Glasser suggests wanting power for power's sake is uniquely human. That need can be satisfied in malevolent ways by getting our way, bossing others, being right, getting more, and punishing others. However, doing things for the good of others is a better way of satisfying power needs. The need for power can be satisfied by a sense of accomplishment, doing a job well, working hard, and being recognized.
broadened the definition of the power needs to include inner control, achievement, self-esteem, and recognition.
the components of our quality world represent three categories: people we want to be with, things we want to possess or experience, and beliefs that guide our behavior. The best way to bring reality to our quality world image is to make the changes in our lives that help us find better ways to meet our needs. Failure to satisfy a particular need often results in choosing a symptom behavior such as depression. These needs are satisfied only by fulfilling an image or picture we have included in our quality world. Hence, we see the importance of being able to visualize ourselves achieving the important and realistic goals we have set for ourselves
The amount of freedom we have in our lives is directly proportional to our success in satisfying the pictures and images in our quality worlds. We give up freedom when we put pictures in our quality worlds that we cannot satisfy. When we try to fill our album by controlling people, Glasser predicted other problems would occur.
Glasser believed that all we can give or get from other people is information.
What we do with that information is our choice, as is the type and amount of infor- mation we give to others. Glasser stated that people have more control over thinking and doing than on feeling and physiology. He said it is easier to adjust one's thinking about a situation; so that rather than dwelling on the problems, one should start con- sidering possible solutions. He reflected that people have inborn potential to control thoughts and actions directly. People control feelings and physiology only indirectly by changing their thinking and doing. The implications for counseling and change are that to have the highest chance of success, a person would focus on thoughts and actions. People are responsible only for what they choose to do with their behavior. Relationships become progressively better as people focus on changing their own behavior
What we do with that information is our choice, as is the type and amount of infor- mation we give to others. Glasser stated that people have more control over thinking and doing than on feeling and physiology. He said it is easier to adjust one's thinking about a situation; so that rather than dwelling on the problems, one should start con- sidering possible solutions. He reflected that people have inborn potential to control thoughts and actions directly. People control feelings and physiology only indirectly by changing their thinking and doing. The implications for counseling and change are that to have the highest chance of success, a person would focus on thoughts and actions. People are responsible only for what they choose to do with their behavior. Relationships become progressively better as people focus on changing their ways
as we have mentioned earlier, believes that our attempts to control others are largely responsible for the misery in so many people's lives.
Humankind, unfortunately, has a long history of turning to coercion and control to get others to follow our wishes.
The primary focus of choice theory in reality therapy is to prevent problems before they happen. Regardless of the skill of the counselor, it is often impossible to rescue failing students who have never been willing to put school and teachers in their quality world vision. People do not admit those who try to control them to their quality world.
believes then that a good way to learn choice theory is to treat others in your life like you treat your best friend, your boss, and most strangers. You rarely try to force these people to do anything. People, however, tend to believe that they own their spouses, children, students, and employees and so try to control them. For example, I have a right to control the people I own, and when they do not do what I want, I have a right to force them to do it. Consequently, we often have better relationships with those not so close to us because we do not try to own them and force them to do things. Glasser recommends that parents treat their children like the grandparents do, but he recognizes that there must be limits; natural or logical consequences should result when limits are breached.
The original practice of reality therapy followed eight steps which we still find helpful
Step 1 is building good relationships with clients. Glasser calls this first step becoming involved, although involvement may not be the best word to describe this stage of counseling because it implies entangled or complex rather than positive, honest, and unencumbered relationships. All approaches to counseling include building a trusting climate in which clients feel free to express their innermost fears.
In Step 2, children focus on their present behavior. Glasser says he starts by saying to clients "Tell me the story" (Onedera & Greenwalt, 2007, p. 82), and that unhappiness is very often their story. The counselor and client describe what is the child doing now.
In Step 3, value judgment occurs. Children evaluate what is going on in their lives and how they are helping themselves. In other words, is their behavior help- ing them get what they want from life? If not, the counselor asks, "Do you want to change what is going on?" However, people do not change old behaviors until they are convinced that they are either not helping themselves or are actually harming themselves. In fact, people are more likely to change their behavior if they are thor- oughly disgusted with their current behavior. Therefore, if in Step 3, clients do not give counselors negative evaluations about their current behaviors, counseling is not likely to generate any behavioral changes. Some helpful evaluation questions to ask in Step 3 include:
• How does this behavior help you?
• How does this behavior hurt you?
• How does this behavior help you learn math?
• How does this behavior improve your grade?
