Definitions for reality therapy
Reality therapy is an approach to psychotherapy and counseling. Developed by William Glasser in the 1960s, it is considered a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. RT differs from conventional psychiatry, psychoanalysis and medical model schools of psychotherapy in that it focuses on what Glasser calls psychiatry's three R's: realism, responsibility, and right-and-wrong, rather than symptoms of mental disorders. Reality therapy maintains that the individual is suffering from a socially universal human condition rather than a mental illness. It is in the unsuccessful attainment of basic needs that a person's behavior moves away from the norm. Since fulfilling essential needs is part of a person's present life, reality therapy does not concern itself with a client's past. Neither does this type of therapy deal with unconscious mental processes. In these ways reality therapy is very different from other forms of psychotherapy. The reality therapy approach to counseling and problem-solving focuses on the here-and-now actions of the client and the ability to create and choose a better future. Typically, clients seek to discover what they really want and how they are currently choosing to behave in order to achieve these goals. According to Glasser, the social component of psychological disorders has been highly overlooked in the rush to label the population as sick or mentally ill. Reality therapy attempts to separate the client from the behavior. Just because someone is experiencing distress resulting from a social problem does not make him sick; it just makes him out of sync with his psychological needs.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Method of psychotherapeutic treatment based on assumption of patients' personal responsibility for their own behavior. The therapist actively guides patients to accurate self-perception for fulfillment of needs of self-worth and respect for others. (From APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 8th ed.)
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