Lesson 1 of 7 - free your true Self to guide you

Traits of a High-nurturance (Functional) Organization

Are You Active in One Now?

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/basics/hi_n_org.htm

Updated  02-04-2015

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      This is one of several Lesson-1 checklists you can use to assess the impact of the toxic [wounds + unawareness] cycle on you and your family.

       If you or they are psychologically wounded and unaware, that will relentlessly degrade your lives until you choose to learn and heal. The checklists aim to offset false selves' protective drive to deny, repress, and minimize scary realities like major psychological wounds and what they mean.

      This worksheet assumes you're familiar with...


      Would you agree that people form groups to fill key personal and social needs? Nurturing means "filling needs." Organizations that consistently fill their members' key needs well can be called "high nurturance" (functional) People raised in high-nurturance families tend to work in high-nurturance organizations, and vice versa.

      If you work in a low nurturance setting (where people often don't get key needs met), that may indicate that you survived a low-nurturance (traumatic) childhood and have up to six significant psychological wounds.

      High-nurturance ("functional") organizations (including families) have common traits, compared to lower-nurturance organizations. I propose a summary of such traits, based on...

  • 17 years' experience working in various capacities in two major corporations,

  • 36 years' experience studying relationship and family health,

  • seven years' experience working on the Board of a large suburban non-profit mental-health center, and...

  • recovering from my own psychological wounds since 1986.

      This worksheet provides  summaries of...

  • 30 common traits of high-nurturance organizations, and of...

  • key options if you conclude you participate in a low-nurturance (dysfunctional) social setting.

      Before evaluating your work setting, take a...

  Status Check

      This self-improvement Web site is based on some key premises. See how they compare to what you believe. In the following, T = "true, I agree; F = "false, I disagree;" and ? = "I'm not sure, or it depends on _____."

      1)  Families exist to nurture: i.e. to fill the primary needs of their adults and kids. Some fill these needs (nurture) better than others. Thus any family - like yours - can be judged on a scale from "very low nurturance" (dysfunctional) to very high nurturance." (functional). (T  F  ?)

      This brief YouTube video proposes perspective on human needs. It mentions eight self-improvement lessons in this web site. I've reduced that to seven. The more you're aware of your and others' current needs, the more likely you are to fill (satisfy) them

      2)  People raised in low-nurturance childhoods usually...

  • develop protective false selves (disorganized personalities) to survive early-childhood trauma. False selves cause up to six psychological wounds in adults and kids, which cause mixes of typical behavioral symptoms. (T  F  ?); and such people...

  • are prone to make unwise relationship, work, and health choices - repeatedly (T  F  ?); and they...

  • often choose human-service occupations like education, law, counseling, clergy, medicine, customer service, consulting, etc.  (T  F  ?); and typical low-nurturance survivors...

  • tend to work in low-nurturance organizations which inhibit their recovering from any psychological wounds. (T  F  ?)        

      3)  Social organizations exist to fill the primary needs of (a) the people they serve, (b) their employees and volunteers, and (c) their regulators, funders, and donors. Any organization can be rated between very low-nurturance to very high, depending on how well they fill the primary needs of these two or three groups (in someone's opinion). (T  F  ?)

      4)  The nurturance-level of an organization is directly proportional to how wounded and unaware the group's policy-makers and leaders are. Leaders with... 
  • few psychological wounds,

  • adequate knowledge of relationship, communication, and organization skills, and...

  • accurate perceptions of members' and clients' or customers' primary needs...

...tend to evolve high-nurturance (effective, "functional") organizations. Conversely, significantly-wounded, unaware leaders tend to attract and choose wounded, unaware group-members and evolve low-nurturance ("dysfunctional") organizations. (T  F  ?)

      5)  Co-workers in low and high-nurturance organizations each have characteristic behaviors. Members of low and high-nurturance families have similar behaviors. (T  F  ?)

      More basic premises...

