A simple but not necessarily easy way to create a healthy relationship and thus increase your sense of belonging is the focus of this post as well as the discussion on February 17, 2024 at the Difficult Discussions in Diversity gathering. Details including Zoom link are at the end of this post.

Dr. William Glasser, MD, taught the concept of Five Basic Needs. I learned about them more specifically in my Basic Week Intensive Training in August 1978. What struck me at the time was Dr. Glasser’s Basic Needs were more accurate than Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


Because at that point in time I was a social services worker in a child protective unit in the State of Oregon. I investigated claims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in the poorest as well as the most affluent areas of town. Some of the people with money, power and resources/access to counseling, etc. were abusive in their relationships. Some of the people with none of those resources were kind, caring, loving, encouraging parents.

The Basic Needs are:

Survival: Food, Shelter, Clothing and Procreation;
Love & Belonging: Family, Friendships, Cooperation;
Power: Feeling listened to, heard, important, and competent;
Freedom: Having choices and freedom of movement;
Fun: Learning and laughter.

Dr. Glasser thought these needs were genetic, in our DNA. I took some time during those early years and actually went back over major decisions in my life to see how these needs played out. And his perspective that our needs were genetic and were varied in terms of strength or importance in our lives were borne out by my own review.

My personal experience in over 50 years working in various social service positions with a broad range of clients from nursery age to  nursing home age, I found I could understand why people made the decisions they did by applying what I knew about the Basic Needs and one other concept Dr. Glasser called our Quality World.

Our Quality World consists of multi-sensory images or pictures of those life experiences we find extremely need satisfying. Most of the time people think this means family, friends, a good job, hobbies, etc. Our Quality World can also include images of those things that help us cope with basic needs we are not effectively satisfying such as drugs, alcohol, guns, etc..

Think about your own life.

How do these Basic Needs fit in with your understanding of your decisions?
What Quality World pictures do you struggle to match? What do you choose to do to numb the pain of failure?

Bonus material:

Want your relationships to be more fulfilling, happier, healthier?

Ask yourself these questions:

Is what I’m about to do or say going to bring me closer or push us further apart?
How might my choosing the Connecting Habits help my relationships with other people?
What are the Connecting Habits?

Negotiating Differences

Want to know more?

We’d love to have you join us on February 17, 2024 to continue the conversation on Choice Theory Reality Therapy© and Relationships.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86846055313?pwd=emtiWTNpSVExdDRpWEFtTWtoUXkyZz09

Meeting ID: 868 4605 5313
Passcode: 662804

Judith attended her first Basic Training in August 1978. She was certified in Reality Therapy© in August 1979 and became an Intensive Week Trainer and Practicum Supervisor in 1981. In 1991, Judith was approved as Senior Faculty by Dr. William Glasser. She has taught all phases of the Certification Program and presented workshops at Conferences in the United States and Internationally. Currently Judith is the Northwest Region’s representative on the GIFCT-US Board as well as president of the NW Region.