Reality Therapy in the Assembly

These observations were made by Mark Campbell on the Assembly bulletin board. Reality therapy might be summed up as, "Shape up or ship out."


Back in the beginnings of the Assembly, Betty G. touted a book called Reality Therapy by William Glasser. The essence of this book is that almost all mental institutions could be instantly emptied by the application of this author's method of confronting "the so-called mentally ill" with their "phony illness that was only an excuse to escape the responsibilities of life (i. e. reality)." He taught the use of consequences to modify behavior.

I'm not sure if this book launched Betty's version of the use of "consequences" in the Assembly living situations that eventually included husbands giving their wives this kind of shock therapy, but if it didn't, the two did have a symbiotic relationship of some kind.

The book made some valid points, but the proof really is in the eating, as this man did not "empty any mental hospitals" with his book, and Betty did not produce great Christian character via her version of this in the Assembly.

The reason for this is that while it might be noble to help others be all that they can be, the question must be asked, "Did my confrontational presentation of the truth actually help the person?" If the answer is, "That's up to them, as I'm only the messenger of the truth," then I would say that the activity was not what the Bible teaches is a loving response. Paul says we are to lift those up who are taken in a fault and to consider ourselves as we do so, lest we also fall. In other words, we can't just lay out the correct way to walk without stumbling, but help that person by taking them by the hand and providing actual support. This means we must consider what is the best action we can take to actually produce the results we want, in the recognition that we share human weakness with them.


For Assembly examples of reality therapy in action see:
    The Assembly Lifestyle
    A Typical Week of 'Life Together'


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