William Glasser (1925 – 2013) was an American psychiatrist. Glasser was the developer of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory. His ideas, which focus on personal choice, personal responsibility and personal transformation, are considered controversial by mainstream psychiatrists, who focus instead on classifying psychiatric syndromes as “illnesses”, and who often prescribe psychotropic medications to treat mental disorders. Glasser was also notable for applying his theories to broader social issues, such as education, management, and marriage, to name a few. Glasser notably deviated from conventional psychiatrists by warning the general public about the potential detriments caused by the profession of psychiatry in its traditional form because of the common goal to diagnose a patient with a mental illness and prescribe medications to treat the particular illness when, in fact, the patient may simply be acting out of unhappiness, not a brain disorder. Glasser advocated the consideration of mental health as a public health issue. He has written nearly thirty books translated in many languages. Glasser founded the Institute for Reality Therapy in 1967, which was renamed the William Glasser Institute in 1996.
In theoretical terms Reality Therapy is an evolutionary –systemic approach to people with psychological problems and mental health issues. (Leon Lojk 1937 – 2014)
In practical terms it is the application of Choice Theory in psychotherapy/ counselling with aim of improving mental health.
Reality therapy is an approach through which the therapist helps the client recognise, understand and change their own behaviour based on the idea that they control their own life. The therapist’s approach is based on understanding that a person is a free and responsible being who is internally motivated and whose behaviour is always purposeful. The author of reality therapy called this approach choice theory.
The therapist shares their understanding of human behaviour with the client, which allows the latter to change their view of themselves as a victim of unfavourable circumstances into that of a free being who makes decisions about themselves, regardless of the circumstances. A client’s understanding of their own behaviour as a response to what happened in the past or what is currently happening around them prevents them from developing affiliation with people who are important to them. Their relationships are therefore deficient or they are lonely. They thus suffer and develop various symptomatic behaviours that cause then further harm.
The new view of themselves that the client develops in the therapeutic process allows them to better harmonise and connect with others and establish internal balance in all areas of their life. The therapist’s task is to offer the client a different understanding of human behaviour and thus the opportunity to evaluate their current behaviour and establish themselves in realistic frameworks.
The main goal of Reality Therapy is to assist the client to replace traditional (ECP) beliefs with CT beliefs so that they may have healthy life-enhancing relationships. (William Glasser 1925 – 2013)
Choice theory is the understanding of human behaviour in the context of second-order cybernetics, which proves that living beings are self-directed systems that function purposefully. It defines a person as a free and responsible being who is intrinsically motivated and whose behaviour is always purposeful, very diverse and flexible. The purpose of behaviour is to follow internal motives and thus establish and maintain internal balance and balance with the environment. The idea of intrinsic motivation, integrity and the purposefulness of behaviour defines a person as a closed-loop system that functions according to the principle of intentional, circular causality.
Leon Lojk (1937 – 2014), psychologist, psychotherapist, senior instructor at William Glasser International, and a founder of the Training Centre for Choice Theory and Reality Therapy in Slovenia (in 1996) established the evidence that Choice Theory Psychology as well as Reality Therapy has its foundations in science and philosophy. His “Scientific Argument for Reality Therapy” was the basis of Reality Therapy recognition in Europe as scientifically grounded psychotherapeutic approach.
In 1999 Leon established European Association for Reality Therapy (EART). Under his leadership EART gain full acceptance as a regular member of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP) by the EAP in Brussels, 2008.
Moreover, in 2009 the Training Centre for Choice Theory and Reality Therapy was established as the European Institute for Reality Therapy (EIRT). EIRT at the moment provides the reality therapy psychotherapy training in Croatia, Bosnia& Herzegovina and Slovenia.
Sadly, Leon passed away on 17th November 2014.
Boba Lojk, social worker, psychotherapist, senior instructor at William Glasser International has developed original approach in teaching New Reality Therapy based on personal experiences. Along with her husband Leon she set up the five years reality therapy psychotherapist training as well as four years reality therapy counsellor training. Boba is EART general secretary and confounder of Training Centre for Choice Theory and Reality Therapy in Slovenia that in 2009 became the European Institute for Reality Therapy (EIRT).
Boba was the first director of EIRT. Her contribution is that EIRT in 2011 has been recognized by EAP as The European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institute (EAPTI). Thanks to this recognition as EAPTI every student who becomes RT psychotherapist through EIRT’s program automatic gets European Certificate for Psychotherapy (ECP) through direct award by EAP.