Reality therapy’s focus on present behavior instead of past events is based on its core principle of meeting basic psychological needs and solving the issue of changing behavior. Therefore, reality therapy strives to address the individual’s mental distress when one of his five psychological needs is not satisfied promptly and effectively.
Reality therapy suggests a general approach that all people exhibit behavior as a choice, and the only source of behavior change is an unsatisfied psychological need. By generalizing all people, reality therapy provides an opportunity to apply the therapy in many cases where conditions require almost instant significant improvement, such as training athletes before the competition.
Even though reality therapy might miss circumstances vital for the clients by generalizing the audience and abstracting past events, that does not affect the therapy outcomes. The main goal of reality therapy is not to determine the cause of an individual’s mental distress but to develop behavior control skills. Therefore, I think that reality therapy focuses on present behavior to provide an efficient and widely applicable way of addressing mental distress.