All forms of mental distress arise because, in one way or another, people’s physical or emotional needs or are not being met.
If all our needs are met in a balanced way we are confident about our place in the world and the people we connect with. We don’t suffer from disabling conditions such as anxiety and stress, depression, addictions, phobias or panic attacks.
We all know that we have physical needs – for food, water, warmth and shelter – which must be met sufficiently for us to survive and thrive. But people often don’t realise that certain emotional needs are just as crucial for both our mental and physical health/well-being. Decades of health and social research have revealed, for instance, that a sense of security, intimacy, social connection, status, autonomy and control, competence and achievement, and meaning and purpose are also vital, if we are to stay in good health and feel fulfilled in our lives.
Our innate resources for helping us meet these needs include the ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others; to learn, problem solve, remember and plan; to use our imagination productively; to step back and take an objective look at our circumstances. When any of our important needs is seriously unmet over a significant period or any of our resources is not made best use of, mental and physical ill-health may develop.
This is why when I work with people in mental distress I look for what is missing in that person’s life and seek ways to enable them to redress that, as well as teaching them important life-coping skills and building resilience.
You can find out more about my approach which is based on meeting our needs on this website.