Klaus Grawe and the four basic human needs
Klaus Grawe (2004, 2007), one of the founding fathers of Neusopsychotherapy, describes our brain as a network of processes between neurons and synapses (Grawe, 2007, p. 31,40). As the person seeks to satisfy their basic needs, every sensory experience has a meaning and will be stored in the memory system, creating a pattern of behaviour in the brain (Grawe, 2007, p. 5). According to Grawe, the four basic human needs are orientation and control, attachment, pleasure maximisation and distress avoidance, self-esteem enhancement and self-esteem protection (Grawe, 2007, p. 171). These needs can only be satisfied through a mental process called consistency regulation, by developing, from childhood, motivational schemas and goals of approach or avoidance (Grawe, 2007, p. 168).
Drawing on the extensive work of Attachment Theory (Bowlby, 1988, 2008), Grawe's Consistency Regulation model describes how we develop avoidance or approach schemas and goals in order to satisfy our basic needs, as well as the different types of attachment relationships that we will have with people throughout life:
Secure attachment relationship
A baby who has their needs satisfied by their mother, experiences positive emotions, which are stored in the baby's memory system, activating patterns of approach schemas and goals, secure control expectancy, as well as developing secure attachment relationship (Grawe, 2007, p. 175).
Insecure avoidance attachment
If the baby does not have their needs satisfied, but instead, is constantly rejected or neglected, fear response is activated in the brain (Grawe, 2007, p. 175). Approach schemas and goals are inhibited and they will develop an insecure avoidance attachment (Grawe, 2007, p. 175). They will avoid intimacy, with no signs of distress (Grawe, 2007, p. 175).
Insecure ambivalent attachment
When the mother attends the child's needs erratically, they will develop an insecure ambivalent attachment (Grawe, 2007, pp. 175-176). The approach and avoidance schemas and goals are concurrently activated (Grawe, 2007, pp. 175-176). The child will seek closeness, but have no secure control expectancy, resulting in them being stressed by constantly being concerned about losing intimacy with the loved object (Grawe, 2007, pp. 175-176).
Insecure and disorganised attachment
When the baby is rejected and abused, the attachment will be insecure and disorganised, causing bizarre behaviour (Grawe, 2007, p. 176).
Insecure and disorganised attachment and stress
Throughout life, every person experiences stressful moments (Grawe, 2007, pp. 218). When a threatening situation arises, a signal is sent to the limbic system via sensory experiences (Grawe, 2007, pp. 220). This increases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, initiating the fight-or-flight response to threat and regulating the body's response to stress and danger (Grawe, 2007, pp. 220). However, long term stress exposure (which is the case of those with insecure and disorganised attachment relationships) increases the production of stress hormones, damaging several neural areas, producing symptoms of anxiety or panic, as well as increasing the risk of physical and psychological disorders (Grawe, 2007, pp. 220-224).
There is hope
Due to the plasticity of the brain, where synapse connections are modified by experience, the network of neurons is continually changing (Grawe, 2007, p.8). One of Grawe's most important findings is that psychotherapy can change this neural brain activity (Draguns, 2007).
Klaus Grawe and the four basic human needs:
Attachment - Control - Self-esteem enhancement - Pleasure Maximisation
In order to satisfy these needs or protect them from violation we develop:
Motivational Schemes and Goals:
who has their needs of love, protection, who does not have their needs
security, support satisfied by her mother satisfied by their mother
2. Will experience positive emotions, 2. Will experience negative
which will become part of their memory emotions, which will become part
system of their memory system, activating
3. The child will develop neural fear response, incongruence and
pathways which will facilitate activation of constant stress
4. Approach schemas and goals, 3. The child will develop neural
secure control expectancy, no fear pathways which will facilitate
response, safety and secure activation of avoidance patterns
attachment and goals, incongruence, fear
5. The child's mental state will be response and constant stress
regulated and achieve well-being 3.1 Constantly rejection develops:
Insecure Avoidance attachment
(*approach schemas and goals
* the child will avoid proximity
with no signs of distress)
3.2 Rejection only sometimes:
Insecure Ambivalent Attachment
(*approach and avoidance schemas
and goals will be activated
*child will seek contact and
avoid loss of intimacy, seeking
intimacy with aggressive
rejection, anxiety, tension, no
control of results.
3.3 Rejection and Abuse:
Insecure Disorganised attachment
(*bizarre and stereotyped behaviour
*child's mental state inconsistent
*child will not achieve wellness but
pathology, with social insecurity,
tension, stress, no control
expectancy, constant vigilant, their
perceptual system will be oriented
to detect negative events in order
to avoid them) Rossouw (2011)
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