. ight now, calling past problems “psychiatric garbage.”(Page 37) The “what” of behavior is important then, not the “why” a client did something. The question is then, if the behavior is one way, can it be better? This is a very simple and straightforward look at therapy. What behavior is responsible for causing the difficulty and how do we modify it? He highlights in the Identity Society (1975) principles of Reality therapy: involvement of the therapist or helper, awareness of the current behavior, evaluating behavior to see if it is good for the client or people who care about the client, Planning responsible behavior, commitment to the plan (usually with a signed contract), non acceptance of excuses for irresponsible behavior, non punishment of failures (only praise and reasonably agreed upon consequences).
(pp.77-102) The techniques employed by Glasser are as simple as the concept itself.Glasser is very paternal in his demeanor and very patient but stern in his approach to those resistant to change. Perhaps his work in correctional institutions and school systems has tempered his style.
He sets firm guidance for change (acting responsibly) and challenges the client to meet the grade. His insistence on discipline reflects his notion that when people refuse to meet the rules of the world they cannot be fulfilled. Glasser knows his clients can succeed, so he sets some high standards for changing.He is moralistic in his approach also as he posits that pleasure for pleasure sake is not redeeming. (page 38) Glasser wants mankind to act reasonably and with a purpose. His idea of right and wrong does not sit well with some psychologists who allow clients to act according to whim. Glasser does not agree that people who act bizarrely or irresponsibly are sick and therefore not responsible for their actions; rather, he believes that they are acting in a manner of trying to get what they want, and need to be reminded when their behavior is inappropriate.
He expects the therapist to model behavior and engender trust by that behavior.He suggests in Reality Therapy (1965): “The therapist must be a very responsible person-tough, interested, human, and sensitive- Neither aloof, superior, nor sacrosanct- always strong never expedient. He [sic] must withstand the patients’ requests for sympathy, for an excess of sedatives, for justification of his actions no matter how the patient pleads or threatens”(page22). If this sounds severe, it is actually based on a kind of tough love. Glasser is humanistic and very accepting of even the worst of clients but he refuses to be manipulated, wallow in the self-justification of why someone does something.
He requires that the client accept the reality that their irresponsible behaviors may be harmful to themselves and others.Like the alcoholic who must admit to the reality of that lifestyle before beginning the road to recovery, Glasser leads clients to face reality. He is sensitive enough not to push too hard, in fact relies on the client to make moves toward self- improvement as he patiently offers his therapeutic services. Unlike Ellis who will goad, cajole and otherwise actively direct the client toward change, Glasser leaves the client with full responsibility to make the initial first move. Glasser is not less warm than Ellis but perhaps more stoic and inflexible in his demeanor due to his convictions.
It is simply a matter of technique when helping the client change. Glasser shows his human side in Choice Theory (1998): Huge numbers of people are not willing to settle for lives with no happiness.They are not willing to turn their lives over to the search for pleasure without happiness. Many of these unhappy people want very much to find others to love, but because of the reality of their life situations – they are poor, old, uneducated, unattractive, workless, homeless, sick or criminal, the list is long, – they are unable to. There may be an answer to the poignant question posed by the Beatles: All the lonely people, where do they all come from? They come from a world in which they are separated from their husbands, wives, children, teachers, and employers by this destructive psychology (external locus of control). (Page 195) Glasser as therapist person is very sensitive and caring, he understands behavioral training in the discipline arena and juxtaposes it with societies’ notion of punishment reward (stimulus/response).
He will encourage an attempt at changing, even if it results in failure, thus exhibiting confidence in the clients ability to eventually win and not turning the situation in to one of conditional regard (I will help you only if you succeed all the time.) This is in the tradition of the very best coaches and mentors as well as therapists. Glasser will give time out only for the length of time it would take for an offender to figure out a way to negotiate a way to work within the rules. In this ingenious way, he always leaves the power, control and responsibility in the clients’ hands, where he argues it should be.In The Reality Therapy Reader (1976) Barbara Hobbie writes: Reality therapy stresses warm human involvement; shuns pedagogic psychiatric categories such as dementia praecox, paranoid schizophrenia, and manic depression; avoids examination and analysis of early trauma or past history; holds patients responsible for their own recovery; and, in fact, rejects the idea that there is such a thing as mental illness.
