The Process of Reality Therapy
  1. The Environment
    1. Establish personal involvement - be friendly.
    2. Clarify roles.
    3. Provide a needs-satisfying environment.
      • physical and emotional safety and security
      • connectedness
      • strength, skill recognition
      • choices
      • fun
    4. Accept no excuses for irresponsible behavior.
    5. Avoid the past unless related to present or source of strength.
    6. Avoid punishing, criticizing, or protecting from reasonable consequences.
    7. Do not be overwhelmed by clients' stories.
  2. Procedures That Lead to Change
    1. Help people realize that all behavior, even painful behavior, is a choice.
    2. What do you want? (Help person clarify his or her Quality World picture in this specific situation)
    3. What are you currently doing to get it?
    4. Is what you are doing helping you get what you want (now or in the long run)?
    5. Would you like to try something different?
    6. Make a plan (SAMIC3**: simple, attainable, measureable, immediate, consistent, client-centered, commited to). A do plan is best.
    7. Get a commitment.
    8. Follow-up. Never give up.

Practice, practice, practice is the key to mastering the skill of Reality Therapy. Role playing with a partner or in a triad, with one person playing the helper, one person the client, and another to provide feedback, is the best way to practice. Scroll down for some suggestions for scenarios to use for role playing.

*(Bob Wubbolding, Understanding Reality Therapy, 1991)


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