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. 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. We define responsibility as the ability to fulfill one’s needs 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 your son have been too high, the problem is that his chosen behaviors have been insufficient and inappropriate. Reality therapy is aimed at helping the troubled boy gain more control over his life. A mentor using these principles of reality therapy helps your troubled teen to face reality, be accountable for his words and actions, and solve problems.

Your son can also use these new skills to become more successful in the world. This process has been proven effective in education, parenting, and leadership. In fact, this type of behavioral improvement is effective in any situation where people need to learn how to satisfy their needs and solve life’s problems in responsible ways.

Reality therapy focuses on the troubled teen’s approach to self-realization. The mentor becomes involved with the troubled teen and helps him to examine his current behavior with a goal of improving it 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 and appropriate need-satisfying behaviors.

Reality therapy helps struggling young men learn to be in control of their lives. It is a non-coercive method of communicating that enhances people’s ability to make effective choices to fulfill their needs.
We humans learn responsibility through relationships, primarily from our parents when we are children. 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, the result is often an engagement in irresponsible behavior. With a focus on your son’s 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 correct 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.

  1. 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 a belief that the individual is suffering from a socially universal human condition rather than a mental illness, and that 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 everyday life, reality therapy does not concern itself with a client’s past, neither does it deal with unconscious mental processes. In these ways, reality therapy is very different from other forms of psychotherapy.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.