What Reality therapy seeks to do, in short, is to force people to face their own reality and reshape their behavior in order to fulfill their needs. When people do not fulfill their needs they regard themselves as failures. (Page 253) The therapy itself is in the hands of laymen as well as those who come to therapy. Ellis and Glasser offer uncomplicated ways to help individuals change. Generally anyone can read either therapist’s works and with enough desire can head toward change.They are both matter of fact, no nonsense therapies based in the here and now. Both require the client to evaluate, confront their behaviors, and seek goals of attaining alternative behaviors.
REBT and Reality Therapy have stood the test of time and some of their techniques remain the cornerstone of many cognitive and behavioral as well as many eclectic therapies. They are simple in concept and easy to put into practical use. They are both user-friendly therapies available to laymen, in books, tapes, and videos and now on the Internet. Both have undergone revisions, adapting to the increased value on multicultural sensitivity.The original works of both Ellis and Glasser are written in the masculine second person with many sexist, racist (albeit innocent terminology based on the norms of that era) and ageist language. What existed in the early works of both and remain to date is an unparalleled commitment to excellence in the field of psychotherapy.
Ellis and Glasser were both reformers and breakaways from the traditional psychotherapy of their day. Both are closer to the nature of human misery in that they have defined what frustrates so many human beings, and that is humans need to be fulfilled with love and feelings of worth that come from success in life. They think and behave in order to become fulfilled and when they are unfulfilled, their thoughts and behaviors are the problem. While Ellis and Glasser recognized it they understood that many people are not capable of being scientific. To whit: most people routinely think illogically, irrationally and often with emotion based on impulse.
What both gentlemen have offered is a rational way to see the world and a simple plan to clarify that view for better navigation within it. They pick up where other therapies fall short by allowing the client to experience the flush of pride and strength that comes from taking responsibility for their behaviors and consequences that come with them as they grow towards personal choice and freedom. Other therapies do a disservice by suggesting that the client is not to blame for responding to the forces of the world and the demands of society. Those psychologists take the responsibility away from clients and deny them the refreshing touch of reality. Both therapies give the client a place in the world and strength to move through it confidently without drugs or denying their place in it.
Both are highly productive in a group setting. They do what drugs cannot, that is: change behaviors that weaken nervous and immune systems in the first place. They do have their fundamental differences even though at face value they are inconsequential when comparing the two therapists. Albert Ellis is fun spirited and takes life not so seriously. It is part of his personal philosophy that there are no “shoulds”, or musts or other absolutes with which to govern ones life by. In fact he revised his writing style to avoid hypocrisy when other colleagues and students noted that his first writings were full of shoulds, musts and other absolutes.He seems to enjoy life because he is not bound by any absolutist credo.
He is free to work as hard or as lightly as he pleases. Without such pressure he is absolutely prolific, working sometimes 7 days a week, flying all around the globe giving seminars and maintaining his post as chairman of the Albert Ellis Institute of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. William Glasser on the other hand is kind but more sedate in his professional comportment. He is warm sensitive and caring but maintains a very dignified composure when working with clients.It is against his nature to ridicule a client, as he is certain that the risk of harming a client through such behavior does not justify the gamble.
His view on confrontation is basically to read a client and see what the client is ready for. He likens pushing too much to denying young lovers to see each other only to force them to elope. William Glasser would rather coax a client towards growth with his appeal as a steadfast, competent, caring helper rather than behave in a way to scare or insult the client.
He would never “shame” a client, as would Ellis because it is a form of punishment.Glasser does not believe in punishment. Punishment to him is an external control that can seldom be effective because people understand that they have choices and never internalize (when the locus of control is external) the lesson intended by punishment. He was notably successful for not using punishment when he worked at the V.A. hospital, the Ventura school and other institutions in California through the years.
Glasser as well is very prolific in his works and is chairman of the William Glasser Institute.Bibliography Bassin, A., Bratter, T. E., & Rachin R. L.
(1976) The reality therapy reader New York, NY, Harper and Row Ellis, A. (1999) How to make yourself happy: Atascadero, CA Impact Publishers Ellis, A.(1973) Humanistic psychotherapy the rational emotive approach New York, NY Julian Press, Ellis, A. & Abrams M. (1994) How to cope with a fatal illness New York, NY Barricade Books Ellis, A. & Harper R.
(1975) A new guide to rational living, No. Hollywood, CA Wilshire Book Company Ellis, A. & Velten E.(1998) Optimal aging Peru, IL Carus Publishers, Glasser, W. (1998) Choice theory, New York, NY Harper Collins Glasser, W.
(1984) Control therapy New York, NY Harper and Row Glasser, W. (1971) The identity society, New York, NY Harper and Row Glasser, W. (1965) Reality therapy New York, NY Harper and Row.