Reality Therapy Research Proposal

Pages: 9 (3066 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Reality Therapy is a practical approach to helping people take responsibility for their lives. Being responsible helps people recognize how to take control over their lives by understanding what they want and what they need, and then looking at whether they can realistically achieve their wants and needs as personal goals or milestones. It is a process that causes people to examine their own behaviors and to examine the outcomes of their behaviors in the ways that have impacted their lives adversely. Some people are very surprised to find that their own behaviors have prevented them from successfully realizing their goals for their own lives. This is the reality of their lives, and why we call this kind of counseling reality or "choice" counseling (Clark, Katy, 2003, p. 11). Reality counseling helps individuals to see the reality of the impact of their choices on their lives.

This paper is a brief study of reality therapy, or choice therapy, as it is sometimes called (Clark, p.11). It is the study of how people are able to take responsibility for their lives, and in so doing, change the adverse impact of their choices into positive impacts. Recognizing and examining their role in their own lives is often the most surprising, and rewarding experience of this innovative counseling approach.

Reality Therapy

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Reality therapy was introduced by William Glasser, M.D., in 1965 (Clark, p. 11). It is a therapeutic approach based on choice theory, and it is a revelation of the processes that individuals make, and probably make without giving much thought as to the outcome of their choices as they go about their lives. The choices people make for their selves are often responses to their innate needs. Choice theory identifies these innate needs as survival, loving and the need to be loved, success, control, independence, and the pursuit of entertainment or that which brings the individual joy. Choice theory says that it is important to point out behaviors, rather than to make interpretations of behaviors (Brown, Nina, 1996, p. 28).

Research Proposal on Reality Therapy Assignment

Give members the freedom to accept and decide for themselves the value and/or validity of the feedback. Do not impose ideas, opinions, or advice. Allow enough space so that members are empowered. They may not be ready to accept the level and/or depth of self-knowledge, awareness, insight, or understanding at this time. However, it is most likely that they will return to it at some future time, particularly if it is their choice and the group leader has shown confidence in their ability to handle it (Brown, p. 28)."

By examining the individual's choices, it becomes possible to target the emotional behavioral response in terms of the patient's own feelings. Feelings previously mentioned, like the need to survive, love, and being loved are emotions that help to create meaning in individual lives (Brown, p. 48). The meaning is emotional sustenance, and if a person lives in fear of being rejected, or not being able to survive in their life vs. The stressors in their lives, then their response is to make choices that do not help them to achieve the success they are seeking for their lives.

The reality or choice counselor must help the client learn to recognize these responses, and to learn to respond differently to the triggers (Brown, p. 48). The responses, while they might at first seem foreign to the client, because they are altering pattern behaviors that for some clients might have been the response for very long periods of time in their lives. Even the negative responses, however, when recognized by the client, can be converted to positive outcomes (Brown, p. 48). Creative meaning can be derived from the negative responses, which, because the client recognizes them as negative, allows the client the opportunity to convert the reaction/response into a positive (Brown, p. 48).

Existential anxiety, if confronted, can be a source of creativity and growth. While it is a frightening and uncomfortable experience, the benefits can be enormous and satisfying. Confronting anxiety expands awareness of choices and potentials, while seeking to alleviate anxiety, or repressing or denying it, leads to more constriction and much less awareness and more frustration (Brown, p. 48)."

People then begin to experience more satisfying returns on their life choices (Brown, p. 48). This is a release from the anxiety that was associated with pattern choices. The client begins to gain a sense of the many choices that are available, and there is a sense of empowerment in having multiple choices to choose from (Brown, p. 48). This has been equated with a sense of freedom, which for many clients is much akin got to the sense of flying; it is exciting, but at the same time it could be frightening. However, it is a sense of power and freedom that many clients readily adjust to (Brown, p. 49-50).

Reality therapy keeps the client rooted in the present (Clark, p. 11). It is not a backward looking therapy, but a forward focused therapy (Clark, p. 11). It begins by immediately helping the client to recognize their responsibility, and to stop blaming others for things that go wrong in their lives, or cause their lives to be far afield of where the client envisioned his or her life would be.

Putting Theory into Practice

Perry D. Passaro (2004) looked at a study conducted involving the use of reality therapy and school children (p. 503). The students were behavioral problems, and the dependent measures were assigned for those behaviors (p. 503). The dependent measures used by the experts were:

Daily behavior of students served in the program over the school year was assessed using a 4-point Likert scale (4 = excellent, 3 = good, 2 = fair, 1 = poor). The scale measures staff members' subjective assessment of the behavior for that day. Behavioral assessment was closely aligned to specific student behavioral goals and objectives with each student's individualized education plan (IEP). Behaviors typically included were, compliance, task completion, verbal and/or, physical aggression (p. 503)."

The experts were able to gather reliable comparable data for comparison utilizing school records from the prior year for suspensions, and daily attendance records (p. 503). The students and their parents were provided daily feedback (p. 503). The reality therapy was successful in bringing about marked improvements in the student's behaviors, and, thusly, their attendance and grades (p. 503). The students began accepting responsibility for their behaviors, and were able to focus on behavior as a response and outcome based on response (p. 503). The therapists put into place improvement plans developed by Glasser.

The plan for improvement (PFI) form was adapted from a similar form developed by Glasser. It is utilized to help students apply the principles of RT to their lives. The PFI is used when students are placed in the school support room and utilizes the principles of RT in an individualized manner. It can be completed by students while the psychologist/staff conducts other tasks. After the PFI form is completed, it is reviewed with students before they return to the classroom. The plan is used to focus students on the underlying RT principles of behavioral choices, natural consequences, and the alignment between what students desire and their behavior to reach that goal. The questions used in the plan are as follows: What happened in the class? How does my behavior affect the class? What is my level of cooperation in class (on a scale from 1 to 10)? What am I willing to do? who can help and support me with this plan (p. 503)?"

Schools are not the only environment where reality therapy is proving successful in helping people accomplish behavior modification, and to take responsibility for their lives. The prison system is proving to be an environment where reality therapy helps the inmates make progress in altering their behaviors from anti-social behaviors, to behaviors that will help them be better suited the rules and laws and society around them once they are released from prison (Kinker, Jeanette, 2003, p. 102). The significance of this therapy in the lives of the prison population is remarkable. For the first time, in many cases, they are not being confronted by policemen, or by professionals who assume the role model of the policeman, but by counselors focused on helping them to look forward, not backward (p. 102).

As we consider the benefits of reality therapy, or choice therapy, we can imagine that the prisoners will begin experiencing a greater sense of control over their own lives. That they will learn not to blame others for their own choices, and that in doing so they will begin to realize positive relationship building techniques, instead of behaviors detrimental to relationships (p. 102). The prisoner's behavioral problems will continue to surface until the prisoner has been able to have control over his or her own behavior as to respond differently to the triggers to those behaviors. This way it is possible to keep the prisoners focused on how to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Reality Therapy" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Reality Therapy.  (2008, December 10).  Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Reality Therapy."  10 December 2008.  Web.  28 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Reality Therapy."  December 10, 2008.  Accessed September 28, 2020.