Reconnecting Self and Other

Recognizing and Facilitating the Human Need to Belong as a Path to Fostering Presencing Mastery


  • Ursula Versteegen Author



presencing, presencing mastery, need to belong, conductive learning environments, wellbeing


This article explores presencing mastery from the perspective of serving a human need that is universally shared: the need to belong. Starting from a personal experience I will set the context for presencing moving beyond a situational or systemic interventionist activity towards cultivating deeper causes and conditions of wellbeing. To then develop an understanding of presencing beyond its current framing in Theory U, I will draw on the fundamental human need to belong (Baumeister & Leary 1995). By rooting advances in presencing in this foundational aspect of human nature, I follow a thread of developing two interdependent capacities of presencing mastery. One, cultivating awareness and compassion in one’s inner world to deepen understanding of how the need to belong shapes our way of being in the world. Second, as self-understanding of one’s own nature gradually deepens inwardly, develop the skillful means to create conducive learning environments reflective of the human need to belong. These learning environments prototype the causes and conditions of satisfying the need to belong as a way of being, shifting our experience of separation towards realizing connectedness as a source of wellbeing. I will close by pointing to Gross National Happiness as a holistic societal development model integrating these two capacities towards the well-being of all. 

Author Biography

  • Ursula Versteegen

    URSULA VERSTEEGEN, Ph.D. is an action researcher and presencing practitioner. She is a co-founder and research fellow of the Presencing Institute and a senior program advisor and trainer at the Eurasia Learning Institute for Happiness and Wellbeing. Ursula’s action research interest is the interdependence between awareness-based inner transformation and system-wide social renewal by bringing together perspectives of Eastern and Western psychology. Her special interest is to design multistakeholder learning environments and social processes that prototype inclusive and compassionate societies. 




How to Cite

Reconnecting Self and Other: Recognizing and Facilitating the Human Need to Belong as a Path to Fostering Presencing Mastery. (2024). International Journal of Presencing Leadership & Coaching, 1(1), 153-173.