“When our innate emotional needs are not being met, or when our resources are misused, or not used at all, we suffer considerable distress, and so can those around us.”

~ The Human Givens Institute



What do you need right now?

The Human Givens Institute’s Emotional Needs model, forms one of the cornerstones of my coaching approach.

Many people don’t know, or have lost sight of, what it is that they actually need to live a healthy life, one that delivers them the fulfillment they desire.

So I ask most of my client's to complete an Emotional Needs Assessment. The very act of completing the assessment serves to raise the person's awareness of their fundamental emotional needs.

The results of the assessment provide the person with an invaluable insight into those areas where their needs are unmet, and helps explain why they are experiencing distress, and/or are struggling to achieve their goal(s). I then help the person to develop a realistic and practical action plan aimed at getting their unmet needs met appropriately.

The Emotional Needs model

The Emotional Needs model proposes that whatever our cultural background, we are all born with essential physical and emotional needs and, if we are born healthy, the innate resources (tools, or ‘guidance systems’)to help us fulfil them. It is because these needs and resources are incorporated into our very biology that they are referred to as the human ‘givens’.

The model says that if any needs are seriously unmet or if our innate resources are damaged, missing or used incorrectly we suffer distress, typically anxiety, depression or anger.

What are our Emotional Needs?

This core list focuses on those needs that are truly essential to our on-going emotional, mental and physical health:


  1. Security: safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
  2. Health (Mind/Body): sleep, nutrition, movement
  3. Attention (to give and receive it): a form of nutrition
  4. Sense of autonomy and control: being able to make responsible choices
  5. Friendship, intimacy: to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
  6. Being emotionally connected to others
  7. Feeling part of a wider community
  8. Sense of status within social groupings
  9. Sense of competence and achievement (from which comes self-esteem)
  10. Privacy: having an opportunity to reflect on and consolidate our experiences
  11. Meaning and purpose: which come from being stretched in what we do and think.

Unmet needs cause stress

All forms of stress arise, because in one way or another (for whatever reason), one or more of our needs are not being met. It may be something that happens gradually – starting, perhaps, with loneliness due to the loss of a loved partner – and then builds and builds in an insidious way, draining the light and enjoyment out of life. Or it may be something that happens suddenly, as most tragic occasions when people, whose lives were working well, are caught up in a natural disaster or perhaps become the victims of violence. Following this sudden change it becomes so much harder for them to get their essential needs met.

However, when all our needs are being met in balance and we are confident about our place in the world and about how we interact with it, we don’t suffer from seriously disabling stress and anxiety.

The trap people can fall into

If our needs are not, or cannot be, met in a healthy way, we will try to get them met some other way, even adopting harmful and unhealthy practices in response to the powerful drive to get them met somehow. For example, many people self-medicate with too much alcohol in an attempt to relax, or as a misapplied way to help them connect socially to others.

The Emotional Needs model is both simple and extremely powerful

When we:

  • understand our needs, and
  • are aware of which needs are currently unmet, and
  • have a plan, and
  • are taking action to meet our unmet needs

this gives us the ability to stay mentally and physically healthy or return to that state.

What Next?

If you'd like to explore how I can help you learn more about your Emotional Needs and how meeting them can help you to control your stress and anxiety and enhance your sense of fulfillment, contact me on 021 056 8389, email tony@tycoaching.nz or use the Book Now button to arrange a no-obligation consultation.

Wishing you a safe, happy week.

Go well


Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).


This article contains the personal views and opinions of the author, which may change over time. It is intended to be for information only and does not constitute medical advice. For medical and health advice, always consult a qualified medical professional.