Reality Therapy | Banyan Treatment Center Massachusetts

Reality Therapy at Banyan Massachusetts

Recovering from a substance use disorder takes time, effort, and effective drug treatment programs for long-term recovery. At Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts, we offer a wide range of unique programs and therapies for addiction to address the underlying issues linked to this disease. Many addicts don’t realize the impact their thoughts and emotions have on their behaviors. Often, drugs and alcohol are used as coping mechanisms for serious and unaddressed mental health problems. One of the types of therapy for drug addiction offered at our rehab in Boston is reality therapy. While some people may be skeptical of the efficacy of reality therapy, there are many benefits of this drug therapy program, especially when it comes to treating addiction.

What Is Reality Therapy Counseling?

  Reality therapy is a form of psychotherapy and counseling developed by William Glasser in 1965 when he formulated the basis of this program, choice theory. The reality therapy definition concerns how people choose their own behavior and how their choices can either satisfy or not satisfy basic drives and goals. The view of human nature in reality therapy is that all our needs are internal and that people purposely act on the world to satisfy their needs and desires.

The reality theory or choice theory states that human beings have five basic needs called “genetic instructions”:

  • Survival
  • Love and belonging
  • Power or achievement
  • Freedom or independence
  • Fun or enjoyment


In reality therapy in psychology, these needs don’t necessarily exist in order. However, they support the idea that our primary needs are love and belonging, which explains why addictions and mental health challenges are often linked to relationships.

How Does Reality Treatment Work?

  The reality therapy model is client-centered and focuses on improving the individual’s current relationships and circumstances while avoiding discussions about distressing past events. Like many of our other drug therapy programs in Massachusetts, the key concepts of reality therapy focus on the present things that can change in a person’s situation and how they can positively impact their future.

These key concepts are:

  • Behavior
  • Control
  • Responsibility
  • Action
  • Present moment


Behavior is a central component of reality-based therapy. It’s categorized into organized behaviors and reorganized behaviors. Organized behaviors refer to past behaviors you engaged in to satisfy your needs. The therapist helps patients recognize these behaviors and any additional harmful or ineffective ones. Then, patients are instructed to work on replacing these behaviors with more effective ones, which are reorganized behaviors.

Therapists also help clients understand that they are the only one who has complete control over their behavior, leading them into the next key concept: responsibility. Not only are clients made aware of the negative behaviors that have contributed to their addictions, but they’re also made aware that they’re the ones in control. They have to take responsibility for their actions. Self-awareness and accountability are important in addiction recovery, which is partly why reality therapy for substance abuse treatment is so effective.

Our reality therapy techniques also focus on action and the present moment. Substance abuse therapists help patients identify and modify their actions because they make up their behavior. Choice therapy also states that present behavior and actions aren’t influenced by past situations but rather are determined by the current, unmet needs. This is a “here and now” approach to taking responsibility and action.

Our Reality Therapy for Substance Abuse

  Using reality therapy for addiction treatment has shown to be highly effective. Drug and alcohol abuse are self-destructive behaviors that often stem from other bad situations. In order to tackle substance abuse and mental illness, our center for reality therapy in Boston hones in on the source of patients’ addictions and what behaviors they can change to contribute to their recovery.

Although we offer aftercare recovery resources like our alumni program, we can’t control our patients’ every move. That’s why reality therapy is so effective in the treatment of addiction. Choice therapy techniques encourage self-awareness, independence, and responsibility, three traits that are often stripped from the person during active addiction. Similar to our other addiction recovery programs, patients will develop basic and necessary skills that can help them avoid relapse and enjoy their sobriety to the fullest.

For more information about our drug and alcohol treatment in Massachusetts, contact our Boston rehab to be connected with a team member.

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