• Is your behavior getting you what you want?
believes that the only way for a person who feels bad to feel better is to make a positive change in behavior
Reality therapy focuses on working with observable content, including behavior, plans, and goals. Sometimes in a counseling relationship, counselors call attention to discrepancies in what the child says and what the child does. The careful use of confrontation provides a way to discuss those inconsistencies. Confrontations typically include three parts
In Step 4, children plan responsible behavior in reasonable, specific, and positive terms. The counselor and child begin by looking at possible alternatives for getting what the child wants in life. A brainstorming format can be used in which the child looks at better ways of meeting his or her needs. If the child has difficulty selecting new things to try, he or she might focus on stopping something that is not working. However, the counselor will want to have clients plan for what they will be doing to fill the free time resulting from stopping ineffective behaviors. Counsel- ors can also draw five idea circles, filling two with suggestions and leaving the rest empty for the child to fill. Children, preferring not to leave the circles empty, gener- ally fill them. Counselors can ask children who their best friends are and what they might tell them to do.
In Step 5, children select alternatives for reaching their goals and commit to trying them. A key process in counseling children is helping them make commitments. When they are able to fulfill their commitments, they can build on these successes to achieve bigger goals.
In Step 6, counselors accept no excuses. The counselor and client examine the results of the commitment made in previous sessions. Children returning for a second interview often say, "Well, I made a commitment to turn in one homework paper a day, and I did not do that," and then begin to list all the reasons why they failed. Reality therapists do not dwell on rationalizing "why." No faultfinding or blaming is allowed (Murdock, 2013). At this point, the coun- selor and child discuss writing a new contract the child can handle; maybe one homework paper per day is too much for now and a less demanding contract is needed. Counselors do not accept excuses if children do not meet the commit- ments they made. Excuses are designed to avoid punishment, and when children learn they will not be punished for not meeting a commitment, they have no need for excuses.
In Step 7 counselors do not punish or manage reinforcement for the child client. Counselors do not interfere with the logical consequences of the child's poor choice—for example, a lower grade for failing to turn in a homework paper. Additional penalties that are not logical or natural consequences of failing to turn in the paper, such as paddling, are considered neither effective nor humane; however, logical and natural consequences are not removed. In Step 8, never give up—perseverance is required. How long should counsel- ors stick with children who seem stuck in their unhappiness? Glasser recommends working with such children three or four times longer than they expect. "Never give up" does not mean a lifelong commitment but rather building on whatever relation- ship that has been established in Step 1 and continuing to build this relationship through the entire eight-step process.
a way to outline the system of reality therapy, which he described as a web of skills and techniques focused on helping the child choose more effective, healthy, responsible behavior.
W (wants) is the stage in which the counselor learns about the client's wants, needs, and perceptions. Counselors help identify the core components of the person's quality world. Questions such as "What do you want?", "What are you not getting that you would like to get?", and "What is stopping you from getting what you want?"
D stands for direction and doing, exploring the current life situation with questions like "What are you doing?" and thereby asking for specifics that are currently happening. The question focuses on the client and behavior, opening the possibility of educating the client about how choice theory works
E involves evaluating what the person wants and what the person is doing to help determine whether or not the chosen behavior is effective. P refers to the state in which the person deter- mines what action is needed and makes a commitment to change. Plans should meet these criteria:
• Simple—straightforward and easy for everyone to understand
• Attainable—realistic and within reach
• Measurable—for outcomes and timing, specifics need to be detailed and concrete
• Immediate—implemented as soon as possible
• Involves counselor—as a support and for objective feedback
• Controlled by the client—for personal accountability
• Commitment—"I will" statements
• Consistent—with the behavior hopefully becoming a healthy pattern
a straightforward approach to counseling that some of our students question its utility for counseling difficult cases.
is a strong answer to those who believe that, although reality therapy may be the treatment of choice for regular problems of adjustment, it is not sufficient for treating people with major disturbances in their lives
extreme obsessive- compulsive disorder.
clients had problems with establishing and maintaining relationships
lacked meaning in their careers or in their lives
people have difficulty meeting their basic needs of survival, freedom, power, fun, and love and belonging, they often choose
a symptom as a way of compensating for failure to meet one or more of these basic needs. Choosing a symptom has the reinforcing effect of excusing the person for living an unproductive or even irresponsible life. After all, what can be expected from a person who has problems or who is "mentally ill"? If the symptom is sufficiently severe, further reinforcement for keeping the symptom is provided if the person receives total care for the disability. The road back to living a responsible life begins with a reality therapy type of plan to commit to doing those tasks or homework assignments the client can do and gradually increasing the tasks until the client decides, "I do not need my symptom anymore, and there are better ways to meet my basic needs
The ten-step reality therapy consultation model is an effective tool for counselors to use with teachers and parents who seek the counselor's assistance with their children's behavioral and motivation problems. Before deciding to use this model, counselors should assess whether the child's problems result from other people trying to control the child in coercive ways too often found in schools. We believe our current model, which has been adapted to be more consistent with Glasser's choice theory model, provides a step-by-step de-escalation for adults to help children control themselves.
