At the foundation of the Humanistic Needs Approach (HNA) are Acute Needs – needs whose absence or insecurity pose a direct threat to our survival. Our Acute Needs include (though may not be limited to) our ability to breathe, freedom from imminent threat of life or limb threatening injury or physical violence, and sufficient clothing and/or shelter to survive environmental hazards.
Insecurity or lack of an Acute Need being satisfied can – at best- only be sustained for minutes. Because of the time pressure of the Acute Needs we cannot rely on professional first responders or trained bystanders to intervene if we are threatened. Hence we need to develop the skills within ourselves and our charges to meet these risks head on.
What kinds of things do you need to know then?
You have to know how to swim. The earth is about 71% water. Natural and manmade water features, streams, cheeks, wetlands, and pools are all around us. Fear and lack of competency in the water pose a grave threat. The response? People need to be taught how to remain calm in the water. You don’t need to be setting records or competing in triathlons, but you MUST know how to float, how to breathe, and how to keep yourself calm in the water.
First Aid & CPR. The human brain begins to suffer irreversible brain damage after four to six minutes without oxygen. Since the invention of antibiotics and sanitation most combat deaths of US military personnel has been due to shock and blood loss due to a gunshot wound to an extremity. About 400,000 Emergency Room visits occur each year do to tool usage, people suffer devastating injuries while riding ATVs and snowmobiles, and we (in the US) live in a nation with over 400 million firearms. People get hurt. Some accidentally, some as victims of intentional acts. Each of us ought to have the skill needed to provide basic first aid to ourselves and the people around us.
Physical Security. Violence happens everywhere and in every culture. In some extant hunter/gatherer groups that violence is only used against members of other tribes, but there is still violence. Providing for your physical security needs to take three functions into consideration: Avoidance, Deescalation, and Defense. If we can avoid a potentially violent encounter this is the optimal way of ensuring that our Acute Need for security of life and limb is preserved. If we cannot completely avoid a threat we need to be competent in deescalation to reduce the severity of any potentially violent encounter. Finally, if violence cannot be avoided or deescalated we must have the skills to defend ourselves using both unarmed and armed defensive tactics.
Protecting yourself against the environment.
Developing these abilities is essential in securing our Acute Needs.