Harry likened the theory to an energy system in which energy existed in different forms as energy transformations (used to describe the real actions) or as tension (implying that there was potential for the occurrence of an action). The tensions split into two distinct classes of anxiety and needs as identified by Avis, M., Aitken, R., & Ferguson, S. (2012).
Needs is a descriptive term that can be used to characterize a person’s overall well-being or a craving attributed to specific zones or regions such as genitals or the mouth. In most cases, general needs exist as interpersonal or psychological. Interpersonal needs include feelings of affection such as intimacy and tenderness while psychological needs include essential necessities such as food and clothing as put forward by Draguns, J. G. (2012).
There exists a clear-cut distinction between needs and anxiety. Needs are conjunctive in nature which require the instigation of a specific act to fully satisfy it. On the other hand, anxiety takes a disjunctive form implying that consistent actions are not relevant for its satisfaction. For instance, infants gain their anxiety conscience through the association and emphatic relationship created and existing with their mothers. In the interpersonal theory, Sullivan deemed anxiety as the root destructive force that affects interpersonal relations as put forward by Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012). The absence of anxiety in an individual together with the other forms of tensions is euphoria.
Sullivan attributed dynamism to the various behavioral pattern exhibited by individuals characterizing them into distinct categories of malevolence, intimacy, lust and self-system as put forward by Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012). These characteristics form the essence and fundamental behaviors and feelings exhibited in the developmental stages of an individual.