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Reality Therapy

Reality Therapy can be very complex and intense.  Reality Therapy is quite different than other theories which base their beliefs on life development.  This theory does not focus on the unconscious but rather the conscious only part of the mind which drives all of the choices that are made by the individual.   Reality Therapists give very little attention to the past and focus primarily on the present.   This may work for some people (blocking out any childhood traumas or negative past experiences) until they are forced into a memory by dreaming or perhaps running into someone from their past.

The idea behind this theory is that all mental illnesses are chosen for some reason or another so the therapy concentrates on this belief and helps the client understand how to make choices that will benefit them to get them out of the situation they are in. The therapist will assist the client with techniques and ideas to help them reverse any psychological illness they believe they have.   From birth, people will keep close in their brain what feels good which is called the quality world.  In reality therapy it is believed that the people who were once in their quality world are now gone and relationships have suffered.  Therapists will then try to become part of their quality world.   Once they build the trusting therapeutic relationship they can then help them understand that everything is a choice therefore, they are choosing the mental illness.  Because of this, Reality therapists will not diagnose according to the DSM-V unless there is actual, physical, brain damage that is causing the mental illness.  Some critics believe this is not successful because there are many who believe psychological illnesses come from a biological factor and are undeniable.

Reality Therapy is very heavy on dialogue and communication between the therapist and the client.  Since this theory is based on the individual’s choices the therapist and the client will make their own choices when it comes to therapy.  For example, the therapist will not control the client nor will the client control the therapist.   Through confrontation, the therapist is able to help the client control more of their own actions which will lead to happy relationships.  There are people whoever, who resist this type of atmosphere because they are unable to communicate clearly what’s on their mind.

Therapists who practice reality therapy should be able to help the client choose to change.  This theory believes that change is a choice.  The therapist assists their clients in exploring within themselves and understanding their own values.   A good therapist will be somewhat patient, yet forthcoming and honest and will not push their own personal opinions on to a client.  However, there are some therapists who take it to extreme and use judgment when this type or practice does not call for such actions.

Reality therapy has challenged the medical model of treatment which has had great successes and benefits.  This type of therapy is successful when working with individuals who are looking for an immediate benefit.  There are clients who are more willing to accept personal responsibility for which this type of therapy can be extremely valuable.  The downside to this theory is that the medical model of treatment has indoctrinated the majority of the public into the medical way of thinking.