Maslow’s hierarchy of needs refers to a theory of personal growth as set down by psychologist Abraham Maslow back in 1943. He determined this theory by studying people he perceived as successful in order to deduce their motivation. Today, the hierarchy has had a very strong influence on modern thought regarding personal care and development. Recently, it has been adopted as a model of recovery for those attending residential treatment programs and therapeutic boarding schools in order to get help for behavior modification, psychological disorders and addictions.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is generally described as a pyramid, with the greatest needs at the bottom, or the base:
- Psychological needsare the most basic of all needs and include things such as food, air and sleep. Unless these needs are met, an individual will not be able to focus on anything except basic survival.
- Security needsare next on the list and refers to anything that keeps an individual safe, including membership in a group or community that results in protection.
- Social needsare next because humans are social animals, by nature. This level of the hierarchy includes the need for love, affection and companionship.
- Esteemis the need to feel valued, both by others as well as themselves (self-esteem).
- Self-actualizationis at the very top of the pyramid and it refers to an individual’s ability to live up to his potential. This is only possible when all of the lower needs are satisfied.
The use of this hierarchy as part of a treatment plan includes the idea that once the most basic needs are achieved safely, the higher needs can be addressed and developed for long term healing.
Troubled teens often try to meet their psychological, security and social needs in the wrong way, leaving them unable to heal, grow or improve. Residential treatment centers are full time facilities because once teens have hit the point where they need to attend one, they require the round the clock therapeutic environment in order to make changes from the inside out. Residential treatment programs aim to meet the first three needs in a healthy way, so that troubled teens are free to work on their esteem and self-actualization. They do this through a combined approach of therapy, academics and healthy recreational activities to foster good communication skills and a sense of accomplishment.
Liahona Academy is a residential treatment program located in southern Utah. We specialize in helping troubled teen boys from throughout the country identify and address their issues through healthy and safe therapeutic options. For a free consultation, please contact us at 1-800-675-8101.