Needs and Resources



Mental distress tends to arise because, in one way or another, people’s physical or emotional needs are not being met. Our essential needs and our innate resources to help meet them – the ‘givens’ of human nature – are at the heart of the pragmatic approach. If all our needs are met in balance, making us confident about our place in the world and the people we connect with, we don’t suffer from disabling conditions, such as anxiety and stress, depression, addictions, phobias or panic attacks.
We all know that we have physical needs – for food, water, warmth and shelter – which must be sufficiently met to enable us to survive and thrive. But people often don’t realise that certain emotional needs are just as crucial for both our mental and physical health. Decades of health and social research have revealed, for instance, that a sense of security, intimacy, social connection, status, autonomy and control, competence and achievement, and meaning and purpose are also vital, if we are to stay in good health and feel fulfilled in our lives. Our innate resources for helping us meet these needs include the ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others; to learn, problem solve, remember and plan; to use our imaginations productively; and to step back and take an objective look at our circumstances. When any of our important needs is seriously unmet over a significant period or any of our resources not made best use of, mental and physical ill health may develop.
This is why, when we work with people in mental distress, we look for what is missing in those people’s lives and seek ways to redress that, as well as teaching them important life-coping skills.


Pragmatic Therapy integrates the human givens approach with established evidence-based treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Special thanks to Denise Winn, Editor of the Human Givens Journal, for her assistance with the self-help articles on this website.




Needs and resources Part 2


Our resources...

  • Pattern matching

  • Connecting

  • Imagining

  • Focussing

  • Reflecting

  • Attuning

  • Empathising


Needs and resources Part 3

Our approach ….


  • First identify unmet need

  • Then identify resources not working well

  • Focus on moving TOWARDS your goals

  • Resist the temptation to focus on deficit


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