WHAT ARE YOU DOING? by Naomi--Ed. Glasser


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Among the alternative treatments now available, reality therapy emerges as less doctrinaire and gimmicky than many. It depends on trust and friendship between therapist and client, not strictly maintained distance, and concentrates on present and future personal successes. These case studies, written by 25 reality therapists, reveal the nature of the treatment and what it can accomplish. Too often, collected reports of successful therapies possess an unappealing sameness, but Glasser's cases do not. Although these therapists share a basic orientation, their techniques do vary, and the individual situations are dissimilar enough to demonstrate the large range of clients who can benefit from this less intensive therapy. There are people needing crisis intervention (following divorce, disability), teenagers mixed up with drugs or alcohol, a backward regressed patient whose daily functions improve, a ten-year-old boy with elective mutism, and a retarded boy helped by the constancy and repetitions of an insistently friendly staff. (His therapist notes with irony, ""He soon learned that it was better to respond and do his best than to put up with all the friendly questions."") Most, experiencing both ups and downs during the course of treatment, improve within half a year, although some need more extended timetables. Eventually they learn to use the framing question (""what are you doing now?"") to perceive their choices, make a plan, and act on it--to take responsibility for their own happiness. ""Sometimes you can't get rid of the bad, but you can usually add a little good,"" one therapist comments. The results, though often modest by orthodox standards, are appreciable, and easy to discern in this conscientious representation.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row