Reality Therapy

A girl puts in a puzzle peace of therapy.

What is reality therapy?

Reality therapy is a therapeutic technique that was developed in the 1960’s by Dr. William Glasser. The basic premise of reality therapy is to problem solving skills to develop coping skills that help people build healthy living habits. The core foundation of reality therapy is that people aren’t so much suffering from a mental disorder as they are suffering from universal social issues that affect each person, differently. At Trinity Teen Solutions, we are able to employ a variety of therapeutic techniques to help our patients achieve the best version of themselves that they can be, reality therapy included.

How does reality therapy work?

There are three core ideas that Dr. William Glasser laid out as being central to how reality therapy works:

Action: Essentially, reality therapy is built around action. Reality therapy asks the patient to assess their life and work out what is causing them to be in pain and act out, and then requires the patient to take steps to implement. Through implementation, the patient is able to figure out what is in their control and what is not.

Behavior: While there is a great deal of similarity between action and behavior, the key difference is that behavior is a state of being that is informed by our mindset and our state of emotion, in general. Essentially, behavior is action as a second nature. Reality therapy helps patients address the underlying causes of behavior, and work to change the source of behavior, rather than the symptoms of those causes.

Control: The theory of control in reality therapy is built around the idea that each person is only able to control their own reactions in life. Patients in need of reality therapy frequently feel they can manipulate and control others, blame others for controlling or manipulating them, or use a controlling substance to relinquish their own control of their life. Reality therapy is about reestablishing the boundaries of what really is or isn’t in our control.

What makes reality therapy an effective therapeutic approach?

The reason that reality therapy works for the troubled girls who come to our facility is that it helps them get out of their own heads and creates tangible ways to address their behavior. Through the life skills that our girls learn, they are able to create goals and navigate social relationships in a positive and healthy way.