[From Rick Marken (960329.1300))]
Lars Christion Smith (960328 20:25 CET) to Bill Powers --
In which ways do you think a better knowledge of PCT will make RT therapists
Bill Powers (960328.1520 MST) --
I think it would be better for a practicing Reality Therapist to answer
your question than for me to try.
I'd like to try to answer Lars' question even though I am not (as Bill
Glasser pointed out to me when I volunteered to teach a PCT course for
Reality Therapists) an official Reality Therapist.
As we all know, RT is just one of many different approaches to therapy.
According to the practitioners of these therapies, each one "works" and it
works better than all others. I used to take this to mean that all approaches
to therapy are a crock but now I take this to mean almost the oppsite, viz.,
that all approaches to therapy are equally good to the extent that what the
therapist actually _does_ in therapy is consistent with the facts of human
nature (consistent with the fact that the patient _and_ the therapist are
hierarchies of perceptual control systems).
I think that most competent therapists will adjust what they do in therapy
in order to avoid the interpersonal conflicts that would result from treating
their patients like objects; and patients probably adjust to therapists in
order to get what they want from the therapy. This must be why so many
different approaches to therapy seem to work; there is no single "correct"
technique for doing therapy; the "correct" techniques are those that are
consistent with the PCT nature of people.
What PCT can contribute to RT therapists to make them better therapists is
a detailed understanding of the PCT nature of people. Once therapists know
how people work they will know why certain RT techniques work and why some
don't; they will also know why certain non-RT techniques work and why some
don't. They will learn that when your goal is to fix something (like a human
psychological problem) it is just as important to know what's wrong with the
person (based on PCT) as it is to know possible ways to fix it (based on
PCT is equivalent to a model of how a device, like a radio, works; when you
understand the model, and how it relates to observable characteristics of
the device, you can determine what's likely to be wrong with the device when
the device isn't working. A model of a radio helps you determine whether the
problem is a power source, a transistor, a panel switch or whatever. Once you
know the problem (based on the model) you can then go to your bag of
techiques and use the one that is relevant to it; if the battery is
dead, you have to replace it; if a panel-switch is stock you need to fix it.
The exact technique used to extracate and replace the battery (if that's the
problem) is less important than the fact that the technique is aimed at
solving the correct problem -- replacing the battery rather than fixing the
I think a theory like PCT is particularly important in therapy, where it
seems like the techniques available are not nearly as precise as those used
to fix a radio. I think it is VERY important for therapists to learn
techniques and to gain experinence applying these techniques. But I think
that what is far more important is for therapists to understand the nature
of themselves and the people they are dealing with first -- so they will
know what techniques to try in various circumstances, why those techniques
might work, and why they are not working when they aren't.
PCT encourages a very eclectic approach to therapy; whatever theraputic
technique works in the context of the current PCT organization of a patient
is the "best" approach to therapy for that patient.