How Reality Therapy Can Help You With Your Unclear Future

How Reality Therapy Can Help You With Your Unclear Future

Life is unpredictable. You can’t always be certain of anything that goes on under the sun. It’s not easy making plans sometimes, let alone following them through, but it can be done. You may just need a helping hand. Reality therapy is one. Developed by William Glasser in the 1960s as an approach to psychotherapy and counseling, reality therapy focuses on helping a person become more aware of their choices and present actions. Find out how this therapy can guide you:


Glasser believes that humans have five basic needs which must be met for a healthy and satisfying life. 

  • Survival – involves basic needs like shelter, food, water, and sexual fulfillment.
  • Love and belonging – found in community and all kinds of relationships such as those with family, friends, and other loved ones.
  • Power – having a sense of accomplishment and self-worth (e.g. winning a competition, graduating from college, or developing self-confidence).
  • Freedom – having independence and one’s own personal space.
  • Fun – achieving satisfaction, enjoyment, and a sense of pleasure.

Not meeting these needs leads to psychological distress and careless behavior.

Being In The Moment

While other forms of psychotherapy emphasize past events, reality therapy explores your current desires and goals and what you’re doing to achieve them. Practitioners may visit the past only to understand where your wants and your behavior came from. They help evaluate how realistic your goals are and whether your actions are working or not. Your present and future are highlighted without dwelling on your mistakes and without you comparing yourself to other people. 


Changing how you act toward your goals, when you’re not getting anywhere, is essential. You can’t expect to make your dreams happen if you keep doing things that are actually unhelpful. A reality therapist will help you see this. Once you find out what you’re doing wrong, you’ll look for ways together that can help you transform your behavior. For instance, thinking that you deserve to finally follow your own path and not worry about receiving criticism for it. 


Some people meet their needs by manipulating others. Money, authority, and emotions can get you what you want, but they can fail you and when they do, you’ll be frustrated. There are things which simply are not under our control. In therapy, you discover the truth that you can only control yourself. Even when your plans fall apart, you decide how you react. Will you be furious or will you choose to move on? As you go through the therapeutic process, you can develop proper control over yourself and your life.

Taking Action

Glasser states that though we can’t choose our feelings or our physiology (headaches, sweaty palms, nervous tics, etc.), we can directly choose our thoughts and our actions. A goal requires commitment and proper action. Reality therapists aim to help you make specific plans, attainable goals, and most importantly, act on what is under your control. Plans need to be simple, consistent, and your own. The therapist will continue guiding you as you make your each move.

Reality therapy can help you know your life choices and become more responsible for every step you take towards your future. Moreover, you get to understand how it all works and what you need to do as you make your plans. Through reality therapy, you realize that you have power over things within your control that will bring you to your future. 

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Written by Hannah Grace

A B.S. Psychology graduate who fights both real and imaginary shadows every day with music and words.

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