      6)  People in true (vs. pseudo) recovery from psychological wounds tend to (a) become dissatisfied with low-nurturance organizations, and they (b) seek higher-nurturance workplaces within their profession. Wounded people who aren't recovering tend to stay in low-nurturance settings despite major discomforts, or they change jobs frequently without gaining lasting satisfaction. (T  F  ?)

      7)  Right now I feel a mix of "light," grounded, alert, aware, alive, focused, calm, centered, purposeful, "up," confidant, strong, serene, realistic, grounded, compassionate, resilient, and clear. (T  F  ?) These are symptoms that your personality is currently guided by your true Self. If you don't feel some mix of these now, a false self is apt to distort your answers below.

      Pause, and notice what your subselves are thinking and feeling now...

      Now put these premises to work:

  • On a scale of 1 (very low nurturance) to 10 (very high nurturance), I'd rate my childhood family as a ___.

  • On the same 1-10 scale, I'd rate the nurturance-level of my current workplace or school as a ___.

  • On a scale of 1 (I'm very wounded psychologically) to 10 (I'm wholistically healthy and have no significant wounds), I'm a ___ .

      Next, use your beliefs to get a sense of the nurturance-level of your work setting. Set aside ~20" of undistracted time, and adopt the open mind of a student. Choose the attitude that anything you learn here can improve your and any dependents' lives.

 Common Traits of High-nurturance Organizations

       Premise: any organization that consistently fills the primary needs of its members or workers, clients, and funders well enough will have many of the traits below.

      Check the items below you feel clearly apply to your work or school setting, or write a number from 1 (no) to 10 (yes). Don't check an item unless you can check each sub-item ("_") without ambivalence.

      Take your time to reflect on each item. Note that these traits apply to classrooms, church congregations, neighborhoods, sports teams, and volunteer organizations if you change "co-worker" to "group member."

__ 1)  All co-workers are _ clear enough on their organization's main goals and policies, and _ respect them well enough. _ Leaders' behaviors consistently match and promote these goals and policies.

__ 2)  All co-workers feel their organization's executives, managers, and supervisors are effective enough in their job roles. This includes goal-setting, planning, delegating, evaluating, problem-solving, deciding, supporting, coaching, coordinating, confronting, and appreciating.

__ 3)  All co-workers feel steady personal _ pride in and _ concern for _ themselves, _ each other, and _ the organization.

__ 4)  All co-workers feel _ genuine self-respect and _ respect the equal rights and worth of each other enough, despite personal differences.

__ 5)  Each co-worker knows clearly _ who they work for in the organization, _ what their main job responsibilities are, and _ how their performance is evaluated.

__ 6)  Each co-worker usually feels _ their job is worthwhile enough, _ satisfying enough, and _ uses their talents and abilities well enough.

__ 7)  Within limits, professional "mistakes" and "failures" are usually seen as important chances to grow, vs. reasons to blame, ridicule, and shame.

__ 8)  Co-workers usually feel they're _ well trained enough and _ have enough resources to perform the roles they've accepted.

__ 9)  All co-workers feel that written and verbal communication among all levels of the organization is effective enough.

__ 10)  Co-workers steadily share a sense of teamwork and common purpose, vs. jealousy, antagonism, resentments, and insecurities.

_ 11)  All co-workers are effectively coached to  do win-win problem-solving, vs. arguing, fighting, blaming, defending, and/or avoiding.

_ 12)  Co-workers are _ encouraged to propose responsible improvements to the organization, and _ are recognized well enough for doing so.

_ 13)  Co-workers share a high level of _ self and _ mutual trust. This promotes inner and mutual honesty; there are no major secrets, denials, or taboos (e.g. "We don't talk about that!")

_ 14)  When significant organizational changes occur, all co-workers feel they _ got enough notice, _ understand the changes and how they'll affect them, and _ have had enough opportunity to ask questions of, or make suggestions to, appropriate people.

