Yesterday I got to demonstrate skills associated with four different therapy approaches: Reality therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and Adlerian therapy.
Overall the video shoot went well, but I was surprised that of these four approaches, in many ways I felt most comfortable with reality therapy. I hadn’t expected that. Many people don’t “get” reality therapy and think it’s either a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy or a highly confrontational approach wherein therapists sternly confront their clients with cold, cruel, reality.
But reality therapy isn’t a form of CBT and it’s not confrontational. What I found myself doing in the reality therapy demo was following the sage guidance of Robert Wubbolding who formulated four BIG questions that stand at the heart of reality therapy. The questions would be good for everyone to memorize and can, when applied gently and persistently, help get people back onto a positive track. The questions are:
1. What do you want?
2. What are you doing?
3. Is it working?
4. Should you make a new plan?
Wubbolding has written several books on reality therapy and is taking up the torch for William Glasser, who was the original developer of this approach. In particular, I recommend Wubbolding’s books because they will help guide you in how to ask questions to help clients explore these four very important questions. I can even use them right now:
What do I want? — A good night’s sleep.
What am I doing? — Typing up this blog
Is it working? — Nope!
Should I make a new plan? — Good night!