Needs must be regulated, because, from the viewpoint of this theory, the psychological basic needs are antagonistically aligned. Closeness-distance (bonding), security-freedom (self-determination, uniqueness-belonging (self-esteem). Therefore, a permanent change of focus has to be organised – e.g. closeness and distance can only be satisfied one after the other. This regulation is a process which requires many prerequisites and therefore it is also prone to failure.
Initially it is based upon comprehensive abilities to:
- internally perceive all the needs (“Do I feel close to someone? I don’t know!”)
- give them meaning (“Oh, that does not matter to me, I don’t need that!”)
- know their general achievability (“Belonging? There is no such thing. Ultimately every person is alone!”)
- recognise the possibility of personal fulfilment (“Yes, it is possible that others have someone that loves them. But I don’t have anything to make me lovable!”)
Those who have all this available can begin to
- express what they want, instead of insisting that others will notice what they need.
- clearly and assertively state what they want, which is often important (“But I want an ice cream!”).
- act in such a way that they are in contact with other people and the environment. This means, to do this by staying in contact, not by demanding or manipulating.
Finally, it requires the ability to get by without being satisfied, by
- being able to do without
- getting it somewhere else or
- entering into a negotiation process.
The ability for regulation is, therefore, a broad field. Good for those who have all these competences available to them at all times and in all contexts! Everybody else can and will profit from competent counselling. You do not need to be psychologically ill for this.