American psychologist Henry Murray (1893-1988) described needs as a, “potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances” (1938). Human needs are the source of intrinsic motivation for all behavior and social interaction. We all have needs that we strive to satisfy in a variety of ways based on a hierarchy of favorite needs. If the conditions are right, and an individual’s dominant need does get met, they are poised for growth and the exploration of how they can seek greater levels of self-actualization. In order for this to happen, social and relationship systems must be responsive to these needs. The result of not having your dominant need met or recognized causes instability and insecurity leading to adaptive and self protective behaviours and an over reliance on extrinsic motivation.
The Striving Styles System offers an approach to needs satisfaction by making it easy to identify dominant needs. It is based on the theory that each of us has an intrinsic or dominant need that must be met in order for us to self-actualize and we use our emotional energy to get that need met. These needs are hard-wired into the brain and set at the time of birth. The give form to the personality and the way one interacts with the world.
There are eight dominant needs and patterns of behavior that are easily identifiable as Striving Styles. They have distinct patterns of self-actualizing and self-protective behaviours. The System recognizes that there are various things that interfere with recognizing and meeting our dominant need. If we are deprived of the conditions that support the identifying and meeting of our needs, we continue to survive, but we will not succeed in meeting our full potential.
Not all behaviour is predictable. The Striving Styles System is useful in laying the groundwork for understand certain things about yourself that you would not normally understand. For example, understanding what your dominant need is in relationships vs. what you were conditioned to believe they were can help you break dysfunctional patterns in relationships.
The Striving Styles System and needs satisfaction approach to self-actualizing take into account the complexity and diversity of personalities and the unrelenting nature of human needs to be met. Within this system, a person’s dominant need cannot be compromised as it is that need which provides the foundation for security. The more aware we are of our dominant need and how to get the need met, the less likely we are to be totally dependent on the unconscious processes that occur when we do not have this information.
Our dominant need is non-negotiable. If we do not get it met, we don’t feel safe and become self-protective. There are other needs that are negotiable and not as connected to survival and whether they are met are not are of little consequence. For example, a child with a dominant need for security has a low need for recognition. It does not matter to them whether or not they are selected for a role in the school play. However, that same child will feel frightened and anxious if their routine is disrupted.
Development and self-actualization occur when we meet our dominant need and integrate meeting other needs as well. It also occurs when we are able to suspend getting our dominant need met and are able to recognize that it creates anxiety, but we build tolerance to the feeling instead of shutting down our development so that we don’t feel.
Anne Dranitsaris, PhD

Author's Bio: 

The Visionary Striving Style

Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D, brings a lifetime of study, “psychological savvy” and hands-on clinical experience to helping people become who they are meant to be. Her interest in creating mental health, coupled with her interest in personality systems and the dynamics of human behavior, has influenced the development of the Striving Styles Personality System.

Holistic Approach to Learning

Driven by a vision for a holistic approach to emotional and physical health, Anne chose educational pursuits that aligned with her passion. At the same time, she studied at mainstream universities such as Ryerson (Business Management), University of Toronto (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Religious Studies) and ADR Institute of Ontario (Alternate Dispute Resolution). Anne looked for training institutes that would help her integrate the cognitive, emotional and physical approaches to healing the mind and body. This education included: receiving her degree as a Registered Massage Therapist; graduating from the International School for Spiritual Sciences (Montreal); psychotherapy certification from the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy (D.C.T.P); studies at the Masterson Institute for Disorders of the Self (New York); and a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Counseling from the Open International University for Complementary Medicine (WHO).

Committed to lifelong learning, Anne has completed postgraduate programs in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Spiritual Self-Schema Development, Brain and Behavior and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i), and she has been a long-time follower of the work of Carl Jung. Anne continues to stay educated and informed about recent advances in neuroplasticity, brain development, mindfulness and social intelligence.

Executive Coaching & Corporate Therapy

Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools to the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm. Anne began using the title of corporate therapist to indicate the depth with which she worked with leaders and teams developing emotional intelligence, behavioral competence and relationship skills in organizations. She has also used her unique approach to work through dysfunctional relationships, partnerships, teams and boards.

Prior to starting SKE, Anne built several successful companies including Sage Developmental Resources, an organizational consulting firm focused on behavioral alignment, and the Centre for Mindful Therapies, which offered customized Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programs to organizations and individuals. In addition, she worked extensively with Heather on Several global leadership development initiatives for Caliber's clients, providing both individuals coaching and facilitating high performance team development at the executive and senior management levels.

Sought After Writer

A prolific and frequently cited writer on the impact of behavior, emotional intelligence and personality styles in the workplace, Anne has written a series of books on personality type based on Jung’s theory of Psychological Type. The Personality Profile Series© books are used to help individuals in coaching and counseling to understand themselves, their environment, their partners, and their children. Anne's latest series of books, The Jung Typology Series©, focuses on understanding the impact of personality type on employees, teams and leaders.

Anne has been featured in the media — on radio and on television — as well as in a wide range of national and international publications including USA Today, The New York Post, Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, The Globe and Mail and Additionally, her work has appeared in three issues of “O” Magazine within the past year, with her article on Striving Styles being included in the “O” Annual as one of the year’s top articles. She has recently been contracted to write for an upcoming issue of “O”.