Choice Theory Basic Needs

According to Dr. Glasser, all behavior is purposeful. It is our best attempt at the time, given our current knowledge and skills, to meet one or more of our basic human needs, needs which evolved over time and have become part of our genetic structure. These needs are the general motivation for everything we do.

1. Survival - This need is a physiological need, which includes the need for food, shelter, and safety. Because we have genetic instructions to survive, not only as individuals but as a species, this includes the need to reproduce.

2. Love & Belonging - This need and the following three needs are psychological needs. The need to love and belong includes the need for relationships, social connections, to give and receive affection and to feel part of a group.

3. Power -To be powerful is to achieve, to be competent, to be skilled, to be recognized for our achievements and skill, to be listened to and have a sense of self worth.

4. Freedom - The need to be free is the need for independence, autonomy, to have choices and to be able to take control of the direction of one's life

5. Fun - The need for fun is the need to find pleasure, to play and to laugh. Should you doubt that this is as important as any of the others, imagine a life without hope of any enjoyment. Glasser links the need for fun to learning. All of the higher animals (dogs, dolphins, primates, etc.) play. As they play, they learn important life skills. Human beings are no different. It is true that "play is a child's work."

Characteristics of the Five Basic Needs:

  1. Universal
  2. Innate
  3. Overlapping
  4. Satisfied from moment to moment
  5. Conflict w/ Others' Needs



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