What are the pros and cons of reality therapy?

Reality therapy focuses on things that are happening in the patient’s present, not the past.

According to most experts, the main advantages of reality therapy are related to the way it focuses clients directly on solutions to their problems. Reality therapists tend to avoid focusing too much on internal issues and things from a person’s past, preferring instead to deal with things that are happening in the present. According to some, reality therapy’s strength can also be its weakness. Some people feel that reality therapists don’t focus enough on how internal issues and things in a person’s memory can affect current behavior, potentially leaving clients with lingering problems. In addition, some experts feel that focusing on the consequences of life decisions can make patients feel guilty about their problems, which can be counterproductive.

Reality therapy does not focus on a person’s emotions.

This type of therapy usually consists of identifying problems, making plans to resolve them, and then doing whatever is necessary to keep clients focused on implementing the plans. In this sense, it is a therapeutic method that is much more focused on solutions than causes. Some attention can be given to why a person has a problem, but only enough attention to discover a viable solution. This focus on plans and problem solving is sometimes seen as a weakness, because experts fear that focusing on psychological issues as a consequence of behavior can make patients feel like failures, potentially undermining their self-esteem.

Reality therapy can help give people realistic expectations about relationships.

Another thing this mode of therapy does not emphasize is the focus on emotion. Feelings are seen primarily as a consequence of behavior and, in this sense, are essentially a symptom. Generally speaking, this type of therapy is less concerned with symptoms, focusing on how to address the underlying issues that make people feel the way they do. Patients are often encouraged to treat feelings as a barometer, demonstrating progress or lack of progress toward whatever end goal the person is pursuing.

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Reality therapy can help people deal with self-esteem issues.

According to some experts, the biggest drawbacks of reality therapy come from a general lack of focus on underlying issues that may be causing a person’s problems and a general lack of focus on internal states. Many therapists believe that patients often benefit from facing their inner demons and dealing with the traumatic things from their past. In addition, some other therapeutic approaches do emphasize a focus on inner states and feelings, and people advocating these approaches can have a lot of problems with this type of therapy.

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