Basic Needs

In 1943, Robert Maslow suggested that humans are motivated by certian needs and some needs take precidence over others. He created whats known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. These needs are depicted in a triangle to illustrate the needs at the base (Physioloical Needs) are needed in order to posses the needs above the base of the pyramid.

Maslow's Hierarch of Needs

We will explore this concept translate to our clients starting with Physiolocial Needs! Keep in mind that once one of these needs are threatened humans tend to go into fight or flight mode. Considering the restrictive environment our clients are living in. Be aware that these needs are easily percieved as being threatened.

Psychological Needs

Man sleeping on couch

Psychological Needs are considered the most basic of all needs in which we require! In this category we find air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, and repoduction listed as needs.

In our clients: We often see a higher rate of incidents that occur due to this level of needs being restricted and/or taken away. Its in everyone's best interest to keep these in mind!
For example, a client receives a visit from his family where they bring food, which by policy is permissible. However, as the visit concludes the client manages to bring the food he was brought back to his living area (which is not permissible). A day later a technitican notices a client has food from outside of the facility and confiscates the food. The client then gets upset and assaults the technician.

In this example the safe way to hande this situation would be to let the client know that you ARE NOT going to take the food and ask them to please follow the policy in not bringing back food to the living areas as it tends to attract bugs and rodents. This method wont only earn you respect with that client but you're still doing your job by following policy and procedure.


Health symbol

The second tier of this hierarchy includes saftey needs. Protection from elements, security, law and order, stability from freedom and fear.

In our clients: We often see this need being threatened by a client towards another client. As we move up the pyramid it becomes harder and harder for us as staff to see which level of needs have become threatened. With that being said, we can be mindful of how we present ourselves as staff to ensure we aren't the ones triggering maladaptive behaviors. If you respond to an All Available Help call be sure you are doing your best to keep calm in an effort to avoid coming off as scary.

Love and Belonging

A man with a dog

The third tier of this hierarcy addresses Love and Belonging. In order for this need to be meet humans must feel a sense of connection as well as friendship, intamacy, and family.

In our clients:We can see patterns with certian clients who have struggled to form meaningful relationships in thier lives. As a general rule we shouldn't show favoritism towards specific clients. Though, it is okay to spend time with a client that you may notice is having issues with making friends. Often we have issues with clients who have just recieved bad news from thier families or know that certain people in our client's lives are not the best people for them to communicate with.


Good job medals

In the fourt tier we start seeing the need of esteem being met. This includes respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength (resiliance), and freedom.

In our clients:We see this need being threated by subtle jabs from a client to another client. Though, staff have also been known to say things that were non-theraputic that threatened a clients esteem. As a staff person the easiest way to avoid being the person to treaten a clients esteem is to stay within the relm of theraputic communication. After working with the same group of clients day after day it may start to feel comfortable telling clients about your personal life. Avoid falling into this habit if you can, as its best for you and the clients rehabilitation!


A man with his fist in the air

At the top of this pyramid we have Self-Actualization, which is the desire to become the most that one can be.

In our clients:We often hear the goals of thier actualized selves. Most clients want to be discharged and move on with thier lives outside of the reahbiliation facility. When clients are enaged in thier treatment we are helping with reach self-actualization! So, being the best staff person you know how to be will actually help our clients become self-actualized.

Image Credits:

Maslows Hierarcy of Needs was taken from: Simple Psychology
All other images were from: Open Clip Art