Reality therapists believe the underlying problem of most clients is the same. They are either involved in a present unsatisfying relationship or lack what could even be called a relationship. Many of the problems of clients are caused by their inability to connect, to get close to others, or to have a satisfying or successful relationship with at least one significant person in their lives. The therapist guides clients toward a satisfying relationship and teaches them to behave in more effective ways than they are presently behaving. The more clients are able to connect with people, the greater chance they have to experience happiness.
Few clients understand that their problem is the way they are choosing to behave. What they do know is that they feel a great deal of pain or that they are unhappy because they have been sent for counseling by someone with authority who is not satisfied with their behavior typically a court official, a school administrator, a spouse, or a parent. Reality therapists recognize that clients choose their behaviors as a way to deal with the frustrations caused by unsatisfying relationships.