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A Hierarchy of Human Needs

Updated: Jul 31, 2019




Can I be loved the way I am?

How do our parents, other authority figures and institutions—such as education, organized religion, politics, the media, and even the helping professions—accept or deny our Inner Child? How can we identify whether we were affected?

What factors or conditions made our parents and others stifle our Real Self?


To help answer those question Charles Whitfield in his famous book "Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families" put together a following list of human needs. Fulfilling those needs during the stage of childhood help in forming a healthy psyche of emotionally stabile individual. Neglecting the needs lead to confusion, formation of False Self and defensive coping mechanisms in children that are later taken into adulthood.

  1. Survival

  2. Safety

  3. Touching, skin contact

  4. Attention

  5. Mirroring and echoing

  6. Guidance

  7. Listening

  8. Being real

  9. Participating

  10. Acceptance Others are aware of, take seriously and admire the Real You Freedom to be the Real You Tolerance of your feelings Validation Respect Belonging and love

  11. Opportunity to grieve losses and to grow

  12. Support

  13. Loyalty and trust

  14. Accomplishment Mastery, “Power,” “Control” Creativity Having a sense of completion Making a contribution

  15. Altering one’s state of consciousness, transcending the ordinary

  16. Sexuality

  17. Enjoyment or fun

  18. Freedom

  19. Nurturing

  20. Unconditional love (including connection with a Higher Power)*


*Whitfield, Charles. Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (Recovery Classics Edition) (p. 17).

Compiled in part from Maslow, 1962; Miller, 1981; Weil, 1973; Glasser, 1985.

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