The Triangle Cross Ranch Reality Therapy Approach
Cowboy Horsemanship Philosophy and Equine Therapy at Triangle Cross Ranch
Reality Therapy requires a supportive environment where individuals can begin to make changes in their lives.
The following are guidelines for creating this environment:
1. Be friendly and listen to the person.
2. Focus on present events; only focus on past events if they relate easily to the present situation.
3. Discuss feelings and physiological responses as part of total behavior; always relate feelings and physiology to concurrent actions and thoughts over which the person has more direct control.
4. Accept no excuses for irresponsible behavior, particularly when a person fails to do what he or she has expressed an intention to do.
5. Avoid punishing, criticizing, or attempting to protect the person from the reasonable consequences of behavior.
Our Reality Therapy takes a very unique approach.
Teaching the troubled teen responsibility and accountability is the most important concept in Reality Therapy. We define responsibility as “the ability to fulfill one’s needs and to do so in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs.” Any behavior which does not match this standard is regarded as irresponsible.
The problem is not that the standards set for young men have been too high; the problem is that the chosen behavior has been insufficient. Reality Therapy is aimed at helping the person in trouble gain more effective control over his life. A mentor using these principles of Reality Therapy helps the troubled teen to face reality, be accountable for his words and actions, and problem solve so he can meet his needs in the world.
The troubled teen can also use these new skills to improve his success in the world. This process has been proven effective in education, parenting, and leadership. This type of behavioral improvement lends itself to any situation where people need to learn how to satisfy their needs and solve life’s problems in responsible ways.
Reality Therapy is based on the belief that we all choose what we do with our lives and that we are responsible for our choices. Responsibility is defined as learning to choose behaviors that satisfy our needs and, at the same time, do not deprive others of a chance to do the same.
Reality Therapy focuses on the troubled teen’s behavior choices in his approach to self-realization. The mentor becomes involved with the troubled teen and helps him to examine his current behavior with a goal of improvement in the future. An individual who is frustrated, or is frustrating others, is taught to evaluate what he is doing and, from this evaluation, learns to practice more effective (need-satisfying) behaviors.
Reality Therapy helps struggling young men learn to be in effective control of their lives. It is a non-coercive method of communicating that enhances people’s ability to make effective, need-fulfilling choices.
We humans learn responsibility through relationships, primarily as children from parents. However, the process of becoming a responsible person is a life-long one. As situations change, each individual must adjust and find new ways of acting responsibly to meet his needs. When this is not done, irresponsible behavior results. With a focus on the present behavior rather than past events and subconscious motivations, mentors do not need a high level of training in order to be effective. They need only be able to recognize and reward responsible behavior and to offer correction to irresponsible behaviors.
What is Reality Therapy?
Reality therapy is an approach to psychotherapy and counseling. It was developed by the psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser in 1965. Reality therapy is considered a cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment.  This type of therapy differs from conventional psychotherapy in that it concentrates on the behavior or symptom as opposed to the sometimes stigmatizing diagnosis of the mentally ill patient. Reality therapy maintains that the individual is suffering from a socially universal human condition rather than a mental illness. It is in the unsuccessful attainment of basic needs that a person’s behavior moves away from the norm.
Since fulfilling essential needs is part of a person’s present life, reality therapy does not concern itself with a client’s past. Neither does this type of therapy deal with unconscious mental processes. In these ways reality therapy is very different from other forms of psychotherapy.  The reality therapy approach to counseling and problem-solving focuses on the here-and-now actions of the client and the ability to create and choose a better future. Typically, clients seek to discover what they really want and how they are currently choosing to behave in order to achieve these goals. According to Glasser, the social component of psychological disorders has been highly overlooked in the rush to label the population as sick or mentally ill. Reality therapy attempts to separate the client from the behavior. Just because someone is experiencing a symptom resulting from a social problem does not make him sick it just makes him out of sync with his psychological needs.