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child and adolescent counseling chapter 9

Chapter 9

Reality Therapy
Nothing strengthens the judgment and
quickens the conscience like individual
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
© 2011 Brooks/Cole, A

Chapter Objectives
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

Outline the development of reality therapy and Glasser’s

Explain the theory of reality therapy and choice theory
including its core concepts
Discuss the counseling relationship and goals in reality
Describe assessment, process, and techniques in reality
Demonstrate some therapeutic techniques
Clarify the effectiveness of reality therapy

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William Glasser
• Education: chemical engineering,
clinical psychology, medicine
• Theory and concepts based on his
work with delinquent adolescent girls
• Rebelled against Freudian concepts
• Founded Institute for Reality therapy
for training courses in his approach to
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Nature of People
• Psychological problems are the result from an
inability to fulfill one’s basic needs
• Correlations exists between lack of success in
meeting needs and the degree of distress and
• Denial of reality refers to tendency to try to avoid
the natural and logical consequences of behavior
• Irresponsible behavior, attempts to satisfy needs
in ways that infringe on the rights of others, leads
to trouble
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Glasser’s Beliefs
• Teach people to love and be loved

• Help people feel valued by themselves
and others
• Those will lead to success identity

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Choice Theory
• Only behavior we can control is our own
• We are responsible only for what we
choose to do with our behavior
• All long-lasting psychological problems are
relationship problems resulting from
attempts to get people to do things they do
not want to do

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Five Basic Needs
Love and Belonging
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Important Terms
Denial of reality
• tendency of people to try to avoid the unpleasant
natural and logical consequences of their irresponsible
Irresponsible behavior
• attempts by people to satisfy their own basic needs
in ways that infringe on the rights of others to meet
their needs
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Theory of Counseling
• Discard mental illness in favor of
• Focus on moral issue of right/wrong
• Ignore past, focus on present/future

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Theory of Counseling
• Relate on a person-to-person basis
• Ignore the unconscious
• Counseling with children = teaching and
learning experience

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Choice Theory
• Reality therapists practice Choice
• Prevent problems before they happen
• Examine client’s belief system
• Help people handle the pain from not
getting what they want
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Choice Theory
• Behavior = acting, thinking, feeling, and
• People are responsible for own choices,
decisions, goals, and happiness
• We control our mental images
• We choose psychosomatic illness, we can
choose something more satisfying
• The closer reality is to quality world = happier
we will be
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Four Choices
An example for someone who is
1.Continue to depress yourself
2.Change what you are doing to get what
you want
3.Change what you want
4.Both #2 & #3
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Eight Steps
Step 1. Build a relationship with the child.
Step 2. Child describes present behavior
Step 3. Child evaluates what is going on in
his life and how he is helping himself.

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Help questions for
Step 3
• How does this behavior help you?
• How does this behavior hurt you?
• How does this behavior help you learn
• How does this behavior improve your
• Is your behavior getting you what you
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Eight Steps (Cont.)
Step 4: Counselor and child look at possible
Step 5: Child selects alternatives for reaching goals
and commits to trying the choices.
Step 6: Counselor and child examine the results.
Step 7: Logical and natural consequences are not
Step 8: The counselor does not give up on the child.
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Moral Development
(Piaget and Kohlberg)
Preconventional Morality

• Stage 1: Will I get caught?
• Stage 2: What is in it for me?

Conventional Morality

• Stage 3: What will the neighbors think?
• Stage 4: What is the rule or law?

Postconventional Morality

• Stage 5: What is best for society?
• Stage 6: What is best for humankind?
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Reality Therapy Process
1. What are you doing?
2. Is what you are doing helping you get what
you want?
3. If not, what might be some other things you
could try?
4. Which idea would you like to try first?
5. When?
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For younger children
1. What did you do?
2. What is our rule about this?
3. Was what you did against our rule?
4. What were you supposed to do?
5. What are you going to do next time?
6. Do you want to write your plan for next time or
do you want me to write it?
7. Let’s check tomorrow to see if your new plan is
© 2011 Brooks/Cole, A

For older children and
1. Let’s begin by talking about what you have been
doing to solve the problem.
2. It would be helpful if you could give me an idea
of how what you have been doing has been
helping you.
• We may want to consider some questions:

Is your behavior in touch with reality?
Is your behavior the responsible thing to do?
Is your behavior the right thing to do?
Is your behavior cost-effective?

© 2011 Brooks/Cole, A

For older children and
adolescents (Cont.)
3. If your behavior is not getting you what
you want, what would you like to do
4. What plan would you like to develop?
5. When can we follow up on your plan?

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Ten-step Consultation Model
Step 1. List what you have already tried
that does not help.
Step 2. (if needed) Make a list of changeof-pace interventions to disrupt the
Step 3. (if needed) Make a list of things
you could and would do to help the child
have a better day tomorrow
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Ten-step Consultation Model

Step 4. Try one-line counseling
Step 5. Use reality therapy question that
emphasize the rules on which
agreement was reached in a previous
Step 6. Use standard reality therapy
questions that end with a written contract
or a handshake.
© 2011 Brooks/Cole, A

Ten-step Consultation Model

Step 7. In-class time-out is recommended.
Step 8. Some children may require a timeout outside the classroom.
Step 9 and 10 are designed for special
more severe cases.

© 2011 Brooks/Cole, A

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