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Assessment of the current behavior
The next step is the most crucial in the entire process. In the next step the helper asks helpees if their current behavior is likely to get them what they say they want.
This is the step where the helper comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. If the person is already aware that what he is doing is not working, then they are already in distress. They are ready to try something different. So the helper comforts the afflicted by helping them find a solution.
Otherwise if the person is unaware that he needs help, this will be the step that drives the point home. Answering this question is likely to afflict the comfortable by holding up a mirror of their own behavior.
Ask if it is likely to be effective in getting what he or she wants. If the answer is no, then they generally experience enough discomfort to at least look at some alternatives.
The final step
The final step in the Reality Therapy process is to help the helpee come up with a plan. He then will tend to do something more effective. This is best accomplished by helping the person focus on those things. Things that are within his or her control—his or her own thoughts and actions.
We don’t help a depressed person by simply saying, “Cheer up!” People cannot directly control their feelings but they can directly control their actions and thinking.
Similarly, people like to focus their time and attention on what others could and should do. This will give them what they want but attempting to control others is generally a fruitless activity.
Helping people to focus on changing their own behavior and thoughts is generally the goal of Reality Therapy.
Of course there are many subtle nuances to the process. I have only provided a thumbnail sketch of the method. But you can easily see a variety of applications as mentioned in the introduction to this article.
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