What is a Pyramid of Needs?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is typically one of the first things taught in Psychology 101 courses. Have you seen his pyramid of needs before? It starts with physiological needs at the bottom, and at the apex of the pyramid is self-actualization. In between these two ends is the place where many people come in to the office for therapy work. Furthermore, Maslow’s research found there are nine specific emotional needs common to all people. 

Physical Needs vs. Emotional Needs:

While working in the suburbs, I often find the clients entering my door have many of their physiological needs met – the food is on the table, they have running water source, and they have a roof over their head. With these in place, it is important to explore the emotional needs, and which ones my clients may not have being met. When examining the issues that clients enter the door hoping to find some relief around, it becomes clear which needs are not being met. Once we identify the emotional needs that are not being met, we can find an effective route back to health by constructing a way to get the needs met. 

The 9 Emotional Needs:

The nine emotional needs are: security, volition, attention, emotional connection, connection to the community, privacy, a sense of status, a sense of achievement, and meaning. Over the weeks ahead, we will look at what each of these emotional needs are, and how we can find ways to get each need met.

Emotional Needs in Real Life:

Imagine this: A woman comes into therapy after her husband just left for another woman. She is depressed and her self-esteem has plummeted. She may have lost her emotional needs of security, connection, and meaning — or quite possibly nearly all of the needs. Once we can identify those that are primarily missing, we can make a plan on how to get some of them met. For instance, her sense of meaning in life has been destroyed because she found meaning in her marriage thriving and surviving. We can begin to explore other interests, passion, and areas that she can focus on creating meaning. 

If you have any questions and would like to meet with any of our Therapists, please call Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832.421.8714.