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Function of Needs Regulation

The psychological guiding process about which needs one facilitates, and which ones should be inhibited, can be accomplished by the psychological system functionally or dysfunctionally. It is functional when the internal regulation of needs and the external situation are coordinated in such a way that the wellbeing and the social interactions are possible at the same time. The guiding process is dysfunctional when in the internal psyche a need is consistently linked with a corresponding fear. For example: the desire for closeness triggers fear of losing autonomy, the desire for distance triggers fear of isolation, the desire for freedom triggers fear of risks, the desire for security triggers fear of paralysis, the desire for uniqueness triggers fear of devaluation and the desire for belonging triggers fear of having to conform.

The principle is clear: the dysfunctionality consists of the need being inhibited in favour of the avoidance of an uncomfortable feeling. The uncomfortable feeling, however, is the consequence of an expectation of undesired consequences, which is considered likely because of one’s own history. Often, someone then oscillates between the needs poles: from a desire for closeness and the resulting fear of being taken over, the client changes to distancing behaviour. This, then triggers fear of isolation and strengthens his need for closeness. This vicious circle certainly leads to exhaustion and resignation. Often, trust in oneself to be able to cope with the undesired experiences, or to be able to ‘do’ something with fears, is missing. Such internal conflicts usually lie at the heart of every counselling session.

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