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Case Study Report On Reality Therapy

Case Study- Thomas and Reality Therapy

Issue and Approach

Thomas’s main problem is stealing to achieve fun and survival. He decided to shoplift a video game at Wal-Mart so that he can play with it later in to accomplish the fun side of it. He also wanted his survival needs to be met. He wanted to be comfortable in his seeking for satisfaction because maybe the computer at home could not work best for him. Thomas’ thinks quickly and without a second thought as seen by his will to steal without thinking of the consequences, which he later says was a mistake. Thomas’ issue to be dealt with is irrational thinking or quick decision making without thinking of the results of such thinking and decisions. Thus, such a psychological problem needs to be checked and monitored during a therapy session. After a close examination by the counsellor, after visiting the facility with the mother, it was of a benefit that the therapeutic approach of reality is used to examine his case.

Therapeutic Approach

Different psychological problems require different approaches to finding solutions to help the client avert his or her behaviour. Therefore, as mentioned, Thomas’ issue can be solved through Reality Therapy approach (RTA). Reality therapy approach was developed and formulated by Dr William Glasser with the aim of helping individuals to reason and make better choices. The therapy approach focuses on individual thinking of the current situation in the present context rather than on the past events, hence helping one to focus more about the future choices and decisions that would impact lives positively.

Reality therapy approach has been effective in treating problems such as addiction and behavioural issues among individuals(Wubbolding, 2013). The approach focuses on human consciousness and to help in bringing about right thinking by informing or inflicting the idea of right and wrong in an individual. Little or no time is usually spent on thinking or dwelling on the past activities and therefore encouraging therapists to find a solution to problems at hand. Hence, the approach can be observed to be solution-oriented and to bring positive influence in an individual. In reality approach, most individuals are indulging in certain behaviours to achieve specific goals and needs for example fun, survival, freedom, love and power or the feeling of being self-worthiness(Gladding & Alderson, 2012). When the goals go unattended to, the individual goes in seek of them, thereby their behaviours and mindset are oriented towards achieving the deficits they desire.

The reality theory is based on choice theory(Bradley, 2014). The idea suggests that an individual behaves in a manner that they so desire. For this case, Thomas made decided to think and make a choice between either to shoplift or not. Eventually, he decided to shoplift for the fun of it without thinking of the future and what would happen next after making the adverse decision. Thomas’ choice led him to be caught and thus confessing that it was now that he realized it was a wrong decision. The aim of the approach may not be to change others but to help the individual to improve their way of thinking and control their deficit behaviours(Bradley, 2014). The patients are also taught on how to positively meet their needs without using deviant means that are socially unacceptable as they may cause harm and further problems in future.

Counsellor’s view of the situation.Thomas’ big issue is that of seeking enjoyment and comfort in life. He gets involved in stealing because he sees it as the best and cheaper option to acquire the online video game without necessarily having to ask for it from his parents. The dissatisfaction is because, at home, there is a computer which the mother is not sure if it can run a game. At home, Thomas does not stick to the computer, stealing and the decision he makes shows that it is not giving him the much comfort and fun he desires to have to satisfy his love for gaming. The pattern of behaviour was invoked as his record, and family background shows that such action is not present and has never been experienced by any of the family members.

Role of the counsellor.Reality therapists provide a conducive environment to help the individual to think clearly of the situation at hand and not to be suppressed by the guilt of their previous actions. Based on the proponent’s argument, the reality therapists can take different angles in solving the situation at hand. The therapist understands that the mental issue develops if the need of the patient is unresolved(Olivi, Signore, Olivi& Genovese, 2012). The therapists adopt a cognitive behavioural approach to identify the individual’s problem and thus formulating a proper procedure through that works best with the client in question. The counsellor, therefore, builds a mutual relationship with the client and creates an environment of trust for the client to open up about his problems. The therapists then focus on the behaviour of and thereby comes up with adequate or reasonable solutions to help the client positively change his behaviour and come up with better ways of achieving needs such as asking support from the parents, in cases where he needs help, and the need is beyond his reach.

Behavioural Objectives: Second Session

Behavioural objectives included the observations made from the client after some talk with the client and the client’s mother.

