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I chose reality therapy for this group. Reality therapy, which is common in educational settings, operates under the premise that all of our behavior is our own responsibility and is done in an attempt to satisfy our needs (Gladding, 2020). As the group leader in a reality therapy group, it would be my job to set up the environment and apply proper reality therapy techniques. This would focus largely on blending being warm and inviting with being willing to consistently confront group members. Part of doing this includes consistently emphasizing present behavior and whether or not it is working for the client or the group. Through doing this an environment of self-evaluation can develop. I would need to be able to show positive regard for the client without giving in to excuses or other nonproductive behavior (Gladding, 2020). Part of this positive regard is never giving up on a client, even if they aren’t meeting their established goals. I would also need to be at a point in my own life where I was comfortable with myself and could be a role model of responsible behavior.

Reality therapy originally involved eight steps, which I would attempt to follow. These include establishing rapport, emphasizing the client’s present behavior and whether or not it is getting them what they want, helping the client to make a positive plan to do better, getting the client’s commitment to the plan, not accepting excuses, not punishing the client, and never giving up on them (Gladding, 2020). An important part of accomplishing these steps is to use skillful questioning, which focuses on open-ended questions that invite the client to explore, and self-help procedures, which help the client to implement more positive actions. Self-help procedures may include the use of strategies such as establishing a contract with the client.

Another technique used in reality therapy is a paradox, however, it is noted that most therapists struggle to use it effectively (Gladding, 2020) and so as a new counselor I probably would not employ this particular strategy until I was more experienced.


Gladding, S. T. (2020). Groups: A counseling specialty, 8th edition. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.


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Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to learn to apply a counseling theory to group work.



Question/Prompt: You have been asked to lead a counseling group for teenage girls (ages 16-17), who have gotten in trouble at school for fighting. Choose one of the theories below, (as found in the Gladding text), to guide you in leading this group:

  • Reality Therapy
  • Adlerian
  • Person-Centered
  • Existential
  • Gestalt
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
  • Solution Focused
  • Narrative

Answer the following questions:

  • What theory have you chosen?
  • Given your theory, what would be your role and function as a group leader in this group?
  • Given your theory, what is one technique you might use in this group?

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