Despite the widespread acknowledgement that the needs of those affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland are complex and enduring, there is relatively little empirical scrutiny of these issues in the psychological literature. This is not to say that individuals' needs have been overlooked entirely in this context; rather, we argue that the underlying theoretical focus is somewhat variable. To this end, we have used illustrative examples from the social psychological literature, as well as policy documents, to examine the applicability of needs-based theoretical models in social psychology in this context, focusing particularly on 'affirmative' and 'certainty' needs. This review reveals some of the complexities that emerged with the application of needs-based theoretical models to the non-normative contexts of peace transition in Northern Ireland. This paper suggests some potential challenges to the static notion of victims' needs in this context and suggests a potential avenue for future research.