  1. Through a verbal talk and interaction with Thomas, Thomas will learn to talk and be conversant with therapy since he has never attended one.
  2. Through verbal and physical interaction, Thomas will learn on overcoming his shyness and maintain eye contact for effective communication.
  3. With the interaction, Thomas is expected to discern accurately his decision of stealing and why he doesn’t see the session necessary.

Micro skills

  • Discerning

Thomas: I just thought of the idea of stealing as a better fascination that would help me to acquire the video game

Therapist:The idea was just a fascination, and I think you can be better cause I believe you understand it wasn’t a better decision

Thomas: Yes, I have learned my lesson and believe it wasn’t the best option to steal.

  • Learning

Thomas: I only thought of playing an online game comfortably and never expected it would end up like this

Therapist: I believe you’ve learnt your lesson after the incident and punishment from the parents

Thomas: Yes, I have learnt it the hard way and seen the consequences of irrational thinking.


There are different and several techniques that can be used to help Thomas to be of better behaviour and not to backtrack after the session. The session majorly takes the angle of an action-oriented method to help the student. The client can realize that he has choices to make, and no one will be able to choose actions for him. The most effective techniques used is teaching, playing the role of guidance and also through formulating techniques that would help in recognizing behavioural challenges leading to the making of right decisions(Wubbolding, 2013). The therapist will also help the client on ways of making better decisions to enable them to avoid temptations. Through different planning methods, the client is thus able to come up with how to view interest and what to do with such interests.

Closure Second Session

Therapist: “Thomas, we have completed our second session. By the look of things, we have observed some of the problems that you may be facing, and we have also made some progress in solving them. We identified that it wasn’t your intention to steal when you were entering the store. This is the reason we have learnt how to plan on avoiding such a manner of thinking when you are fascinated.”

Thomas:Actually, I have learnt a lot on how to think straight and plan for my time before involving in any behaviour out of this session.

Therapist: That was a better decision improvement, and I think we will now prepare for the third session and final session.

Thomas: Thank you, I’m looking forward for further engagements.

Behavioural Objectives: Third Session

  1. With relevant actions, Thomas is expected to put his planning actions into use practically
  2. With the engagement, Thomas can communicate appropriately and set the communication skills he has learnt through the lesson; this is, both the verbal and non-verbal cues of communication like keeping eye contact.

Strengths and limitation


Reality theory approach is beneficial according to most theorists and psychologists according to its proponents. One of the significant advantages of the theory is the manner in which it focuses on solving problems and helping one avoid the temptations and backtracking into the behaviour again. The reality therapists are solution-oriented and thus focus on solutions and not to dwell on the occurrence that might have led to the need for therapy(Hussein et al. 2014). The benefit of the treatment is that one can connect with his consciousness and identify the behaviour to correct. The treatment deals with external issues inducing the behaviour and not the internal matters that when touched, may stigmatize the client. Thus, the theory is beneficial and of more help towards solutions and behaviour changes. The approach is all about identifying problems, making plans to avoid such issues and also coming up with actions to keep the client on track in implementation of such programs made.


The theory also has its side of constraints that may hinder it from being effective. The major underlying disadvantage of the problem is the lack of focus on internal issues that might provoke the behaviour. The therapy does not involve connecting with emotions as it only focuses on challenges and averting such problems among individuals(Hussein et al. 2014). Patients are expected to put feelings aside when dealing with the external factors knowing that emotions are also what connects with an individual to engage in such a behaviour considered a vice.


Bradley, E. L. (2014). Choice theory and reality therapy: An overview. International Journal of Choice Theory and Reality Therapy34(1), 6.

Gladding, S. T., & Alderson, K. G. (2012).Behavioural and cognitive theories of counselling in B.Brandes (Ed.) (2016).Introduction to counselling (2nd Custom Edition) (pp. 240-267). Toronto, ON: Athabasca University/Pearson Learning Solutions.

Hussein, M. E., Hirst, S., Salyers, V., &Osuji, J. (2014). Using grounded theory as a method of inquiry: Advantages and disadvantages. The Qualitative Report19(27), 1-15.

Olivi, G., Signore, A., Olivi, M., & Genovese, M. D. (2012). Lingual frenectomy: functional evaluation and new therapeutical approach. Eur J Paediatr Dent13(2), 101-106.

Wubbolding, R. E. (2013). Reality therapy for the 21st century.Routledge.

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