Dissertation Abstracts

The Scientific Justification of Reality Psychotherapy in Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives

Author: Podgornik, Nevenka , nevenka.podgornik@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: School of Advanced Social Studies, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Supervisor: Zdenka Divjak
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: Slovenian

Keywords: risk society , mental health , reality therapy , case study
Areas of Research: Mental Health and Illness , Social Psychology , Social Indicators


The paradigmatic model of the dissertation derives from the field of humanistic sociology, which is based on the discussion of the psychic crisis of modern man. The sociological discussion of the contemporary social conditions shows that the exposure to risks, unknown to the traditional early modern societies, represents a vulnerability to individuals, especially regarding interpersonal relations and the possibilities of self-actualization.
Reality therapy, the therapeutic modality chosen for the purposes of this research, links the formation of mental illnesses directly with unsatisfying relations or (the) lack of relations. The basic axiom of the internal control theory is that (the) psychical needs cannot be effectively satisfied without good, satisfying relationships, which are necessary for a successful self-actualization.
The research problematizes the way in which behavioristic psychology is heralded as a universal science. The discovery that external control psychology preserves all of its strength in all important human relationships and social systems is confirmed and its consequences are reflected in the destructive forms of psychic distress manifestations.
The plural studies of the psychotherapeutic practice case also confirm the hypothesis about social determinism of the psychic crisis of individuals and about the forms of their manifestation as part of a determined society’s cultural patterns and answer the question: how can an individual actualize himself, preserve or regain mental health regardless of the biological endowment and the position in a determined socio-cultural environment?

The dissertation represents an attempt to establish the reality therapy in the anthropological and sociological perspective of understanding the individual and the psychic crisis phenomenon. With the analysis of the integral behavior of an individual in connection with the environment and other persons he co-creates his life with, individuality became an issue of social cultural perspective. The anthropology of health introduced us to the way people understand the world, the characteristics of human social systems and values, the understanding of everyday dissatisfactions and the manifestations of pain.
Mental health is not just a health phenomenon; it is also a social and psychological phenomenon. By defining mental health separately from mental illness, it introduces a public health angle and goes past the medical definition of the determination of “mental illness”.
The study of reality therapy in the context of anthropological and sociological perspectives is popular in theoretical studies of the origins of mental health problems and the reasons of practical use - the dissertation represents an applied study that hopes to redefine the personal freedom of an individual and provides guidelines for on how to change the view of mental health of modern man and the quality of society.