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  • Writer's pictureFiona Grignard

8 fundamental needs & how to take care of them

A psychological need... that seems like a big term! Well, that's because it's pretty important!

These are the needs you have to feel good on a psychological, motivational, and emotional level. They prevent us from engaging in our stress behaviors. To put it simple: when a need is not properly met, it creates negative stress. That stress response will look different according to each personality. I'll go deeper into it in just a moment.

According to the Process Communication Model (PCM - the personality model I work with), there are 8 fundamental needs, and their importance depends on our main personality types (there are 6 types in total).

▷ Recognition of the person

▷ Recognition of work

▷ Recognition of opinions and convictions

▷ Sensory needs

▷ Incidence / excitement

▷ Solitude

▷ Contact

▷ Structure

Do you intuitively recognize one of them as being important to you? We will learn a little bit more about each of them, which personality type they are related to, and how to meet this need positively so it doesn't lead to stress.

Disclaimer : This article is meant to give you a first taste of PCM. For simplification purposes, I am voluntarily taking out some of the important nuances that you can only learn through a proper PCM coaching or training...

Why take care of your needs? The bank account principle.

We cannot prevent outside events from happening. Some are positive and bring our energy level up, some are negative and stressful and they drain our energy down.

You can't change that. This is just how life is.

But there is one thing you can do though: make sure that you have what it takes to deal with those negative events as best as possible: enough energy and the right mindset.

I see it as a bank account: every day, there are bills coming in, and stuff that you have to pay. But that's ok, as long as you have enough money in your bank account, right? So what do you have to do? Make regular deposits on your account, so you don't end up in the red zone.

Well, for our energy, it's pretty much the same. And how do you make deposits? By taking care of your psychological needs!

How to take care of your psychological needs? Not by expecting others to do it, but by being responsible of it yourself...

The difficulty when taking care of our needs: we often haven't learnt how to take care of them ourselves. Instead, we are stuck waiting for other people to meet them for us, e.g. craving the compliments that will make us feel valued. It creates a form of urgency, gasping what comes from the others.

The trick though is to take care of these needs ourselves (as annoying as this can sound). Then we make our cake, and other people meeting our needs is just the cherry on top of that delicious cake.

Attention: This need thing is not some random nice-to-have to implement once in a while. These needs are so important for us, that we will try to meet them no matter what. This means that if we cannot meet them in a positive way, we will then (unconsciously) find another way to meet them, even if it has to be in a negative way. Like a child who craves attention from their parents and who would rather have negative attention (because they were naughty and get punished) than have no attention at all.

Of course, meeting our needs negatively is not satisfying at all. We then enter a negative spiral which is very tightly linked to our own stress behaviors.

The Process Communication Model - PCM identifies, among other cool things, your main personality type, your personality structure and your most important psychological needs. The model predicts what a person does in distress, how and why someone can sabotage his or her professional and personal life.

Learning how to positively take care of your psychological needs will help you avoid the negative spiral of stress behavior.

But hey, if you should learn to meet your own needs, you can also meet other's needs when you learn how to! Give it to them, and you might be surprised of the results. It can nurture them, it can increase their productivity, it will likely have a positive impact on your relationship. When trying to meet other people needs, keep in mind these 2 rules :

  1. Do it only if you truly mean it (no empty compliment! People can often easily feel when a compliment is fake, and it ends up have an even worse effect!).

  2. Do it without expecting anything in return. Because your meeting their need doesn't mean they have to meet yours ;-)

Let's take a look at the 8 different needs and the personality types those are linked. I'll give you tips for each of them to meet these needs yourself.

Disclaimer: There's no proper order nor ranking for the needs, I just list them in number order so that you know how many more to go. There are 8 in total, and their ranking, for you, depends on your personality structure.

1. Recognition of the person


Being recognized and appreciated for who you are as a person, for what you bring to the table as a human being, for your qualities.


PCM TYPE: Harmonizer/Empathique type

People who have a Harmonizer/Empathique type as a base are warm, compassionate, and sensitive, and this need is highly important for them.

How do I positively meet this need?

This can be tricky because it's one of those needs that our society never really taught us to meet ourselves. Until recently, it was not acceptable to tell yourself that you loved yourself or that you were a wonderful person. That is something we expected others to tell us. And if we did, it felt awkward most of the time.

Well, that's ok. Let's remove the barriers in our minds and let's practice the following exercises to recognize our own person and to really appreciate ourselves.

▷ Say I love you to yourself in the mirror, with a charming smile.

▷ Make a list of our talents and qualities and read it often.

▷ At the end of a project, think of what you brought to it as a person.

▷ Maintain good relationships with your favorite coworkers and take meaningful breaks with them during the day.

▷ Maintain close relationships with a few friends that you can call often and really connect with.

▷ When you receive negative feedback, allow yourself to ask for positive feedback as well.

▷ Talk about yourself in a positive manner instead of pointing out the negative aspects first.

▷ Treat yourself with small gifts and really enjoy that moment.

2. Recognition of work


Being recognized and appreciated for what you do, the quality of your actions and work. Taking the time to praise what you do well.


PCM TYPE: Thinker/Travaillomane + Persister/Persévérant

This is a very important need for Thinker/Travaillomane types who are very logical, organized, and responsible. But also for Persister/Persévérant who are very devoted, conscientious, observant.

How do I positively meet this need?

To meet this need and fill your psychological bank account, you'll need to be precise on what is qualitative in what you're doing, be it at work and in any other life's area.

▷ What did you do well today? What impact did it have?

