Harry Stack Sullivan: Energy and Interpersonal Relationships

Harry Stack Sullivan: Energy and Interpersonal Relationships

Needs for satisfaction include:

A wide range of Physical and emotional tensions and desires.

Physiological needs such as food or oxygen

Necessity for emotional contact with people such as tenderness and intimacy

Joyful exercise of capacities and functions such as play & self-expression

Infant-mother dyad is required to meet an infant’s needs for satisfactions

Needs for satisfactions undergo transformations over the course of development obtained through zones of interaction which is an exchange between a person and his environment; in an infant, these zones include oral, retinal, auditory, tactile, vestibular, kinaesthetic, genital and anal

Needs for security include:

Characterised by the experience of anxiety which is similar to “fear”

“Fear” is postulated to be caused by either violent disturbances in perceptions (such as loud noises or cold) or by imminent dangers to an infant’s existence (such as hunger or pain)

Security is defined to be a freedom from anxiety

Earliest discrimination of the experience of non-anxious and anxious states is termed “good-mother” and “bad-mother” respectively. The term “mother” is not to be confused with the actual mother

“Me-you” patterns which are formed from anticipated anxiety and threats to self esteem when interacting with others conjure fictitious image of self and a corresponding image of others

Infant learns to discriminate “signs” (such as, wrinkled brow, postural tensions, and so on) which is connected to anxious & non-anxious mother through a sequence of steps. Infant gradually realizes that both good & bad mother are a single person which assist the infant to discover that some of his behaviour makes mother more anxious while some are not. This happens at the age of one year & facilitated by the inception of language. Infant learns a complex set of process to control the mother’s anxiety as well as through the “empathic linkage” his own anxiety.

Self-consciousness starts with the discrimination between euphoria and anxiety. Euphoria refers to a complete absence of anxiety and tension


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About the Author

Piyali Chakrabarti

Piyali ChakrabartiPiyali is a Singapore Registered Psychologist (SRP) and an Approved Supervisor recognized by the Singapore Psychological Society. She completed her M.Phil in Medical & Social Psychology (specialization in Clinical Psychology) after completing her Masters in Applied Psychology. She is a Certified Choice Theory Reality Therapist (CTRT) through the William Glasser Institute of USA. She is also trained in Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Besides being a Psychologist at Scott Psychological Centre, Piyali continues to offer her services part-time at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore where she had previously served as Head of the Psychology Department. Her career in mental health and clinical psychology has given her experience in counseling and therapy with diverse populations across a wide range of institutional settings like hospitals, private practice, special education centers, and schools. Piyali is experienced with supporting clients from Singapore and abroad. Having resided in different countries, she is keenly aware of the challenges and potential adjustment issues that expatriates and their families may face when settling in Singapore. Her clinical interests lie in managing anxiety and depression as well as issues related to lifestyle and relationship changes for adults and children. Apart from providing direct clinical services to clients, Piyali is passionate about developing the competency of budding psychologists through providing clinical supervision. She is also involved in teaching Psychology courses, such as, Diploma & Master level. Recognizing the effectiveness of different intervention modalities, she also conducts workshops.

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