If you think there is something wrong with you

(blog article)

How do you tell the difference between psychiatrists and patients in a hospital? The patients get better and leave”
(old joke)

Have you heard about basic psychological needs? Each of us knows about the pyramid of needs, designed by American psychologist A. Maslow. But it is more about the hierarchy and evolution of human needs. And the nature of this pyramid is more theoretical than practical. What about psychological needs and deficits? After all, it is they who determine our “well-being” right now.

Usually, dissatisfaction with some area of ​​life arises precisely as a result of dissatisfaction with certain significant needs. And in order to eliminate this inner discomfort, it is necessary to understand what need is not satisfied, when and why.

German clinical psychologist and psychotherapy researcher Klaus Grave identified four basic (innate) psychological needs:

  • the need for affection;
  • the need for independence and control;
  • the need for positive emotions (joy);
  • the need for recognition and self-esteem.

Scientists believe that the listed basic needs do not become inherent in a person upon reaching a certain age, they are inherent in him initially, they are simply cognized only over time, except for one – the need for attachment.

This need begins to be realized immediately after birth and largely determines our behavior in life, including the ability to establish and maintain friendly and loving relationships.

The very first attachment in a child’s life is attachment to his or her mother.

Another important basic human need is the need for independence. Psychologist Eric Erickson believed that the period of formation of either independence or indecision is the age from 2 to 3 years. It is then that the child begins to tell his parents: “I do it myself!”

Erickson called this process “defending autonomy and independence.” When a child begins to walk, he wants to show his or her ‘will’: he takes toys and throws them, opens and closes cabinets (which he can reach), repels objects. That is, he shows and loses interest in the elements of the surrounding world, accompanying this with physical reactions and actions. For him or her, this is an important stage in the manifestation of himself or herself as a person separate from parents.

Interestingly, the first two needs – for attachment and independence – seem to be opposite to each other in their essence. In psychology, there is a special name for this phenomenon: “autonomy / dependence conflict.” It consists in a combination of the model of relations with others and the feeling of oneself as a separate independent person.

The balance between pleasure and displeasure is the key to good ‘mental well-being.’ And the model for satisfying this need is also formed in childhood – following the example of how our parents treated our desires. If we were overly limited, then we subconsciously scold ourselves for choosing in favor of pleasure, we feel guilty, and therefore we avoid it in every possible way. That is, we do not know how to enjoy; we do not allow ourselves this. If our parents pampered us, then we, on the contrary, with great difficulty can limit our ‘want’ and also suffer.

In this classification, psychologists understand the need for recognition as ‘reflected self-perception.’ A good attitude of others shows us that we are all right; a bad attitude makes us think: are we doing everything as expected of us? And this mechanism also ‘came’ to us from childhood, when we read the reaction of adults to actions. Those who more often saw response and approval, now – in adulthood – do not so much need the approval of others for their actions. They are more self-sufficient and self-confident. Those who have formed a labile type of psyche wait for the reaction of others and constantly check with it, thus receiving information about the correctness of their actions, about their compliance with expectations.

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