Chapter 20 - Chapter 20 WILLIAM GLASSER William Glasser was...

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Chapter 20 WILLIAM GLASSER William Glasser was born in 1925 and grew up in Ohio. His early years were difficult; Glasser ( 1998 ) reports that his father was occasionally violent, while his mother was overly controlling. Even as a child, he recognized the incompatibility in his parents’ relationship. This history is telling in light of Glasser’s later emphasis on personal responsibility, not harming others, and the marital or partner relationship. Glasser became a chemical engineer but later changed his career goals and entered medical school. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1953 and then trained to become a psychiatrist. Between 1956 and 1967, Glasser was a psychiatrist for the Ventura School for Girls, a prison school operated by the California Youth Authority, housing 400 delinquent adolescents. This experience had a profound impact on Glasser’s views of mental health and psychotherapy. He concluded that traditional psychoanalysis offered little to help the young women at the Ventura School and began to develop what would be reality therapy. Glasser concluded that many of the difficulties of the adolescents at the Ventura School stemmed from their failure to take responsibility for themselves and their lives and to act in ways that truly met their needs. Although they might have believed that they were seeking to meet their needs, the result—their involuntary stay at the Ventura School—was not their desired outcome. By helping the girls think more clearly about their present needs, holding them responsible for their behavior, and playing an active and involved role in treatment, Glasser became much more effective. Implementation of his ideas for change resulted in an 80% success rate. Glasser’s first book, Mental Health or Mental Illness? ( 1961 ), laid the groundwork for reality therapy. Reality Therapy ( 1965 ) spelled out the principles that continue to be fundamental to this approach: that people who take responsibility for themselves and their behaviors and are aware of and able to meet their basic needs without harming others are likely to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Glasser’s work emphasizes the importance of relationships as well as responsibility. He believes that a warm, accepting clinician is essential to the success of treatment, just as he believes that close and positive relationships are essential to mental health and happiness. Relationships have been important in Glasser’s own life. His first wife, Naomi Glasser, shared in the development of reality therapy. That marriage ended with his wife’s death. Glasser said he married his present wife after they checked their needs to ensure they were compatible. Glasser’s three children also play a significant role in his life. Since the 1960s, Glasser has developed and expanded the scope of reality therapy. Focusing his
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Chapter 20 - Chapter 20 WILLIAM GLASSER William Glasser was...

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