My previous blog post looked at how as we go through different stages of lives, our emotional needs can get out of balance and it’s important that we recognise this and, if we can, make a few changes to help get things back on track. One example might be our emotional needs after losing a job.
The previous few articles looked at the idea that we come into the world with a set of emotional (as well as physical) needs that have to be met if we are to be emotionally healthy and resilient to stress and mental illness. There is broad agreement today about what these needs are and some of the most important are: Security, attention (to give and receive it), a sense of autonomy and control, emotional intimacy (to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”), feeling part of a wider community, privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience, an emotional connection to others, sense of status within social groupings, sense of competence and achievement and most important, a sense of meaning and purpose — which comes from being stretched in what we do and think.
A Case Study
Over the past ten years I have given out discussion exercises (based on fictional case studies) to groups of adults in the classroom, as part of a Carers qualification. This case study is about Brian who has recently lost his job:
Brian is 49 years of age and was recently made redundant from his carpentry job that he had worked in and enjoyed for nearly 20 years. The company he worked for was a small close-knit one. He has contacted everyone he knew in the trade and it seems that there is not much prospect of a job in the near future. He wonders about retraining in another area, but what would he do? His has a supportive happy family life, with 2 teenage children in school and his wife works full time for the HSE. He enjoys coaching his local GAA team and attending matches.
Looking at the Emotional Needs Audit, how would Brian score?
Brian has lost more than just his income: he had worked in the same job for 20 years and had developed close relationship with his work colleagues. Although there is still one salary coming in, from his wife’s job, the sense of loss of status as a break winner would probably hit him hard, as would the loss of control and achievement, to some extent, especially as he has not been able to find another job. However, he has a supportive family and partner and is very much part of the wider community in his GAA coaching. This would ensure that he would still have his needs for status and for meaning and purpose fulfilled, at least to some extent. This should hopefully keep him going while he continues to search for alternative employment.
How are your own needs being met?
Check out how well your own emotional needs are being met right now! If you would like a free copy of the Emotional Needs Audit , click here:
Need some advice and support?
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article further, or perhaps look at ways that you can start to get your own or your family’s emotional needs met in a balanced way, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
Book a counselling session today!