At the 4th European Conference for Positive Psychology, Kim Rose-Inza from the Korea Counseling Center and the Deh-In Positive Psychology Educational Foundation in Seoul, Korea presented on Reality Therapy. Reality Therapy is a method of counseling, which focuses on the client’s current behavior and whether or not it will help the client attain what he or she wants. Reality Therapy centers on helping the individual to re-connect with others in his/her life. Dr. William Glasser first developed Reality Therapy in 1965 incorporating Choice Theory, which suggests that living creatures behave and all behaviors attempt to satisfy one of the five basic needs.
Total behavior has four aspects: Thinking, Acting, Feeling, and Physiology. Dealing with feelings as in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy takes too long Rose-Inza suggests. She believes that the action aspect of behavior should be central. If one concentrates on the action, the feelings and physiology will follow. Reality Therapy stresses the importance of one’s present actions in order to alter the future. Glasser recommends leaving the past behind and concentrating on the present.
Rose-Inza offered a concrete example from her own practice: A couple she was counseling wanted to divorce after 20 years of marriage. The main, specific grievance cited was a dirty bath brush. The husband never hung it on a hook after showering making it become old and moldy quickly. The wife was terribly upset over the $5 bath brush. Rose-Inza had them both list their wants: hers – to have a clean bath brush; his – to not have to hang it up after showering. She recommended simply replacing the bath brush regularly. For a small price the conflict was solved by altering the actions just slightly and the marriage was saved. The plan of action for any couple must be simple, attainable, measurable, immediate, consistent, and client-centered. This method is known as Samic Planning. In addition, she recommends detailed, careful, and active listening as well as using I-messages in all relationship disputes.
Many people at the conference questioned that the problems between the couple may run much deeper than the simple conflict over the brush. However, Rose-Inza suggested to take one conflict at a time. Reality Therapy systematically questions if the wants of the client are being met by his or her actions. If not, the actions are changed through the Samic Plan.