▷ Each day, recognize what you have accomplished before you set goals for the next day.

▷ Reward yourself for tasks that you’ve completed.

▷ Earn and display certificates or awards for accomplishing something you are proud of.

▷ Share your ideas with others.

▷ Tell your family about your successes and accomplishments.

▷ Paint, write or engage in some other hobby or task where you can see immediate results.

You gave an excellent presentation to your boss, you prioritized your day so well that you didn't miss any deadline despite your huge workload, you cooked an amazing dinner in less than 20 min... Make sure to acknowledge these efforts and successes.

3. Recognition of Convictions & Opinions


Knowing that your opinion is searched and valued. Being respected for your values and convictions.


PCM TYPE: Persister/Persévérant Type

This is an important need for Persister/Persévérant types who are devoted, conscientious, and observant.

How do I positively meet this need?

To meet this need, you have to make sure your values are being respected.

▷ Work for a company you feel very much aligned with their values.

▷ Make sure you work on projects that are also aligned with your values.

▷ Get involved in activities to benefit the common interest.

4. Sensory needs


Taking care of your 5 senses, and making sure they are in harmony.


PCM TYPE: Harmonizer/Empathique

People who have a Harmonizer/Empathique type as a base are very warm, compassionate, and sensitive, and this need is highly important for them.

How do I positively meet this need?

Check-in daily to make sure your 5 senses are happy.

▷ Smell: use perfume, essential oils, or a nice home fragrance.

▷ Vision: make sure your surroundings look pretty (look at my Rainbow bookshelves below, it can seem useless for some, but it brings so much joy for me), having plants, pictures, nice deco, light that isn't too bright, an organized office, etc.

▷ Hearing: listening to relaxing music, wearing noise-canceling headphone if you're in a noisy environment.

▷ Touch: wearing a fluffy sweater, making sure the temperature is just right, get a massage.

▷ Taste: enjoying a piece of your favorite chocolate and really taking the time to appreciate it.

This need is really important to me. Before I start a coaching session, I always make sure I have my cup of tea (and a thermos for long-lasting warm tea), my scented candles (both for the smell and the vision), I'm wearing my favorite clothes and my noise-canceling headphones. Believe it or not, but it changes everything for me.

5. Incidence / Excitement


Need for action and excitement in a short time lapse.


PCM TYPE: Promoter

This is an important need for the promoter type who is adaptable, charming, and resourceful.

How do I positively meet this need?

▷ Schedule lots of activities in short periods of time with quick payoffs.

▷ Practice an extreme sport.

▷ Take (controlled) risks.

▷ Do regular challenges - eg like my This Month I tried Challenge

▷ Engage in activities with a healthy competition.

▷ Set high objectives that will motivate you to give your best.

▷ Try something new that you don't know yet how to do.

▷ At work, choose a job that has rush times and can be challenging instead of finding yourself in a routine or too-easy setup.

6. Solitude


Need for regular alone and quiet time.


PCM TYPE: Imaginer/Rêveur

This is an important need for the Imaginer/Rêveur type who is imaginative, reflective, and calm.

How do you positively meet this need?

▷ Make sure to do activities alone.

▷ Take breakfast alone to have quiet time at the beginning of the day.

▷ Take multiple short breaks during the day to relax without being interrupted.

▷ Come to work earlier or leave later than your coworkers to have time at the office by yourself.

▷ Find a quiet time home and make it your own.

▷ Plan a meditation retreat (I've done Vipassana a couple of times, it's amazing).

▷ Take a long walk in nature by yourself.

▷ Do your grocery shopping at times where there are the least amount of people.

7. (Fun) Contacts


Need fun spontaneous activities and experiences.



This is an important need for the Rebel type who is spontaneous, creative and playful.

How do you positively meet this need?

▷ Frequent interactions with fun people, who like to laugh and joke around.

▷ Being in a stimulating surrounding with bright light, loud music, amusing gadgets, favorite pictures.

▷ Have nice coworkers who you can take breaks with.

▷ Make sure to have different types of activities throughout the day.

▷ Mix serious work with fun times throughout the day.

▷ Share funny stories during breaks to make the mood lighter.

▷ Use your creativity to bring fresh ideas.

▷ Go to parties.

▷ Have friends who are available for last minutes activities.

▷ Have fun gadgets next to you.

▷ Wear clothes that are colorful or not mainstream.

▷ Express different ideas that are out of the ordinary without being controversial.

▷ Have hobbies that are fun and creative (music, painting, gardening,...).

▷ Do spontaneous activities.

8. Structure


Need for clear time structure and being organized.


PCM TYPE: Thinker/Travaillomane

This is a very important need for people with a strong Thinker/Travaillomane personality type, who are very logical, organized, and responsible and who love routine.

How do you positively meet this need?

▷ Take time each day to set priorities and focus on doing what's most important.

▷ Give yourself adequate time to be on time for appointments.

▷ Allow buffer time in your calendar to deal with unexpected tasks.

▷ Be careful not to take on more projects than you have time for.

▷ Take a time management course.

▷ Be direct and honest about what you can and can't do. Dedication is admirable.

Accomplishments with efficiency are more desirable

▷ Schedule in some amount of “time to be cheerfully wasted” each day.

▷ Plan your vacation ahead of time.

Did you identify with any of these needs? What actions will you implement to positively meet your needs?

If you want to learn more about your personality type, if you want to take the full PCM test and do an Express PCM coaching on your specific personality type, come chat with me. I'd love to tell you more about it!

And remember, luck is an attitude...


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