Talking About What We Need With Others

Talking About What We Need With Others

Amy V. Smith, MS Licensed Mental Health Counselor Registered Play Therapist

As a counselor I often ask clients what they need or want to be successful day to day. In session clients often struggle to share or even know what they need when asked.  Sometimes they say “I don’t really think about my needs”. Oftentimes the needs of others seem more important than their own. It’s so important to know what we need as individuals so we can work to ensure those needs are being met. If we are not clear on what we need, then we can’t ask others to help support us in getting those needs met. 

In working with teen I like to use a my needs questionnaire. I find the form helps me dig deeper into what they are needing and since its a questionnaire it helps guide them on what needs might look like. I find this process so valuable, I though I would share it here. This is a great exercise to do with your child, teen, yourself or your partner. You might need to change some of the items based on who you choose to complete this with. 

For example you might change “kind words from a parent” to “kind words from my wife” or “teachers who care about me” to “a boss who values my work”. The possibilities are endless. 

In doing this exercise I also encourage you to practice your listening skills. It’s important for the person to feel this conversation is a safe space without judgment. Believe me, if your teen says “kind words from mom” and you lose your cool this conversation will be over. Respond with curiosity “tell me more about what kind words you would like to hear from me” or “I really appreciate you sharing that with me” or “I understand I say harsh things from time to time and I would like to work on that”. Remember none of us are perfect so you might hear some hard things. That’s ok!! This is an opportunity to have self compassion and do some of your own work. If you approach this conversation with curiosity and create a place of safety the person will be more willing to share their needs with you going forward. 

I hope you enjoy getting to know the needs of the person you choose to complete this with. Heck, do it with yourself, you might be surprised to see how many needs you have that are being met and that are not. If you are finding it hard to have deeper conversations with the people in your life, a counselor can help. We have a great team at Life Skills Resource Group who would be willing to help you on the journey.  Feel free to give the office a call for a free phone consultation at 407-355-7378


My Needs 

Check anything from the list that you feel you need. 

Add an X for a need that is being met currently Add an O for a need that is not being met but you would like to be

You may also add anything you feel you need that is not on the list. Discuss with the person you are doing this exercise with. Explain why you selected the need. Share how its being met if it is or how you would like it to be met if it is not. 

  1. ______ someone to say “I care about you”
  2. ______ attention 
  3. ______ support in a personal dilemma
  4. ______ a hug
  5. ______ kinds words 
  6. ______ space 
  7. ______ privacy at home 
  8. ______ peace and quite 
  9. ______ less or no criticism from others 
  10. _____ more contact with people 
  11. _____ order 
  12. _____ direction 
  13. _____ kind words from my mom
  14. _____ kind words from my dad
  15. _____ a better relationship with a step parent
  16. _____ peace with a sibling or siblings 
  17. _____ a good nights sleep
  18. _____ a decent meal
  19. _____ a feeling of success 
  20. _____ less stress
  21. _____ fewer demands of my time, more time to myself 
  22. _____ fewer pieces in my complicated life 
  23. _____ less chaos around me 
  24. _____ less arguing with someone else 
  25. _____ less arguing at home by others 
  26. _____ a feeling of hope that things will improve 
  27. _____ someone to listen 
  28. _____ a conversation that doesn’t get interrupted
  29. _____ some to love
  30. _____ someone to love me 
  31. _____ something to keep me busy
  32. _____ something to relieve boredom 
  33. _____ teachers who care about me
  34. _____ a different teaching style in a teacher 
  35. _____ approval 
  36. _____ teachers who can appreciate that I am going through a tough time right now
  37. _____ respect from my peers 
  38. _____ to lead 
  39. _____ to be led 
  40. _____ compassion to self 
  41. _____ ____________________________

Amy Smith