Seven Spiritual Needs

Based on more than 30 years of psychological counseling and pastoral care, Howard Clinebell believes that humans have seven spiritual hungers in common:

  1. All people need to experience regularly the healing and empowerment of love - from others, self, and an ultimate source.
  2. Everyone needs to experience renewing times of transcendence - moments that expand us beyond the immediate sensory spheres.
  3. Everybody needs vital beliefs that give some sense of meaning and hope the midst of losses, tragedies, and failures.
  4. Every person needs to have values, priorities, and life commitments - usually centered in issues of justice, integrity, and love - that guide us in personally and socially responsible living.
  5. Each human being needs to discover and develop their inner wisdom, creativity and love of their unique transpersonal/spiritual self.
  6. All people need a deepening awareness of oneness with other people and with the natural world, the wonderful web of all living things.
  7. Every human being needs spiritual resources to help heal the painful wounds of grief, guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, self-rejection, and shame. We also need spiritual resources to deepen our experiences of trust, self-esteem, hope, joy and love of life.

Clinebell feels that everybody must pay attention to these needs to feel whole and fulfilled, making spirituality central to human well-being (Clinebell, 1992).

Readers who feel uncomfortable with the words spiritual or spirituality can substitute their own words - perhaps words like connection or love or meaning.

Do you recognize any of these spiritual needs in yourself?