A simple yet powerful idea
In the late 1990s a psychologist and psychotherapist based in London noted that there were 200 types of psychological therapy then available. They decided it was time to look at the whole field afresh. For their starting point they asked the most basic question they could possibly ask about people. That question was,
“what is a human being?”
to which the most fundamental answer they could find was:
“a human being is an organism”
They noted that all living organisms have a basic strategy for surviving, growing and passing on their genes to the next generation. They all use their resources, to meet their needs in their environment.
The simple example of a plant shows us how this works. Each plant has needs of which the most obvious are light, air, water, and soil. To meet its needs each plant has resources such as its amazing ability to create its energy supply and structure from light, air and water. A successful gardener knows how to create a suitable environment for each type of plant to ensure its needs are met, so that it can thrive.
To give another example, a good zookeeper knows that for the animals in her care to thrive, she must clearly understand what that animal needs, and what kind of environment will enable it to develop all its resources. If she doesn’t do this, the animals will become distressed and sick.
When we understand, clearly and simply, what our actual innate needs and resources are, and how to maintain environments in which we can meet and develop them, we are, like the zookeeper or gardener, on the right track to health and wellbeing.