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Reality therapy

Date Started: 1-05-23

Date Ended: 28-05-23

Author Name: Mariyam Mohammed Abdul Jaleel

Qualifications: BA Journalism, Psychology, and English Literature, MSc Clinical Psychology, Certification in Behavior Therapy, Diploma in Child Psychology

Designation: Former Admin Officer & Consultant Psychologist, ACRO Mental Health Services

Word Count: 504

Reading Time: 4 min.

Reviewed By: Aishwarya Krishna Priya

A type of approach to psychotherapy and counselling referred to as reality therapy, was created by William Glasser in the 1960s, and it differs from traditional psychoanalysis and schools of psychotherapy in that it stresses psychological concepts such as realism, responsibility, and right and wrong rather than the symptoms of mental diseases (1). According to reality therapy, a person does not experience a mental disorder but rather experiences a socially universal human state(2). Failure to meet one's basic requirements is what causes a person's behaviour to deviate from the norm (3). Reality therapy does not focus on a client's past because meeting basic requirements is a part of their present life (4). This kind of therapy does not also address unconscious thought processes (5).

The reality therapy method of counselling and problem-solving puts an emphasis on the client's actions in the present moment and their capacity to imagine and make better choices for the future (6). In order to accomplish these goals, clients frequently seek to learn what their true desires are and how they are currently choosing to behave (7). According to Glasser, in the haste to diagnose the populace as ill or mentally ill, the social aspect of psychiatric diseases has been largely ignored(8). In reality therapy, the person and the behaviour are kept apart (9,10). Someone who is distressed due to a social issue is not necessarily ill; rather, he is simply out of sync with his psychological demands (11).

According to Glasser, humans have four basic psychological needs after ensuring their survival: the most important need is to love and be loved by another person or group for a sense of belonging; the need for power is satisfied through knowledge, accomplishment, and feeling valuable; the need for freedom is satisfied through independence and autonomy while also exercising personal responsibility; and the need for fun is satisfied by seeking enjoyment and relaxation (12, 13).

Reality therapy's fundamental tenet is that, whether or not people realize it, they are always attempting to satisfy these fundamental human wants (14). For a person to perform at their best, each of these needs must be balanced and satisfied (15). However, people don't always take the best possible actions to accomplish their goals (16).

Reality therapy has been employed in the treatment of PTSD and athletic coaching (17, 18). Reality therapy is a technique that many effective coaches employ (19). Reality therapy in coaching aids in the development of interpersonal bonds, a positive learning environment, and clear goals for goal-setting (20). Treatment of childhood obesity using reality therapy is another option (21). It has been claimed that using reality therapy techniques can enable kids to assess their eating habits, create attainable objectives, and incorporate useful self-evaluation (22).

If you or anyone you know is experiencing low motivation in their lives, please identify the same and approach a mental health service provider at the earliest. To know more about the services offered by ACRO Mental Health & Wellness, you can reach us at (+91) 91004-23015.

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3. Murthi K, Hammell KW. “Choice” in occupational therapy theory: A critique from the situation of patriarchy in India. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy [Internet]. 2020 Jun 4;28(1):1–12. Available from:

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10. Averbeck BB. Theory of Choice in Bandit, Information Sampling and Foraging Tasks. Schrater P, editor. PLOS Computational Biology [Internet]. 2015 Mar 27;11(3):e1004164. Available from:

11. When and How to Use the Reality Therapy Approach to Counseling [Internet]. Yeshiva. 2021. Available from:

12. Sunawan S, Xiong J. An Application Model of Reality Therapy to Develop Effective Achievement Goals in Tier Three Intervention. International Education Studies [Internet]. 2016 Sep 28;9(10):16. Available from:

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15. Farnoodian P. The effectiveness of group reality therapy on mental health and self-esteem of students. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences [Internet]. 2016;5:18–24. Available from:

16. Fitzgerald A. Counseling and Wellness: A Professional Counseling. Journal [Internet]. 2011;88. Available from:

17. Khosrobeigi M, Hafezi F, Naderi F, Ehteshamzadeh P. Hybrid Open Access The Effectiveness of Reality Therapy on Resilience and Psychological Distress in Parents of Children with Cancer. [cited 2022 Sep 20]; Available from:

18. Fitzgerald A. Reality therapy for marital and family systems counseling [Internet]. Semantic Scholar. 2011 [cited 2023 Jun 23]. Available from:

19. Fereydouni H, Omidi A, Tamannaeifar S. The Effectiveness of Choice Theory Education on Happiness and Self-Esteem in University Students. Practice in Clinical Psychology [Internet]. 2019 Sep 30;7(3):207–14. Available from:

20. Karimyar Jahromi M, Mosallanejad L. The Impact of Reality Therapy on Metacognition, Stress and Hope in Addicts. Global Journal of Health Science [Internet]. 2014 Sep 23;6(6). Available from:

21. Hunter Q. Using reality therapy in clinical supervision : a psychotherapy-driven model. Available from:

22. Fereydouni H, Omidi A, Tamannaeifar S. The Effectiveness of Choice Theory Education on Happiness and Self-Esteem in University Students. Practice in Clinical Psychology [Internet]. 2019 Sep 30;7(3):207–14. Available from:


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