Effectiveness of Group Reality Therapy in Reducing Anxiety of Clients in Hamedan Central Prison

Author Name(s): *Behzad Feizimanesh, Yahya Yarahmadi
Author Email: behzad_feizi20@yahoo.com


The present research studies the effectiveness of group reality therapy in reducing the anxiety of clients in Hamedan Central Prison. This is a quasi-experimental research with pretest-posttest design and a control group. To this end, the subjects are selected using multistage random sampling method. Of the total studied population, 30 individuals have been randomly selected and dividedinto two groups of 15, i.e. experimental and control groups. Based on protocols of reality therapy, the individuals in the experimental group have received therapeutic interventions for 8 sessions. It should be noted that the present research employs Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI).In order to analyze the data, independent t-test and one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) have been used. The data is analyzed using SPSS software. The results suggest that group reality therapy significantly reduces clients’ anxiety (p< 0.021).


reality therapy, anxiety, group therapy, clients


Anxiety is one of the largest problems threatening the life of modern man. This phenomenon creates distress in the process people’s lives and puts their mental security and peace of mind at risk. Although in the present era mankind has accomplished spectacular material and scientific achievements and created better instruments to rule over nature, yet in comparison to previous centuries people feel more stress and anxiety within themselves. In fact, it could be claimed that a reverse relationship has been formed between human’s comfort and his peace of mind (Alavi & Eliasi, 2013). Anxiety refers to an unpleasant and ambiguous feeling of fear and distress coming from an unknown origin, which captures an individual and incites uncertainty, unease, and physiological stimulation (Mohammadi Torab, 2014). Most tensions and resilient feelings caused by anxiety are originated from various personal and social factors which can affect one another; in a condition like this, the person tries to defend against anxiety. A simple instance of such defense is negative response, wherein the person uses sedatives. These defense mechanisms are unconscious efforts to maintain mental peace by all types of normal, neurotic, or psychotic individuals (Ahadi & Banijamali, 1996). Mental pressures and emotions lead to physical pressures which affect different bodily systems and create a set of frightening warning symptoms such as heart palpitation, overexcitement, headache, accelerated heart beat, hyperhidrosis, nausea, and urinary frequency (Lesk, 1998). The terms panic and anxiety are usually used interchangeably. Yet, the difference is that fear is originated from a preliminary evaluation of a real threat, while anxiety refers to a stressful emotional state caused by an unknown and ambiguous danger.Panic refers to exaggerated and crippling phobia of certain events or objects (such as fear of cockroaches, feathers, heights, end etc.); it is a state of extreme and sudden terror accompanied by mad efforts to find safety. Some of the signs of phobia are: hyperventilation, heart palpitation, hyperhidrosis, shaking, dyspnea, chest pain, nausea, vertigo, and feeling of suffocation (Fadaeinejad, 2014).

Of course, numerous factors such as different psychological, social, or physical stress may fan the flames of anxiety. Prison can be an extremely stressful environment for any human being. Harsh living conditions in prison can be a factor contributing to anxiety and threating mental health. The word “prison” is often associated with difficult and tormenting conditions. by hearing the word “prison”, people are reminded of a terrifying, dark, and horrific environment. Such perception is not far from truth. The studies by Mesbahi (2015) indicate that 18-19 % of prisoners suffer from fundamental mental disorders during their incarceration. Also, 5.87 % of the prisoners are suspected of having anxiety and mental disorders. The world faces the problem of seven hundred thousand re-incarcerations every year. The most common mental disorders among prisoners are anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendency.

Reality therapy is a method of counseling and psychotherapy founded by the psychologist William Glasser. Reality therapy helps people explore wants, needs, behavioral values, and solutions which assist them in satisfaction of their needs (Glasser & Wubbolding, 2003).

Since anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders among prisoners and considering the grim and stressful environment of prison, it seems that reality therapy can be one of the best non-pharmaceutical treatments for these individuals.Since no prior studies on this subject have been carried out in prison environment, conducting this research seems to be necessary. The purpose of the present research is to examine the effectiveness of group reality therapy in reducing anxiety of clients in Hamedan Central Prison.

Reality therapy helps a person to have control over his behaviors and choices. Reality therapy is based on control theory and assumes that people are responsible for their lives, actions, feelings, and behaviors. On the other hand, Zareb (2012) believes that reality therapy can be applied to every individual who has a problem. Refraining from denial of truth, taking responsibility, and subsequently planning to achieve certain goals are among the most basic needs of mankind in life which have been stressed out in this therapeutic approach. Reality therapy is founded upon choice theory. This theory argues that behavior is comprised of all the actions we engage in, and almost all of our behaviors are chosen. Glasser considers behavior to be made up of four components i.e. acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology. He believes that we have direct control over acting and thinking and indirect control over feeling and physiology. The main emphasis on choice theory is on the components of acting and thinking. According to Glasser, behavior is comprised of all the actions we engage in, and almost all of our behaviors are chosen. These choices are guided by internal instincts and basic needs (Jill et al, 2009). Based on this theory, human beings have internal motivations to satisfy needs for live, belonging, feeling of power, freedom, survival, health, and recreation (Berikel, 2007). Glasser argues that people can improve their lives through conscious selection of feelings and behaviors. In summary of reality therapy or what later came to be known as control theory, he insists that human beings always act in a way to control the world and themselves as a part of the world in order to satisfy their basic needs (Sharef, 1996). Studies reveal that implementation of reality therapy reduces anxiety and increase responsibility and self-esteem (Mousavi, 2015).

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