Human Needs Psychology was a term coined by Tony Robbins, a world-renowned coach and all round inspiring person who, through years of studying, has amalgamated a lot of psychological theories into human needs psychology.
It takes the basic idea that we all have the same human needs: the need for certainty, variety, significance, love, connection, growth and contribution, but what’s different is how we meet those needs.
Certainty can go hand in hand with people who are controlling and certain things have to happen to make those things happen. So we look at what people prioritise and why. It’s not like counseling in the traditional sense, but looking at different ways of coping and seeing things.
It can be very directive and informative. One girl I have been working with for a few months has found it helped her to handle patterns of behaviour in her partner and in herself. The knock on effect is how she handles other relationships in her life and other things in her life.
It can also be very useful for people who have been through very traumatic experiences and don’t want to highlight all the whys and wherefores. You can have a lot of counseling where people identify why they’re feeling the way they are but they find that they are still stuck. This method looks at how you can approach it in a different way to get a different response. It looks at why patterns of behavior have developed but then looks at what’s working and how to change patterns that aren’t working.
One girl I worked with was caught up in a strong pattern with her boyfriend where he was really mucking around and it brought out her nurturing side and this belief that if she tried hard enough it would work out. We stepped back and looked at his behaviour and where it came from. It turned out it was about his wanting to change but not doing anything about it, his sense of security and how the way she was dealing with it was to micromanage and try to fix things.
She then took a step back and realized she could love him without fixing him – it made her stronger, she no longer feels that she’s not good enough and she realizes that she can try her best but she’s not his mother. Once she started being an adult with him it was huge for her. It didn’t make him into what she wanted but it did make her stronger.
How it works depends on the client. If they are not familiar with the process then we talk through it, and then think about their priorities and how they approach them. We look at emotions and values, that’s always interesting because over a week people tend to realize they actually experience a very limited band of emotions and most are negative, which makes people think about when they were last happy.
So I never limit the process to work or relationships because it tends to flow into one another. The whole point is that they are developing the skills, not being told what to do. So then they are able to handle experiences themselves, they don’t need me afterwards.
People can’t always articulate what’s wrong, so that’s where coming up with the right question is important. We can talk before and find out if it’s for you or not, but before coming along think about the areas of your life that might be out of balance or areas that you’re not meeting productively.
It can be for anything and everything because everything boils down to how we feel and that relates to whether our needs are being met. It’s about patterns of behaviour and why we lock into patterns that aren’t necessarily good for them. If that behaviour was different, what would your life be like?
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