Phase I, consisting of three steps, is designed to assist a teacher or parent in building a better relationship with the child.
Step 1. List what you have already tried that does not help. Stopping these inef- fective interventions often stimulates a positive change in the child's behavior. Step 2. If Step 1 is unsuccessful, make a list of change-of-pace interventions to disrupt the expected interactions between the adult and the child. For example, catch the child behaving appropriately, act surprised when the child repeats the same old aggravating behavior, ask yourself what the child expects you to do, and then do not do it
Step 3. If Step 3 is necessary, make a list of things you could and would do to help the child have a better day tomorrow. For example, give the child at least
three 20-second periods of your undivided positive attention, ask the child to run an errand for you, give the child some choices in how to complete a task or an assignment, ask the child's opinion about something relevant to both of you, give the child an important classroom or household chore, or negotiate a few rules (three to five) that you and the child think are fair to both of you.
Phase II, consisting of three steps, is devoted to counseling the child. In most cases, we find that successful interventions happen in the first phase. When this does not occur, we ask the adult to move to Step 4. Step 4. Try one-line counseling approaches such as the following:
• Ask the child to stop the undesirable behavior. Use as few words as possible, relying instead on nonverbal gestures. Do not use threats. For example "Please put away your cell phone."
• Try the "Could it be?" questions recommended by the practitioners of individual psychology (see Chapter 11). Could it be the child wants your attention? Could it be the child wants revenge or control? Or could it be the child feels inadequate and wants to be left alone?
• Acknowledge the child's cooperative efforts, but do not thank the child for behaving responsibly as if this behavior is a favor to you. You might say some- thing like "You were very careful with her crayons."
Step 5. Use reality therapy questions that emphasize the rules on which agreement was reached in a previous negotiation. For example:
• What did you do?
• What is our rule about this?
• What were you supposed to do?
• What else will you choose to do?
Step 6. Use the standard reality therapy questions that end with a written con- tract or a handshake. For example:
• What did you do?
• How did it help you?
• What could you do that would help you?
• What will you do
Have the child dictate or write and sign a contract; have a follow-up meeting. If the contract is broken, have the child write or dictate a contract that he or she can meet. Eliminate punishment in favor of letting the child experience the logical consequences of appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Phase III, consisting of four steps, is designed for children whose behavior makes teaching and learning difficult for everyone else in the classroom. In the home setting, Phase III is used when the child's behavior infringes on the rights of other family members. The hope is to solve the consultant problems in the six steps before Phase III, in which the primary intervention is isolation.
Step 7. In-class time-out is recommended. A quiet corner, study carrel, or private work area may be used. Time-out should not be in a punishment area or a "dunce's corner." The child has two choices: be with the group and behave, or be outside the group and sit in an isolated area. When the misbehavior occurs, send the child to the quiet area firmly with no discussion. The rest of the group does not have to be aware of the intervention. Have the child make a plan before returning to the group. The child's room may be used for time-out at home.
Step 8. Some children may require a time-out outside the classroom. The pro- cedure is basically the same one described in Step 7. Some schools use a time-out room; others use an in-school suspension room. Contracts or plans for making a successful return to the classroom group can follow the questions used in the reality therapy method.
Step 9. Some children have difficulty getting through the entire school day without disrupting the class. Individual educational plans (IEPs) for these students may list four or five expectations or rules that the school has for all students. If the child does not meet one of these rules, have the child's parents remove the child from school for the remainder of the day. Allow the child to return the next day and remain as long as he or she follows the rules. Community agencies have been used when home isolation was not possible. Once again, no punish- ment needs to be administered in addition to the logical consequence of isolation. Such IEPs require the input of teachers, parents, administrators, the child, and the counselor.
Step 10. Step 10 often involves taking the child on a field trip to juvenile court to observe the probable consequences of continuing his or her present behavioral patterns. Interviews with the judge, other court officials, counselors, teachers, and inmates increase the child's awareness of logical consequences existing outside the home and school settings. Failure to meet consultation goals with a child who has not reacted positively to the ten-step method may mean that the child should be referred to a community agency better equipped to solve the child's problems.