The Matrix of Emotional Needs


SMF: You have indicated that “negative behavior is an attempt to attain certain emotional needs.” Firstly, how can one thwart this negative behavior? Secondly, how should a person go about meeting his emotional needs?

Shimon: The answer to the first question is twofold. The first step is awareness. Once aware of the matrix of six emotional needs as delineated by Anthony Robbins (, many people spontaneously shift to serve their needs in a more effective and positive fashion. The second step is to actively consider alternative behaviors that effectively satisfy those deep emotional needs and create strategies — alone or with a coach — for achieving those new behavior patterns.

The answer to the second question is OUCH!! Should, could, and would are words that people of my genre avoid like poison. Perhaps the best answer to your question would be to describe the rules for a “well-formed outcome” offered by Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Any time you want something in life, you will maximize your success if you develop a plan based on the concept of a “well-formed outcome.” A well-formed outcome has the following properties:

It is stated in the positive and not as a negation. For example: “I want to stop screaming at my wife/husband” is not a well-formed goal. “I want to express respect and concern in my words and tone of voice whenever I speak to my spouse” is well-formed.

It is something in my control. For example: “I want my wife/husband to love me” is not well-formed; you cannot control your spouse’s feelings. “I want to act consistently in a fashion that makes it easier for my spouse to love me” is well-formed (although incomplete, as what that “fashion” entails needs to be stated in detail).

It is something you can measure. For example: “I want to be the best husband in the world” is not well-formed as there is no possible way to measure if you are meeting your goal. “I want to do at least three kind acts for my wife each day and I want to spend five minutes each night reviewing if I treated her properly that day” is a well-formed plan because it can be measured.

When someone wants to find new ways of meeting emotional needs, using the well-formed outcome as a template will greatly heighten their odds for success.

About Shimon Brodie

Rabbi Shimon Brodie, born and bred in the United States, has been learning and teaching Torah in Israel for close to thirty years. Currently serving as a mashgiach at Yeshivat Ruach Chaim, he maintains a practice as a life coach and marriage educator. Trained as a strategic interventionist, he places a great emphasis on creating new options and out-of-the-box solutions and achieving concrete change as quickly as possible. Perhaps one of the most unique facets of his approach to couples is that in many instances he works primarily with each partner separately. This approach allows him to welcome situations in which only one partner is interested in the coaching process. You can sample some of Rabbi Brodie's resources at and he can be contacted directly at
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