maslowCounselling & Psychotherapy

Counselling is considered a ‘focused, short to medium term solution-oriented process’ when clients may have experienced an intermittent interpersonal life crisis such as following the illness or death of a loved one, a pet, an intimate relationship/family member or friendship breakdown, a workplace challenge, job loss, being bullied at school or at work, have faced a psychological/physical threat or trauma, have been diagnosed with a physical health condition, terminal illness or medical threat, experienced a parenting crisis or a blended family issue or experienced a financial challenge as a result of their current circumstances which may require grief and supportive counselling for that specific period or many over the course of their lifetime. Most people will experience at least a few or multiple life crises at certain periods in their lives and as a result, the level of their counselling and support requirements will depend entirely on their support network, social relationships, gender, sexual identity, cultural factors and resources. Generally, clients seek out counselling during these periods so they can effectively move through these life cycle phases or circumstances with the required assistance, resources, information and support from a range of health professionals. As such, some may require additional specialised support networks from a range of community services to assist them to move through the process effectively. They may be suffering from shame, guilt, sadness, powerlessness, frustration and/or confusion as a result of their experience or current circumstances which requires a sounding board to process these feelings or regain their power to move forward toward a more ideal situation in their life. Many clients report a considerable improvement in their circumstances as a result of seeking out counselling during these times of interpersonal crisis.

Psychotherapy and Psychological Intervention however is usually a longer-term therapeutic process and allows for the deeper exploration of the origins of the difficulty, patterns of behaviour, core beliefs, relational style and situational factors which may be impacting and negatively affecting their life. Psychotherapy aims to increase an individual’s sense of their own well-being and may uncover patterns of historical anxiety, persistent depressive symptomology or chronic mental health issues which require longer term treatment, support, interpersonal processing and external mental health programs and services to assist them to fast track their recovery. It also assists clients to understand the human behaviour of those around them which may have negatively impacted their lives and/or subsequently has resulted in an adverse trauma experience for them, affected their interpersonal development or overall life journey. Our psychotherapists and psychologist employs a range of techniques based on experiential relationship and skills building, dialogue, communication and cognitive behavioral techniques that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or to improve group relationships (such as in a family or intimate partnership).

Psychotherapy was introduced by Carl Rogers in the 1950s & is based on existentialism & the works of Abraham Maslow when identifying his HEIRARCHY OF HUMAN NEEDS.

This model suggests that individual’s are able to achieve Peak Experiences when their 4 basic needs are met.

Basic Needs (Survival)

Physiological needs include the basic metabolic requirements needed for survival in all animals, including humans. Air, water & food are imperative resources to aid survival. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements. Sexual intercourse aids each species in surviving extinction. The intensity of the human sexual instinct is shaped more by sexual competition however rather than maintaining a birth rate adequate to survival of the species. If all these basic requirements are not met (with the exception of clothing, shelter, and sexual activity), the human body simply cannot continue to function.

Safety Needs (Comfort)

With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. These needs have to do with people’s yearning for a predictable orderly world in which perceived unfairness and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent and the unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, reasonable disability accommodations, and the like.

Psychological Needs

Love and Belonging

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs are social and involve feelings of belongingness. This aspect of Maslow’s hierarchy involves emotionally based relationships in general, such as:

* Friendship

* Intimacy

* Family

Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs, or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, may ignore the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging


All humans have a need to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. This can come in the form of having ‘purpose’. Also known as the belonging need, esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an inferiority complex. People with low self-esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again depends on others. Note, however, that many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from obtaining self-esteem on both levels.

Most people have a need for a stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom. The latter one ranks higher because it rests more on inner competence won through experience. Deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.

Maslow stresses the dangers associated with self-esteem based on fame and outer recognition instead of inner competence.

Self Actualisation

Self awareness or emotional intelligence (EI) forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need pertains to what a person’s full potential is and realising that potential. Maslow describes this as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming & to achieve this an individual must truly know themselves. This is a broad definition of the need for self-actualisation, but when applied to individuals the need is specific. For example one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in another it may be expressed in painting, pictures, or inventions. As mentioned before, in order to reach a clear understanding of this level of need one must first not only achieve the previous needs, physiological, safety, love, and esteem, but master these needs.

Following recognition of Maslow’s HEIRARCHY OF NEEDS Rogers then developed ‘Person-Centred Therapy’ into his realm of techniques. This model is one adopted by our therapists at SOUTH PERTH COUNSELLING SERVICES.

Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is one of the most widely used models in psychotherapy. Utilising this technique, therapists create a comfortable, non-judgmental environment by demonstrating congruence (genuineness), empathy, and unconditional positive regard toward their clients while using a non-directive approach. This technique ultimately aids individuals to find their own solutions to their problems. The therapist’s role is that of a facilitator and to provide a comfortable environment, rather than to drive and direct the client toward change.

During each psychotherapy session, your therapist will encourage you to discuss your experiences and express your feelings. Our therapists then empathically repeat emotionally significant statements back to you. Clients are then able to see things more clearly and as such arrive at a solution to their problem by examining their own thoughts. PCT has proven to be a vastly effective and popular treatment.

Clients attending psychotherapeutic sessions at SOUTH PERTH COUNSELLING SERVICES report a marked difference in their quality of life over time.