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Reality therapy is a form of therapeutic treatment that is client-centered and focuses on improving current life situations and circumstances, rather than examining past events in detail. Reality therapy often falls under the umbrella of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and it approaches behaviors and thoughts as intentional and changeable. Rather than spending time developing diagnoses, reality therapy encourages patients to focus on taking control over their own life by engaging in informed and useful behavioral patterns.


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Fortunately, using the reality therapy worksheet follows a very simple process. Some of these steps may seem self-explanatory, but we recommend checking them out regardless to ensure you are making the most of this resource.

As we mentioned, the reality therapy worksheet is primarily designed to be used by therapists who specialize in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). In regard to patients, there is a very broad range of reasons why an individual may be receiving reality therapy treatment. Some of these include:

As we discussed, reality therapy focuses largely on demonstrating to clients how their behavior is intentional and can be changed. By asking clients to reflect on their wants and current behaviors, you will be able to empower them to make positive and meaningful changes that will hopefully contribute to achieving their goals. Negative thinking patterns can quickly become cyclical in nature, and clients struggling with their mental health may find it difficult to break out of these cycles. With an intentional emphasis on altering thought and behavior patterns, clients will be much more likely to achieve their treatment goals and gain control over their life.

Among other things, reality therapy focuses largely on developing meaningful relationships. In addition to strengthening communication between therapists and clients, this type of therapy demonstrates to clients how they can improve the relationships and friendships within their personal and professional life.

The reality therapy worksheet that we have designed is separated into different WDEP sections. We have included individual questions within each of these sections that clients should be encouraged to answer. Although the more information and detail that a client includes the better, you may find yourself with a client who struggles to respond to every single question. This is definitely okay, and you should simply encourage your client to write down whatever they can.

Reality therapy is intended to help clients identify their unmet needs and guide them through making plans and setting goals to fulfill these unmet needs. It aims to anchor clients in the reality of their world and help them navigate that world through making responsible decisions that bring them closer to their goals (Arnold, n.d.).

These four components form the backbone of reality therapy (Center for Reality Therapy, n.d.). This system offers clients a way to discover what they want and identify what they are doing to obtain or achieve what they want. In addition, it facilitates their evaluation of whether what they are doing will contribute to their goals or not, and gives them the tools to plan the achievement of their goals.

Both reality therapy and positive psychology have been criticized for the focus on individual behavior and a perceived lack of attention paid to the systemic and societal factors that drive behavior. There has been much debate over this critique of positive psychology, with evidence both for and against.

In this piece, I provided an overview of reality therapy, including a description of this form of therapy, a discussion of its roots, and a sample of the techniques and exercises that you might find in a typical reality therapy session.

Let us know in the comments section if you have any thoughts about reality therapy. Have you tried it? Have you administered it? What problems do you think reality therapy is the most effective in treating?

Dr. William Glasser developed this method in 1965. He used reality therapy in psychiatric hospitals, prisons, and jails. Glasser has written many books on the subject, and the William Glasser Institute still teaches his methods today.

According to reality therapy, your actions are part of your overall behavior. It also maintains that you can manage your actions. Hence, the therapist will focus on modifying actions to change behavior.

For more details of reality therapy, including 22 kinds of self-evaluation, please consult the most comprehensive book written on this topic, Reality Therapy for the 21st Century, by Robert E. Wubbolding, Ed.D. You may order the book from the resource section.

All of the groups share a positive boost in self-esteem because reality therapy emphasizes that individuals can practice and get better at self-control. This helps people feel as though they can control their life choices and even help others do the same.

If you're seeking a couples therapist specializing in reality therapy, you can expect some initial questions that Glasser himself laid out. They focus on determining why you and your significant other went into therapy in the first place, to see if the couple is truly seeking help because they want to make their relationship work or because they just want to say they've tried.


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