Understanding Client ‘Wants’-Meeting Needs with Reality Therapy


Understanding Client ‘Wants’

Our motivation relies on the satisfaction of several basic needs. Therefore, it is crucial in therapy to help
the client understand what they strive for – their wants and goals.

Inquiring and reflecting in therapy are valuable techniques for digging deeper into the client’s wants,
helping them and the therapist form a more detailed picture upon which further work can be based.

Use the worksheet to guide questioning and reflection to better understand their ‘wants’ during the
session or as homework afterward.

Ask the client the following questions (either the client or the therapist capturing the answers in the
boxes provided) (modified from Wubbolding, 2017):

What do you seek from the world that you are either i) getting, ii) partly getting, or iii) not getting?

How much effort are you prepared to exert to satisfy your desire (a score between 1 and 10, or a % of
the week)?

What might you have to give up or change to get what you want?



What are you happy to settle for if you are not able to attain everything you wish?

Regularly review your answers, and re-complete the worksheet if required, to understand what you want
and what you need to give.


■ Wubbolding, R. E. (2017). Reality therapy and Self-Evaluation – the key to client change. Alexandria,
VA: American Counseling Association.

Dr. Jeremy Sutton


Meeting Needs with Reality Therapy

It is important to remember that every human is born with needs and we are motivated throughout our
lives to satisfy them. When met, we feel good and experience a greater sense of wellbeing (Wubbolding,

This worksheet helps us understand our needs and what actions we could take to meet them (modified
from Wubbolding, 2017).

Ask yourself, how are you meeting, or could you meet, the following needs:

1. What are you doing to take care of your health (for example, exercise, eating well, etc.)?

What could you plan to do?

2. What are you doing to belong or be involved with other people?



What could you plan to do?

3. What are you doing to feel in control of your life?

What could you plan to do?

4. What are you doing to make choices and be free?



What could you plan to do?

5. What are you doing to have fun and enjoy life?

What could you plan to do?

Leave the completed sheet somewhere visible as a reminder of some positive actions you could take to
meet your needs.


■ Wubbolding, R. E. (2017). Reality therapy and Self-Evaluation – the key to client change. Alexandria,
VA: American Counseling Association.

Dr. Jeremy Sutton


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