Category Archives: Psychology

The Human Givens Conference 2007

human givens conference

It has been 10 years since the term ‘human givens’ was first used, and last weekend, on the 19th-20th of May, the third Human Givens Conference, attended by over 165 delegates, was held in Sunningdale Park near Ascot.

The event was a huge success, and we thank everyone who attended for making it the inspiring and entertaining weekend it was.

For those who were unable to attend, or for those who read this blog and would like to see some of the people and organisations who are implementing the human givens approach with great success into the ‘real world’, here is a short summary (a longer one is being prepared for the next HGI Newsletter for professional members of the institute) of all our speakers over the two days, complete with photos!

hartlepool mind

First up, after an introduction from Pat Williams, were Iain Caldwell and Julian Penton from Hartlepool MIND (website coming soon!), where they have had fantastic results (which you can read an article about here) using a human givens approach ‘recovery model’ with members of the community of Hartlepool who have mental health problems. They reported back on the progress of their organisation, gave some insight on how they got government funding, and proposed some new plans for getting similar projects going in other areas of the country.

david grist

Next was David Grist, the youngest member of the team working at The SPACE, a residential therapeutic community for children aged between 8 and 19 years. He gave a case study of how he was able to creatively tackle the problems of a boy with difficulties during a game of Badminton, using simple human givens therapeutic principals. Read more about the fantastic work being done at The SPACE here.

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Bystander Intervention

Today we have a guest blog post from Fiona, a reader from New Zealand who has written about the psychological research into the phenomenon of bystander intervention and apathy. It’s fascinating how many different approaches there are to this issue, which was kicked off by the infamous death of Kitty Genovese.

kitty genovese

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Catherine ‘Kitty’ Genovese’s untimely and gruesome death in 1964 hardly caused a ripple in the media of the day. Reported only in a small column of the New York Times, it was purely through a conversational misunderstanding between New York city police commissioner, Fredrick Lussen and journalist Abe Rosenthal that lead to further examination of the Genovese case. What was unusual about Ms. Genovese’s death was that it had been prolonged, loud, and witnessed. It was not witnessed by just one or two people, an astonishing thirty-eight of Ms. Genovese’s neighbours heard her screams and pleas for help over the thirty five minutes it took for her attacker to repeatedly stab her, sexually assault her, then leave her to die. Not one of these thirty-eight people made any attempt whatsoever to assist Ms. Genovese, not aiding her physically, or even contacting police until it was too late.

The horrific nature of this event, not just the torturous murder of a young woman returning home from work, but also the apparent cruel paralysis that gripped the bystanders, sparked an important series of experiments in social psychology. Psychologists sought to understand and predict the phenomena that came to be known as bystander intervention. There are various theories as to what causal influences corroborate to create bystander intervention (or nonintervention). Some of these have included social-cognitive theories while others have focused on perception of self by others . There has been discussion emphasizing that each theory has arisen in a specific historical and social climate that has profoundly influenced them . As well as those who are critical of the ‘mechanical and causal’ approach these theories have taken. Contemporary neurobiological theory and the Human Givens approach can also be applied to expound and perhaps negate bystander intervention.

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Blairwatch interviews Adam Curtis

Go here to read the Blairwatch interview Adam Curtis about his new series, The Trap: what happened to our dreams of freedom.

“What I’m trying to do in these films is show that behind the way you think about yourself and the way those who govern you think about you, there are ideas. There are specific ideologies… The world we experience both personally and politically today is not the natural order. Many people think “oh this is it, we got there” because there aren’t alternatives. What I’m trying to say is “No, hang on. The way we think, the way we feel and the way those who govern us think and feel come from very specific ideologies”

The post has generated some very interesting comments..

If you’re looking for Ivan Tyrrell’s interview with Adam Curtis about his previous series, The Century of the Self then click here!

Posted by: Eleanor

Vote for your favourite psychology study!

Over at PsyBlog, Jeremy Dean has finished his compliation of top ten influential psychology studies. Some are very well known like Milgram’s infamous obedience study, but some I’d never heard of!

My favourite is still this one, a neat little study on how cognitions can greatly influence emotion in which Schachter & Singer suggest that genuine excitedness and euphoria can be induced by ‘experimental trickery’.

laugh

Vote for your favourite here.

Posted by: Eleanor

Do you think we deserve effective psychotherapy in the NHS?

