Reality Therapy

Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Running Time: Over 100 minutes
Item #: 4310784
ISBN: 978-1-59147-788-4
List Price: $99.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $69.95
Copyright: 2007
Availability: In Stock
FREE Shipping

For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories

APA Psychotherapy Training Videos are intended solely for educational purposes for mental health professionals. Viewers are expected to treat confidential material found herein according to strict professional guidelines. Unauthorized viewing is prohibited.

In Reality Therapy, Dr. Robert E. Wubbolding demonstrates this choice-centered approach. Reality therapy is based on choice theory, which states that people choose their behaviors to do one of two things: fulfill a need or communicate with the surrounding world. Reality therapy first assesses what the clients' needs are and what they want from therapy. The therapist conducts an assessment to help clients determine how effective their behaviors have been in fulfilling their needs and then works with clients to determine a plan for more effective action.

In this session, Dr. Wubbolding works with a man in his 40s who has relationship difficulties because of his communication style. Dr. Wubbolding helps the client to look at his relationship differently and to try to see things from his girlfriend's point of view.


Choice theory provides the basis for reality therapy. It stresses that human behavior originates from five current sources of motivation or five human needs: Self-preservation, belonging, power or inner control, freedom or independence, and fun or enjoyment. Most behaviors are chosen and serve two purposes: to impact the environment around us in order to satisfy the five needs and send a message to or communicate with the surrounding world.

Reality therapy, the delivery methodology, is best summarized as the WDEP (Wants, Doing, Evaluation, and Planning) system. Each letter represents a cluster of interventions.

  • W stands for asking clients what they want from the therapy, from their families, from themselves, and in general from the world around them.
  • D represents a discussion of current behavior which includes actions, cognitions or self-talk, and emotions.
  • Self-Evaluation constitutes the core of the delivery system. Therapists help clients conduct a searching assessment of the effectiveness of their behavior, especially actions, the attainability of their wants and the validity of their perceived locus of control. Reality Therapy for the 21st Century (Wubbolding, 2000) describes 22 kinds of self-evaluation.
  • P includes both linear and paradoxical plans that are specific, attainable and repetitive. The plans are designed to increase belonging, power or inner control, freedom or independence, and fun or enjoyment.

Reality therapy began in a mental hospital and a correctional institution. Consequently, reality therapists apply the WDEP system to a wide range of mental health issues. Participants attending training sessions frequently want to gain specific skills for dealing with resistance, denial and related issues.

Reality therapy is most applicable in cultures that regard free choice as a positive value. Individuals not respecting the rights of others are less likely to benefit from any system based on personal responsibility and humanitarian values.

About the Therapist

Robert E. Wubbolding, EdD, is director of the Center for Reality Therapy and director of training for the William Glasser Institute, and has taught reality therapy in North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The author of 10 books on reality therapy, he has expanded and extended this practical method by formulating it as the WDEP (Wants, Doing, Evaluation, and Planning) system and adapting it to cross-cultural therapy. Among his books is the most comprehensive book on reality therapy, Reality Therapy for the 21st Century (2000), in which he extends the procedures, describes their use in cross-cultural counseling, and summarizes research from around the world.


Purchase access to PsycCRITIQUES, APA's searchable database of book reviews in psychology, delivering approximately 20 current reviews each week.
Suggested Readings
  • Glasser, W. (1998). Choice theory: A new psychology of personal freedom. New York: Harper.
  • Wubbolding, R. E. (2000). Reality therapy for the 21st century. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis.
  • Wubbolding, R. E., & Brickell, J. (2001). A set of directions for putting and keeping yourself together. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.
  • Wubbolding, R. E. WDEP: A Group Reality Therapy Approach (DVD)

APA Videos

APA Books

Companion Products
  • Reality Therapy

    Reality Therapy explores the history, theory, research, and practice of this choice-focused approach to psychotherapy.