(Corey;2009.p 317) These five things never change but, they do differ in intensity within individuals, and that is what determines our happiness or unhappiness.

Choice theory is based on the premise that because we are by nature social creatures we need to both receive and give love.(Corey;2009.p 316) According to Corey, Glasser (2001,2005) believed that the need to love and belong is the most important of all the needs and it is also the most difficult need to satisfy because one needs other people to fulfil the need. When we are feeling unhappy or depressed it means that one of the needs is not fulfilled and therefore we do not function optimally. This can manifest in different emotional and physical symptoms.

There are five characteristics of reality therapy. Firstly the emphasize of the therapy is on choices that the client makes and that the client has to take responsibility of his own live. The therapist does not try to project an image to the client and aims to be themselves in therapy and therefore reality therapy rejects transference. Some therapy approache focusses on the past and what has happened in the past and how it influences the clients behaviour, reality therapy rejects that notion and only focuses on the present as the past can not be changed and it is over and done with. The past is however not completely ignored but it is not a focus point.

Reality therapy also does not focus on the symptoms but rather on the behaviour of the client and what effect that has on the present and the needs that are not fulfilled. Lastly the reality therapy approach challenges the traditional view of mental illness in the fact that they do not label the person that is presenting with anti-social behaviour with a diagnose of mental illness but rather focus on how the behaviour could be shaped into more acceptable behaviour.(Corey;2009.)


The reality therapy approach therefore holds the client responsible for his/her behaviour and attempts to change the behaviour in such a way that it is possible for the client to achieve happiness. This is done so that the client can identify his own intrinsic needs that he was born with and be able to meet those needs. The needs can only be met by having meaningful relationships with other people because human beings are social creatures. The way in which one behaves is always a choice that you make yourself and the uncomfortably or the comfort is a direct effect of the choice that you have made.

Question 2
This approach had a big influence on my self-understanding. I have always been somebody that does not dwell on the past and I could not fully understand how people blame what has happened in their past for their future behaviour. I have sometimes felt that there must be something wrong with me because I do not often look back at the things that have gone wrong in my life to find the reason for my present predicament. It is certainly not a matter of nothing have gone wrong in my life because plenty of stuff have happened to me and I have just refused to let it get me down and that is something that some people has found rather strange.

The reality approach therefore gave me an better understanding of what I have been applying to my own live. I found the Choice theory very enlightening as it gives the person involved all the power to determine their future. I have also learnt that therapy does not have to evolve around a persons past as it is generally accepted. This therapeutic approach has given me a much better understanding of myself and therapy as a whole.

Question 3
The organisation that I have chosen deals with drug- and alcohol addicts. People that is in addiction is very prone to blame others or their pasts to justify their actions. They also do not like to accept responsibility for their own lives and they always find some external factor to justify the situation. At H.O.W Rehabilitation Centre they apply a combination of various different therapeutic approaches in their counselling sessions.

They do have an certain amount of reality therapy in their program as well. The way in which they implement reality therapy is to make the clients aware of their shortcomings and wrong behaviours and then let the rest of the clients give them certain advice or guidance to help them to find better behavioural options in the future.

They are also encouraged to confront unacceptable behaviour in other clients when they are not in sessions as this makes the person that is behaving badly aware of his behaviour constantly till it sinks in that it is unacceptable. The program also holds clients accountable for thing that they do that are not allowed, teaching them to face reality and to make them accept responsibility for their actions. Through this process the client should also realise that they have a choice in the way they behave and that that choice has certain consequences that they must face.


Corey, G.T (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy(8th ed). Belmont: Thomson Brooks/Cole

Section B

1. Reality Therapy
2. H.O.W Rehabilitation Center
196 Main Road
3. S. Davids
021-853 3579

4. 560 hours which was spread over 70 days in 8 hour shifts.

Section C
Question 1

1. When I started doing voluntary work at H.O.W I had to first complete the 8 week program that they offer for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. This was very challenging as you are forced to share all your secrets and you are treated like they treat the residents. It is emotionally very draining and it leaves you tired. I was also part of a group and that is something that I am not use to. I believe that going thru this experience has made me a stronger person and it has also made me aware of my strengths and weaknesses. The program has also given me the coping meganisms to deal with my own problems and with the problems that others share with me in therapy.

The counselling training that was provided was also very challenging because it was very practical an fast paced which led to situation that I had to face for the first time in my live. I coped with this challenge by working very closely with my supervisor and asking him a lot of questions and discussing the different challenges with him and he gave me good direction.

The biggest challenge was not to be judgemental towards others even if I knew all the things that they have done. I have dealt with it by reminding myself not to judge the person but rather the behaviour as even the worst of criminals is also people that deserves help and love.

Question 2

There has been plenty of low points including the time that I had a session with one of the clients and shortly after that he ran away and did not come back but I have learnt from that. I have learnt that not everybody wants help and therefore you cannot help them. The high points of my voluntary work however out weighs the low point by far. The highest point was when I
was offered a position as a staff member at H.O.W!!!

Section D
Question 1
a. 10
b. 9
c. 8
d. 10
e. 8
f. N/A
g. 9
h. 9

Question 2

I have enjoyed the course very much because of the fact that you must do practical work and this gives you the true idea of what therapy is all about. This is why I am studying Psychology.

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