Reality Therapy:

How would you like to be involved with a therapist that is real, open, warm, friendly, honest, respectful, interested, tough, caring, patient, strong, responsible, energetic, concerned, humorous, persistent and with integrity. These are the qualities that a coach needs to be effective, according to Dr. William Glasser in his book Reality Therapy.

How would you like to be more responsible in your life to get what you really want?  How would you like to be an individual more in contact with your true reality?  How would you like to fulfill your loving and worthwhileness needs?  How would you like to be involved with more responsible and fulfilled individuals? These are the things that Dr. Glasser writes that we need for a better reality in "Reality Therapy".  How would you like to find more fun, freedom, control and love?  These are our basic needs according to Dr. Glasser in his book "Stations of the Mind".

A simple summary of reality therapy is where a player becomes so involved with their coach that they begin to face the reality that their behaviors are not really meeting their needs and values. The player then rejects their own past behaviors and accepts making plans for new behavior as meeting their needs and values. The player then learns better coping by executing their plans and continuing to keep their plans current. After they learn how to play they become coaches.

A more detailed summary is as follows:

1) Establish an authentic involved relationship with your coach.

2) Learn how to realistically evaluate your present behavior and how well it is working for you and meeting your needs and values.

3) Learn how to lay out positive plans of action with easily achievable steps.

4) Learn how to commit to your plan by documenting and signing your plan.

5) Learn how to just revise your plan instead of making excuses.

6) Learn how to see, feel, hear the consequences of your actions.

7) Learn how to reward yourself for your successes.

When you are interested in taking your first step in your reality therapy you can become involved with a coach that has as many of the above inner qualities as you can find. Why did I write for the client to become involved with a coach instead of the other way around? Because that is the first step towards taking more responsibility for your own life. After all, you are the customer and the coach is the person you are buying your coaching from. Makes sense to me. How about you?

Do you really need a coach? No. All of the above qualities are in yourself as the lord most high within yourself. Your chosen coach could be the lord most high within yourself when you are in touch with this facet of yourself. When you are already in contact with that facet of yourself, great. When you are not at this time, why not find a coach that is in contact and learn how to maintain your contact so that you will not need your coach? I would like all my players to have that goal of being coached by the lord most high within themselves and not me.

Why did I write about finding better things in your life? Because that is the second step in reality therapy of finding that your current reality is not meeting your needs. That is where we look at what our behavior is getting us and we decide whether we want to keep that behavior that is not working or to change our behavior to something that may work better. This step is about learning how to evaluate your own behavior against your own values. It is important that the values are your values so that all your work is towards what will be most important for you, not your therapist or coach. It is important that you are doing your evaluation of your behaviors so that you have your own incentives to change your behaviors. You hire your coach to ask you good questions so that you learn to ask yourself good questions. I am suggesting a player hiring a coach relationship simply because I believe that this kind of relationship can more likely facilitate a healthy relationship for both players than a therapist - client relationship can. I am not suggesting that therapists can not be good coaches, just that they have the attitude of coaching instead of fixing.

The third step is about learning how to lay out positive plans of action with easily achievable steps. Both parts are important. A positive plan of action means that you believe that your plan is achievable, given enough time. Once you begin to achieve your steps in your plan you can revise your plan. Sometimes to stretch your capabilities some more and sometimes to shrink your expectations some more. The other part of breaking your plans into small enough steps to make them easily achievable is very important. It develops a pattern of success. It develops a pattern of persistence. There may be no limit to where you can get with enough successful steps and enough persistence.

The fourth step is using some formality to your advantage. This is where your plan is written down. I found out the miracles that happen from a simple written plan when I was a project team leader many times in my former profession. It was no different when I used a simple written plan in my masters program project to develop a spreadsheet file to automatically improve teamworking. Call when you are interested in what simple plans look like.

The fifth step is about keeping your focus on planning and executing your plan without any judgments. The sixth step is about becoming more aware of what the results of your actions are. The seventh step is about reinforcing your own success.

The emphasis of reality therapy is on dropping your past and working directly on your new behaviors. Your new behaviors is the most effective kind of prayer I know, taking steps towards your goals that are in alignment with your values. Note that this kind of therapy or coaching does not involve going back over your past hidden wounds and deep dark secrets. When these past memories are blocks towards your progress on your plans you could choose to learn how to forgive yourself to clear them. All you need is to learn how to do this with the lord most high within without your coach needing to know what they are. That is spiritual psychology and the subject of another article.

However, I believe that the qualities listed for reality therapy are spiritual. I believe becoming aware of your true reality is spiritual. I believe fulfilling your worthwhileness and loving needs is spiritual. I believe the needs for more fun, freedom, control (of self, not others), and love are spiritual. Reality therapy is just a way to get to your bottom lines fast.


Michael Foster, Wellness Coach,

Learn how to recovery by discovering the blocks you need to remove and the actions you need to take and what you need to let go.

From my book in process, Living Without Anger Cookbook (Recipes for a Better Life)


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Copyright (c) 1997,8 by Michael Foster, M. A. at TOTAL-DC and


24 October 1998