What are The 5 Needs and Why Bother?

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What are The 5 Needs anyway?

  1. Staying Alive
  2. Love and Belonging
  3. Freedom and Boundaries
  4. Power
  5. Fun


They make up our real, everyday life. As we learn to identify these needs in our life, we can see them in others lives too. We can explore our life and see if we are meeting our needs in healthy ways or ignoring them and creating difficulties for our self or others. 


We can see how the needs are connected to our attitudes and behaviors. Sounds simple and it can be, however, as you will discover, it is not always easy, or even simple, for everyone. Empathy, compassion, bully prevention, health education, character strengths and academic skills (by writing and developing critical thinking skills, debate and communication skills) can all be taught when using The 5 Needs as a foundation, format and base to build on. 


THe 5 Needs can be used to teach basic life skills too for those with special needs as well as the rest of us.  The 5 Needs can open doors to talk about a multitude of issues and concerns, some serious and some daily routine things too. 


 Dr. William Glasser taught about these needs a little differently for decades. See his work: https://wglasser.com/ I am thankful to have permission to develop my work based on his work. 

Why bother? What are the results of using The 5 Needs in Life?

Of course, results will depend on a variety of factors, some are in our control and some are not. That said, using The 5 Needs materials has proven to helpful in the classroom, camps, counseling, work with individuals and in groups too. There are no promises or guarantees, just hope.


When asked how using The 5 Needs helped or what it did for them, we heard a variety of responses:


  •  Provide a platform to talk about unspeakable topics (like suicide, pregnancy, poverty, and much more) · Provide a framework for groups so there is significant work done that can carry one after the group · Provides life lessons in a workable plan · Provided dinner topics that lead to deeper talks about peers and life · 


  • Helped me understand that I was not bad, just human, with human needs · Allowed me to gain me new insights into my family, hurts, trauma and even my identity as a person.


  • Helped empower our lives by building confidence and self-esteem, creating a sense of "normal" instead of "troubled or bad." ·


  •  Helped us learn to take responsibility for our lives (THE BUCK STOPS HERE in learning about Power). 


  • Helped us learn to love our selves · Helped us judge our selves and others less · 


  •  Helped me understand behaviors more, understanding THe 5 Needs showed me there is not NOT an EXCUSE, but gave me an EXPLANATION for some of my behaviors and others.


  • Brings understanding of our self and others  · Helped develop empathy  · Helped us demonstrate compassion · Helped us be aware of and avoid bullying type behaviors in our selves and identify it in others · Helped us make sense of life and showed us why we did what we did and how to change · 


  • Gives us somethings to hold onto when life gets tough · Help us challenge our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions in life about our self and others · 


  • Provided a way I could  "Begin Again" when I felt lost and confused, including giving me a way to begin again with an easy, practical way to look at each need in my life and see where I needed to make changes or have gratitude.