Needs Of The Individual - homeopathy360

Needs Of The Individual

Needs are general wants or desires . Every human being has to strive for the satisfaction of his basic needs if he is to maintain and actualize or enhance himself in this world .

Nothing can be said about the number of the individual needs . While some scholars hold that the number of individual needs is infinite , others have provided a definite number i.e., Murray has given a list of 37 needs . In this text , for the sake of proper understanding and clarity we would like to divide the human needs into two broad categories , namely biological needs and socio-psychological needs


all our bodily or organic needs fall into this category . they may be further categorized as under ;

1).in this first category of biological needs , we have need for oxygen , water and food . these needs are most fundamental for our survival and existence , with out them we can hardly survive .

2). In the chain of our survival and existence the other category of the biological needs includes need for ;

  • Rest when tired
  • Being active when rested
  • Sleep when deprived of it for long
  • Regular elimination of waste products from the body
  • Having an even internal body temperature
  • Protection from the threats of physical environment like hazards of weather , natural calamities , wild animals etc.,

3) in the third category of biological needs , we can place the need for satisfaction of sex urge or desire to seek sex experiences . Although sex urge is not essential for the survival of an individual , yet it is the strongest human urge in the satisfaction of which lies his proper growth , development , adjustment and well being . More over , the satisfaction of this need and normal sex behavior is most essential for a happy family life and the continuity of the human species .

4) In the last category of biological needs , we have needs that are associated with the demands of our senses . These sensory needs include the need for physical contact , sensory stimulation and stimulus variability and manipulation . Although we may not die if deprived of these needs , yet they are supposed to be quite essential for our general welfare and optimal growth .


under this category , we can list all those needs that are associated with the socio cultural environment of an individual . they are acquired through social learning . although such needs are not linked with the survival of the organism or species , yet their deprivation may lead to a psychological state seriously affecting his survival and welfare . These needs for the sake of clarity may be classified as the need for ;

  1. freedom or gaining independence
  2. for security
  3. for love and affection
  4. to achievement
  5. for recognition
  6. for social company
  7. for self actualization


Surenson gives a list of wants as follows ;

1] the want to love : Avoidance and postponement of death include food , health , clothing , shelter , protection , against disease

2] the want for social security : it includes love , affection , belongingness , friendship , companionship , and social acceptance

3] the want for personal worth and superiority : it includes success , mastery , power , importance , self respect , prestige , honor , self satisfaction

4] the want for health , comfort , and feeling of well being : It includes rest and sleep , ventilation , pleasant climate , sanitation , healthful surroundings , and comforts .

5] the want for freedom and liberty : It includes thinking and expressing oneself independently , moving freely , making decisions , enjoying equality rights , and determining one’s own course of action .

6] the want for sexual stimulation : It includes the basic sex urge , libido , life force , eroticism , amorousness , and conjugation .


A need gives rise to drive which may be defined as an aroused reaction tendency or a state of heightened tension that sets up activities in an individual and sustains them for increasing his general activity level . The existence of a need moves or drives the individual from with in and directs its activities to a goal that may bring about the satisfaction of the need . The strength of a drive depends upon the strength of the stimuli involving the related need .

Drives of any nature are divided into two categories . In the first category , we have biological or primary drives such as hunger , thirst , escape , from pain and sex drive .

In the second category , we have socio-psychological or secondary drives such as fear anxiety , desire for approval , striving for achievement . aggression and dependence . these drives are not related to our physiological needs and there fore . do not arise on account of imbalances in the body’s internal functioning . They arise from the socio psychological needs and are said to be acquired through social learning as a result of one’s interaction with his socio cultural environment . These drives move an individual to act for the satisfaction of his socio psychological needs which in turn proves as reinforcer of the behavior for the continuity and maintenance of the behavior .

Contrary to the socio –psychological or secondary drives or biological drives are basically unlearned in nature . They arise from our biological needs as a result of a biological mechanism known as homeostasis . For explaining the drive function , the term homeostasis  was coined by W.B.Canon , a prominent Harvard university physiologist . Canon (1932) suggested that our body system constantly works towards an optimum level of functioning maintaining a normal state of balance between input and out put . For example , when blood sugar level drops , the brain , glands , stomach organs and other parts of the body send out signals that activate a hunger drive and make one hungry . After food has been consumed by the individual’s body , it returns to a state of balance . This maintenance of an over all physiological balance is homeostasis . . When there is an imbalance , there is a need to restore balance ; thus a drive arises which in turn serves as instigator of behavior

The term homeostasis , used by Canon with reference to body chemistry has now been broadened to include any behavior that upsets the balance of an individual . The denial or failure in the satisfaction of any basic need may bring imbalance psyche state , thus arising a drive primary or secondary for initiating a behavior .


Drives are also influenced and guided by incentives , praise , appreciation , rewards , bonus , fulfillment of one’s needs and getting the desired objectives are some of the examples of incentives .

Incentive works as reinforcing agent as it adds more force to , a drive like adding fuel to the already ignited fire . A piece of toffee , chocolate or ice cream or a playing toy may work as an incentive for a body to give more strength to his drive and as a result he may be further motivated to act or behave in a desirable way , similarly a favorite food may provide an incentive for an individual to eat or a favorite movie may compel other individuals to go and see it . In this way drives , whether primary or secondary , are greatly affected and directed by the incentives . These incentives work more forcefully in case the organism remains deprived for long of that particular incentive .


A motive is force that determines the activity of an individual . It is an inner force which moves a person to a certain action . Motives , in the broad sense of the word , include needs , basic drives , interests , like and dislikes , desires and attitude because all these move us to some action or the other .

According to Rosen , Fox and Gregory : “ A motive may be defined as a readiness or disposition to respond in some ways and not others to a variety of situations “

Fisher defined : “ A motive is an inclination or impulsion to act on some degree of orientation or direction “

A motive must be distinguished from stimulus and an incentive . A motive is the force that initiates , sustains and directs the activity of an organism . A stimulus is an internal or external object or event or an aspect of the subject which excites the receptors or activates a sense organ . An incentive is a goal towards which a motivated activity is directed .

About the author

Dr B.S Suvarna

B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD, PGDPC (Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
Jeevan Shanthi
Karnataka State, India