"Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs"
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Deborah Hare UKCP Registered and Accredited Counsellor
10th April, 2013
As counsellors, it is helpful to be aware of "Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs", especially the basic physiological need. A person needs to be fed, sleep, breathe and have shelter to survive. This is the bottom stage of Maslow’s pyramid.
‘.....When our basic physiological needs have been met we progress to a new set of needs which are less pressing for immediate survival but are none the less very important to us all’. (King. 2009 3:5)
If these basic survival needs are not met, it may be extremely difficult for a counsellor to engage with their clients, as the client is so stressed with lack of sleep that they cannot concentrate on the sessions.
Supporting clients with insomnia may help them to be able to cope with life, as sleep is vital. Depressed and anxious clients tend not to be able to sleep as their mind is too occupied with the troubles they bare in the conscious mind.
Below are a few examples of some techniques that may be used in the therapeutic environment;
- Ask your client to keep a blank piece of paper and a pen by their bed. Ask them to write key notes for any negative thoughts or troubles on their mind onto the paper. Psychologically the trouble has gone from the mind onto the paper allowing them to have a restful sleep.
- Help your client to breath properly, as some clients have never learnt this as a baby. If attachments were not met by the mother the baby becomes stressed and holds their breath. So as an adult the person has not learnt to calm themselves when stressed and breathe regularly. This leads us back to clients not being able to sleep, due to them not learning form the mother on how to cope and regulate themselves. Show them how to deep breathe; inhale slowly for the count of 4 seconds (inhaling blank thoughts) hold breath for the a count of 4, then exhale slowly for the count of 6 (breathing out any troubles on their mind.) This is also helpful for the client in any other stressful situation.
Maslow’s basic needs are vital the more sleep your client gets the better they can cope with daily survival.
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