The Five Basic Needs According to the NARM

According to the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM), five basic needs cause imbalances in your physical and mental well-being if they aren't covered.
The Five Basic Needs According to the NARM

Last update: 12 May, 2020

Every person must cover their basic needs. For instance, eating every day is one of them, as well as having friends to trust and a job that allows you to pay your bills. However, according to NARM, you must also pay attention to five basic needs.

The acronym NARM refers to a neuro-affective model. It’s extensively detailed by its founder, Dr. Laurence Heller, in the book Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-regulation, Self-image, and the Capacity for Relationship. If you don’t meet these basic needs, there’ll be an imbalance that might manifest in the form of tension or disease.

The five basic needs in the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM)

Continue reading to discover the five basic needs according to the NARM, their definition, and what can happen if you don’t cover them. Perhaps you’ll even recognize what you’re lacking and take action to put an end to any discomfort you may be feeling at this time.

1. Connection

Have you ever felt disconnected from your group of friends? Did you believe that you should’ve been born in another era so you could feel that connection with the world around you? This may indicate that you’re not meeting the first of your five basic needs.

When this happens, you may not be able to connect with your body and emotions. Thus, this results in a lack of connection with other people’s emotions. In addition, you may either feel like a burden or believe that you don’t need anyone. This will significantly affect your relationships. Feeling that you belong in the world is essential for your well-being.

A network of plastic people.

2. Attunement

This second basic need, according to the NARM, could be mistaken with the previous one. This is because they’re linked. However, attunement refers to the ability to recognize your own needs to isolate the pattern and intuit them in other people.

This way, you can meet other people’s needs with empathy and respect. If you don’t, you’ll feel empty, dissatisfied, and even worthless. Also, you may become complacent in some cases so that others meet your need for feeling essential.

3. Trust

Trust, not only in yourself but in others, is the key to avoid developing dependent relationships that lead to distress. Although you always depend on others in some way, there are differences between healthy and unhealthy dependency.

For this reason, surrounding ourselves with non-toxic people you can relate to in a healthy way will keep you from feeling small and betrayed. If you don’t, you may follow a tendency to take advantage of others.

4. Autonomy

This fourth basic need is closely related to our previous explanation of dependency. Do you fear abandonment? Are you unable to be assertive out of fear or guilt?

If you answered “yes” to the previous questions, then it’s very likely that you’re not adequately covering this basic need. Being able to say what you think and feel and knowing how to set limits in your relationships are very important and allow you to achieve a balance. Otherwise, you may become resentful and concerned about disappointing others.

A woman listening intently to another.

5. Love-sexuality, one of the five basic needs

Feeling loved by others is very important. When you don’t cover this need, you may feel lonely and rejected. Thus, don’t let your relationships with others dictate how good you feel about yourself. This is crucial for any healthy relationship.

Likewise, you can’t neglect your sexuality. If you don’t, you’ll feel rejected and hurt and even believe there’s something wrong with you. On the other hand, you could do the opposite and fill yourself with pride. You may reject others first out of a strong belief that you’re perfect and that, therefore, nobody deserves you.

As you can see, meeting the five basic needs is important for a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Have you already identified the needs you’re not meeting? Don’t hesitate to put yourself in the hands of a professional if you can’t do it!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Heller, L. (2012). Curar el trauma del desarrollo.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.