I’ve been very helpfully informed about a petition (which is running until 3rd March 2007) on the Government’s website which anyone interested in effective therapy should sign. Pass this around if you agree and get as many signatures as possible

The motion is this:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The proposal by Lord Layard to increase by 10,000 the number of CBT therapists in the NHS ignores the benefits to people of other forms of therapy. Relationship based therapy, such as the Person Centred Approach, and others, have a proven record of helping to alleviate distress and to change lives.

‘We Need To Talk’ , a July 2006 report into NHS availability of mental health treatment supported by MIND, The Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, TheSainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Young Minds highlights the need for more organisation and consideration of therapies other than CBT in this area.

They recommend that “The Department of Health should investigate the current bias in research priorities and address it by supporting more research into psychological therapies.”

The more signatures this petition gets before 3rd March 2007 so it receives the Priministerial attention it deserves, the better.

Sign the petition here.

Posted by: Eleanor

Common Ground: diplomacy and the human givens

jerusalem

If you are interested in the Middle East conflict, I’ve just put up a fascinating article from a 2006 issue of the Human Givens Journal by John Bell.

He is the Middle East Director for Search for Common Ground and a founding member of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and suggests that only a ‘radically different, innate needs-based approach to conflict resolution can bring a possibility of peace to the Middle East’.

“DIPLOMATIC intervention seems, in this day and age, to be less and less effective as an instrument of managing frictions and conflicts between states. This is particularly so in the Middle East, where venture after diplomatic venture has failed; indeed, they have possibly even exacerbated the troubles there.

At its core, the Middle East conflict speaks to the ancient human need to protect against outside threat. The irony is that the methods the region has developed to do so now propagate those threats by blurring the need for security with other unidentified essential needs, no longer meeting any of them clearly and, as a result, exacerbating problems with outsiders. If diplomacy is to offer any useful answers, it needs a fresh approach and a clear understanding of human needs, how they manifest and how to meet them…” read more

Posted by: Eleanor

The Dreamcatcher – New Scientist interview with Joe Griffin

Here is an oldish interview with Joe Griffin answering questions on REM sleep, depression, psychosis, trauma, conflict and cult behaviour, published in New Scientist in April 2003:

JOE GRIFFINWe live in mad times. The WHO predicts depression will soon rank second in the global disease burden, suicide rates are rising, and the trauma caused by war, conflict or domestic abuse is everywhere. The toll is horrific: mental illness costs Britain alone £32 billion a year. And people looking for therapy face a confusing tower of psychobabble, with 400-plus often warring schools of thought. Enter JOE GRIFFIN, who says there is a way to lift depression in a day, and told BARBARA KISER he can prove it.

How can you deal with serious depression in just a day?

The important thing is to know how depression is manufactured in the brain. Once you understand that, you can correct the maladaptive cycle incredibly fast. For 40 years it’s been known that depressed people have excessive REM sleep. They dream far more than healthy people. What we realised – and proved – is that the negative introspection, or ruminations, that depressed people engage in actually causes the excessive dreaming. So depression is being generated on a 24-hour cycle and we can make a difference within 24 hours to how a person feels.

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Creating healthy environments in psychiatric wards

no straight jackets

No straight jackets? 

Here’s a cheerful feature from The Guardian about a new male psychiatric ward in South London called The Tarn.  Everyone working at the centre recognises the importance of creating a safe, responsible, stimulating and status rich environment for the severely unstable and often violent men who live there – and the article reports on their very positive results:

 “Francis Adzinku, the trust’s acute and crisis services manager, insists that he and his colleagues developed their distinctive approach in former, very rundown wards, and that it is much more about attitudes and principles.

“If you prepare an environment where you think people are going to throw things around, then they come prepared to do that,” Adzinku says. “But if you put people in an environment where they feel comfortable, where it is clean and where there are nice things to look at, the effect can be wonderful. The philosophy is to have, as much as possible, an ideal environment, and we have a very good multi-disciplinary team who have a clear idea of the philosophy they are working with.” read the article

Posted by: Eleanor

The fatal consequences of not treating PTSD

The almost unbearable tragedy reported today of the former soldier David Bradley, who had not been detraumatised from the experience of serving in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Northern Ireland (discharged in 1995), and who killed four members of his family with a pistol before giving himself up to police – reminds me of a short but poignant case study published in the Human Givens Journal in 2003 about a Falklands War veteran who had lived with severe PTSD for over 20 years until being detraumatised in one session using the rewind technique. He describes his experience:

Ken is a 49 year old Falklands veteran who, between March and June 1982, experienced three terrifying events. A missile hit HMS Antelope, but did not immediately explode. Twenty four hours later, it exploded. Ken had to pull bodies out of the water as he was helping to get his colleagues off the ship.

