I Need This . . . Or Do I?

In the time that I have been working with clients, I have come across a variety of points of view regarding the things that we need in this world. However, it is important to clarify what we mean when we say we need something. My go to definition is to look at the things that we need to survive. Sometimes we forget that our first goal on this planet is to survive. The six needs of survival that I have compiled are oxygen, water, food, shelter, sleep and excretion of wastes. I thank the one client a couple years ago that brought up “going to the bathroom,” because frankly, if we don’t do it we will poison ourselves.

These are our basic needs for survival, but frequently in sessions we are faced with clients that come in and say that “I need to do this” or “I need this in order to do this.” This creates roadblocks in our minds that stop us from engaging in possible solutions to the identified problems. An example would be a statement such as “I need a vehicle to get to work.” Well, if we tear into this, most of us can think of a number of ways to get to work that may not be using our own vehicle: walk, run, ride a bike, take mass transit (if applicable), pay a coworker to pick you up or carpool to a closer location and then walk, bike, etc . . . .

However, when a statement like this is repeated in one’s brain, it closes off the options to creatively think of other ideas because we say we NEED a vehicle to get to work, so since I don’t have a vehicle I cannot get to work. Small words like “need” cause us to sabotage our creative abilities and diminish our desire to find alternate answers. Recognizing this situation as “I want a car to get to work” inherently creates the next question of “How can I get a car so I can get to work?” which is quickly followed up with the obvious answer of “GET TO WORK!” Challenging our own thinking regarding wants vs. needs allows our brains the opportunity to creatively solve problems. This is where we, as therapists, come in. If you feel that you may have some confusion regarding wants vs. needs or may be sabotaging your own creative process, come on in and talk with a therapist. We specialize in problem solving and helping individuals put things into the perspective that will elicit progress, as opposed to stagnation.