Wubbolding’s WDEP model from Reality Therapy

Blog Post No. 28

Originally posted on 26th March 2016. Posted here on 14th November 2021

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne 2016/2021

Updated on 6th January 2021


Renata’s Coaching blog:

Reality Therapy and Bob Wubbolding’s WDEP model…


Cover of Reality Therapy book

We all benefit from having ways to think about our goals and our progress.  In this blog, I’m going to present a brief description of a very helpful little model which can be used to check to see how well your goals and your actions line up. 

This is called the ‘WDEP Model’, from Reality Therapy (RT).

I also provide a video demonstration of how this model is used, so you can see what it looks like in practice.

What is the WDEP model?

This is a really straightforward model which helps us clarify changes we want to make in our lives, using a short sequence of questions:

W = What do you Want?

D = What are you Doing to get what you want?

E = How well is this going (the Evaluation stage)?  And:

P = Let’s re-Plan, or produce an explicit Plan linked to what you Want. Is there a more effective way to get what I want?

Out of this questioning process normally comes some fragments of story, or some insights, which may or may not fit well together; and with which you can work to make sense of your situation.

Cartoon about Reality Therapy

 As I said above, this model comes out of Reality Therapy, which has the goal of helping clients to learn to be more aware of the choices they make in their lives and how these choices may be inefficient in achieving their goals.

If our (future) behaviour is seen as a choice that we (could, theoretically) make, then this makes us feel more responsible and in command of our lives. Then we need to explore the difference between the things we could (theoretically) control; and those things which are (apparently!) beyond our control.

If you have a problem that could benefit from this kind of analytical approach, please take a look at my main page, here: ABC Coaching Homepage.***


Four step model of WDEP

Reality Therapy was created by Dr William Glasser, an American psychiatrist, and it stresses the importance of the client taking responsibility for their own behaviour. Also the client needs to feel safe and that the coach/mentor is a respectful, caring and trustworthy person, as they work together with the model.


How does the WDEP model work?


The Reality Therapist works with clients to explore their wants and what they are doing to achieve those wants, evaluating whether what they are doing is helpful or harmful to their goals, and finally helping the client plan ways to change their behaviour.

WDEP worksheet

The creator of the WDEP model itself was Robert Wubbolding, who was born in 1936 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He worked as a counsellor in the school systems and also worked with the U.S. Army’s drug and alcohol abuse programs.

A practical demonstration

Here is a link to a video clip at YouTube, showing Dr. Ed Jacobs and Dr Tori Stone demonstrating the WDEP model in action:

Demonstration of the WDEP model.***


If you are able to easily reflect on your experiences and are clear about your goals, and are able to plan and develop logical steps to help you achieve them, then you’ll be able to use this model as a self-help tool.

However you may find it easier with a professional listener who can help you clarify your goals, and who can assess your understanding of the implications and changes needed to bring them into existence.

Also, a good coach can identify your blind spots, self-putdowns and ways in which you may be unknowingly self-sabotaging.

Have a great Easter, and I hope you find the model of some use.

That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


ABC Coaching West YorkshireRenata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle Coach/mentor

ABC Coaching in West Yorkshire, UK

Renata’s email address

Telephone: 01422 843 629


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