Ken rated his wellbeing, as a result of these events, as 5 out of a possible 50. He described his life before rewind: “I don’t go to parties because of the noise. I know the balloons will bang. I pre-empt by ducking under a table. I start to sweat; it’s sheer terror for me — it takes me back to the war. I vomit — people think I’m drunk or on drugs. I feel I am back on board; I’m swaying.

“I have lain on the bathroom floor for hours because I feel so physically sick. For days I am on edge, sometimes unable to walk. I avoid sleep because of the nightmares and, after several days, I get hallucinations, I sit in the flat in total darkness for days, curtains drawn. I imagine the bus going by is a jet. The smell of fuel oil, ‘burnt pork’ makes me feel sick. I’m sweating profusely but I am cold and shaking, in a state of mental confusion.

“I was like a zombie, a robot. I saw my GP in 1983, after leaving the navy. I saw a psychiatrist for a year. It did not help; it was a waste of time. I have no recollection of what they said, apart from being told I was a manic-depressive. Medication did not stop the nightmares. I have been prescribed Valium, Mogadon, antidepressants and I’ve been given antipsychotic drugs, and they did not help.”

Seven to 10 days after rewind, he said, “The memories don’t seem to bother me anymore. I’m not fearful. I’m unsure — it’s like bereavement. I’ve had 20 years of a wasted life. It’s like coming in to the light. I felt jolly, joking and then — but what am I going to ‘do with it’? I feel all over the place. I feel like I’m born again at 50.”

Three to six months later, he commented, “I feel my face has changed. The light has come on from within; it’s a spiritual light. I am more relaxed, more at peace. I think I am content. I have laughed more in the last weeks than the last 20 years. I sleep much better; I eat well; I can relax. I feel much more in control. This has been life changing for me — no more flashbacks or nightmares; it was like a prison sentence. My partner has noticed the difference in me. She likes what she sees.”source

The surviving family of David Bradley released a statement saying “My sister and I try to cope with this by trying to believe it was not David who did this unspeakable crime but some other entity that slowly took him away from reality and into some other dark world.”

PTSD indeed strips away reality, leaving suffered ‘trapped’ in a world of heightened emotional arousal, so Bradley was in ‘some other dark world’, and the charges against him were rightly dropped under grounds of diminished responsibility due to’ mental illness’.

It breaks my heart to read about the terrible consequences that can arise from people not being effectively detraumatised after horrific experiences (not just soldiers) – so if you know anyone suffering from PTSD or panic attacks please read this article published in the Human Givens Journal (2005) which decribes how the rewind technique, eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR), and emotional freedom therapy EFT or ‘tapping’) share a common mechanism that explains their often miraculous effects on traumatised people, and also explains why the rewind technique in particular is taught to and used by human givens therapists to great effect.

Posted by: Eleanor

A human givens team is to train trauma counsellors in Rwanda

The inter-tribal genocide in 1994 left a huge legacy of trauma in the population of Rwanda.  People who suffered or witnessed terrible events may still be living in the same village as those who inflicted these horrors.  Dealing with the personal memories of these traumas is vital for the future wellbeing of both the individuals concerned and the communities they live in.

Moved by the plight of the Rwandans, two MindFields College graduates, Pamela Woodford and Maarit Brooks, have decided to do something to help and on 24th May they will be travelling to Rwanda to deliver training in the refined HG version of the rewind technique and the human givens approach to mental health. They will be away for ten days and will be training up to 60 local counsellors on how to treat trauma.

Pamela and Maarit will be working with a local partner agency REACH (Reconciliation, Evangelism And Christian Healing) which was formed in 1996 in response to the genocide.  Since then, the organisation has trained 3,680 people in reconciliation approaches, including local religious and government leaders, women and young people, belonging to both Christian and Muslim communities.  Their work is now moving from community level reconciliation to dealing with unresolved personal trauma.

Preparation for the training will involve translating the materials into the local language and working with the interpreters who will help Pamela and Maarit deliver the training sessions.  They are funding the trip themselves and will be travelling with their husbands who intend to record the trip and handle necessary admin.

Whilst the thought of delivering training like this into a different culture and language could be daunting, Pamela and Maarit are both full of enthusiasm for the difference the human givens approach will bring to individuals’ lives in Rwanda.  Even so, they would warmly welcome any insights from anyone about localisation of the human givens approach to African cultures – if think you may have any useful advice to give, please leave a comment on this blog or contact us and we will put you in touch.

We wish them all a safe and successful trip, look out for an update (and maybe even some photos!) on how their trip went on this blog and also in the HG e-newsletter.

Posted by: Jane