The 4 Emotional Needs
Facilitator Tips Episode 35

What are our Four Emotional Needs?


This week’s Facilitator Tips episode shares a brief introduction to Dr William Glasser‘s study on the four emotional needs of humans.


<< Go to Episode 34   Go to Episode 36 >>


Dr Glasser is well-known for his work as a psychologist and his research into these four critical needs necessarily informs and guides my work as an experiential educator.

It may surprise you to know that ‘having fun’ is one of our four basic needs?

Click the play button above to find out the other three critical needs…


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Useful Links & Resources


  • National Institute for Play – the organisation founded by Dr Stuart Brown exists to advocate and further the cause of integrating play more into our lives.
  • Dr William Glasser – Wikipedia entry focused on psychologist Dr William Glasser and his work.
  • Serious Fun book – to read or listen to a thorough discussion about why we should take fun (or play) more seriously – because we now know that they are one of our four emotional needs – click this link.


Video Transcript


Hey there and welcome to Episode 35 of the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard, I work as an experiential trainer and I’m an author, and today I want to focus on what’s referred to as The Four Emotional Needs.

Now psychologist Dr William Glasser spent a lifetime studying humans and understanding how we work and basically boiled down these four essential needs that when are met particularly in our terms of human development really help nourish our soul as much as help us basically get stuff done and feel good about our lives.

Now from an experiential trainer’s perspective, it’s really important that I consider this because whenever I meet resistance in my program and I’m sure you do too, I have to question what parts of the human psyche did I not manage to look after or nourish.

So very briefly here are the four. First of all, is that sense of belonging. Look, I don’t think there’s any mistake that this is the first one. I think it’s one of the most critical elements for us as human beings in terms of self-acceptance and our ability to feel good about ourselves is when we are meeting that need when we feel like we actually belong. And that’s very different to just fitting in. Fitting in is a lot of what we do as teenagers. But actually, when we feel like we belong, that is our human need being met.

Having personal power, the ability to actually make choices, to be able to get things done, to achieve and accomplish. The ability for agency is a big part of our human psyche.

And then personal freedom, the ability to make all of those choices is really important, that you feel that you’ve actually got a say and a voice, that you feel that you’re able to control your destiny. You have some level of control.

And then finally, and this is especially true for the work that I do, is fun. This is actually the word that they use, is that this is such a critical part of human development. Indeed there are other people, particularly Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play who argued that fun and play is as essential to human development as sleep and nutrition. So this is about inviting fun. That doesn’t mean you have to be telling jokes. This is about that nourishment of soul where you feel valued, that there’s opportunities to play, and you have a desire to want it to continue.

So when I look at that list I try to hit that as much as I can, all four of them, throughout all of my programs. And I know that when I look back and I feel that I sense that there were elements of resistance, maybe this is a useful tool for you as well. You could identify one of these four as perhaps not being met.

Again there’s so much in this space of literature that you could read up. So look up Dr. William Glasser through your search engines, or if not leave some comments or even direct a question to me.

You can find me at the contact page of www.playmeo.com. There are also show notes at www.playmeo.com Episode 35.

Please leave a comment. Share if you find this valuable.

Until next time, I look forward to seeing you. Bye-bye.


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