In Reality Therapy, Robert E. Wubbolding explores the history, theory, research, and practice of this choice-focused approach to psychotherapy. William Glasser first developed the ideas behind reality therapy in the 1950s and 1960s when he formulated the basis of choice theory, which concerns the way human beings choose their own behavior and how these choices can either satisfy or not satisfy basic drives and goals.

Using this theoretical basis, reality therapy helps clients to learn to be more aware of their choices and how these choices may be inefficient in achieving their goals. Framing behavior as a choice, a choice made by client's internal control, leads clients to feel more responsible and in command of their lives.

Reality therapy is structured around the WDEP system (wants, doing, evaluation, and planning): The reality therapist works with clients to explore their wants and what they are doing to achieve those wants, evaluating whether what they are doing is helpful or harmful to their goals, and finally helping the client plan ways to change their behavior.

In this book, Wubbolding presents and explores this approach, its theory, history, therapy process, primary change mechanisms, the empirical basis for its effectiveness, and contemporary and future developments.

This essential primer, amply illustrated with case examples featuring diverse clients, is perfect for graduate students studying theories of therapy and counseling, as well as for seasoned practitioners interested in understanding how this approach has evolved and how it might be used in their practice.

How to use the Theories of Psychotherapy Series® in combination with APA Videos

Table of Contents

Series Preface

How to Use This Book With APA Psychotherapy Videos


  1. Introduction
  2. History
  3. Choice Theory
  4. The Therapy Process
  5. Evaluation
  6. Future Developments
  7. Summary


Glossary of Key Terms

Suggested Readings



About the Author

About the Series Editors

Author Bio

Robert E. Wubbolding, EdD, internationally known teacher, author, and practitioner of reality therapy, teaches choice theory and reality therapy in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His contributions to theory and practice include the ideas of positive symptoms, the cycle of counseling, five levels of commitment, and others; he has also significantly expanded the procedure of evaluation.

Dr. Wubbolding has written over 130 articles, essays, and chapters in textbooks, and completed 10 books and nine videos on reality therapy including the widely acclaimed books Reality Therapy for the 21st Century, and A Set of Directions for Putting and Keeping Yourself Together.

His busy professional life includes positions as director of the Center for Reality Therapy; Professor Emeritus at Xavier University in Cincinnati Ohio; and senior faculty for The William Glasser Institute in Los Angeles, California. In 1987 he was personally appointed by Dr. Glasser to be the first director of training for the Institute. In this position he coordinates and monitors the certification, supervisor, and instructor training programs.

Dr. Wubbolding formerly consulted with the drug and alcohol abuse programs of the U.S. Army and Air Force. He has been a group counselor at a halfway house for women, an elementary and secondary school counselor, a high school teacher, and a teacher of adult basic education. For 2 years he taught for the University of Southern California in their overseas programs in Japan, Korea, and Germany.

Professional memberships include the American Counseling Association, APA, the American Mental Health Counseling Association, and many other national and state psychological and counseling associations.

Dr. Wubbolding has received the following awards:

  • the Marvin Rammelsberg Award, presented to a person in a helping profession best exemplifying qualities of friendship, brotherhood, and humanitarianism while displaying exemplary leadership qualities and making outstanding contributions to professional organizations;
  • the Herman J. Peters Award, for exemplary leadership to promote the profession of counseling
  • the Greater Cincinnati Counseling Association Recognition of Merit Award;
  • the Mary Corre Foster Award, for exemplifying qualities of leadership within the counseling profession and promoting the standards of excellence within the profession;
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, College of Education, University of Cincinnati, Ohio (2002);
  • Distinguished Counseling Graduate of the 1970s, College of Education, University of Cincinnati, Ohio (2005); and
  • the Gratitude Award for initiating reality therapy in the United Kingdom from the Institute for Reality Therapy, United Kingdom (2009).

"He is one of my closest and most trusted associates. I couldn't recommend anyone more highly."
—William Glasser, MD, founder of reality therapy

Reviews & Awards
Read a review of this title from the PsycCRITIQUES® database (PDF: 48 KB)

Purchase access to PsycCRITIQUES, APA's searchable database of book reviews in psychology, delivering approximately 20 current reviews each week.
Companion Products
  • Reality Therapy

    In Reality Therapy, Dr. Robert E. Wubbolding demonstrates this choice-centered approach.