_ 15)  Co-workers feel they have adequate chances to discuss and resolve confusions and conflicts over money, fringe benefits, and working conditions.

      Recall - these are common traits of a high-nurturance (functional) organization.

_ 16)  All co-workers are comfortable enough with the organization's boundaries between professional and personal life.

_ 17)  Co-workers are encouraged to balance work, rest, and play, and see all three as equally valuable to their job performance and their organization's success.

_ 18)  Managers and workers generally respect each other as equally-valuable people and professionals, rather than feeling antagonistic, biased, or competitive.

_ 19)  Co-workers generally feel the management balances the needs of _ employees or members, _ clients, and _ funders well enough.

_ 20)  Co-workers _ feel safe in asking for help in resolving local problems, and _ usually do so, rather than being overwhelmed or ineffective.

_ 21)  Co-workers share realistic (vs. idealistic) optimism and hopes; A general spirit of "Let's try!" and "I / You / we can!" prevails.

_ 22)  All levels of co-workers often exchange genuine, spontaneous, encouragements, affirmations, and appreciations (praise).

_ 23)  Co-workers are trained and encouraged to_ accurately assess clients' primary (vs. surface) needs, and _ factor those into the services that they provide.

_ 24)  Co-workers _ understand what they need to do to advance in the organization and profession, and feel _ encouraged enough to grow personally and professionally

_ 25)  All co-workers value _ learning and _ constructive change, vs. fearing, resisting, avoiding, or minimizing them.

_ 26)  Co-workers share genuine interest in how their organization affects the local _ community and _ ecological environments, and are _ proactive in improving these, within reason.

_ 27)  The organization and its leader/s, services, and employees are well respected in local and professional communities.

_ 28)  Co-workers on all levels display most of these high-nurturance behaviors relative to their workplace, most of the time.

_ 29)  Co-workers _ share a spirit of balanced service to themselves, each other, and other living things; and _ appreciate those who serve them.

_ 30)  Managers and supervisors _ receive adequate training and coaching on how to be effective leaders, and _ they get enough constructive feedback on their abilities.

_ 31)  (add your own traits)


_ 32)


      Note your reaction to what you just read...

  • I feel that together, these traits are a reliable-enough way to judge the nurturance-level or wholistic health of any organization or group. (T  F  ?)

  • From 1 (very low) to 10 (very high), I'd rate the nurturance-level of the organization I work or study in as a ___.

  • I feel the odds that I have inherited significant psychological wounds are about ___ %.

  • My true Self is responding to these items now. (T  F  ?)

Now What?

       This and several related worksheets exist to help you assess whether you have significant psychological wounds that are stressing your life and jeopardizing any dependent kids. Recall why you read this, and then consider these options...

Do nothing with these results, or postpone acting on them;

Continue studying Lesson 1, including assessing yourself for psychological wounds;

Use this article on traits of a high-nurturance family to gain perspective on your childhood and current home/s and families.

Read and reflect on these ideas on healthy and toxic spiritual and religious beliefs, churches, and spiritual or religious communities and denominations;

Show this worksheet to someone else (e.g. co-workers), and/or discuss the concepts and results with them;

Identify the primary needs you wish to fill by working or studying in your present organization/s. Then decide how well each need is me currently (not met > partially met > totally met).

If too many needs aren't filled well enough, identify specifically why you're participating in this organization.

Use this companion worksheet about behavioral traits of members of high-nurturance ("functional") organizations to widen your perspective; and/or...

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - what are you aware of now? What did you just learn?


      This is one of several online worksheets designed to help you test for early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma) and resulting psychological wounds. It offers 30 traits to help measure the nurturance-level ("functionality") of any social group or organization. This worksheet is based on the premises that...

  • human organizations exist to nurture - i.e. to fill members' primary needs;

  • high-nurturance (functional) organizations have observable traits, and...

  • psychologically-wounded people unconsciously seek and create low-nurturance settings that replicate their dysfunctional childhood families.

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