The Origins of the Human Givens Approach

Here is some background from our Human Givens Institute website on the origins of the human givens approach. I thought it would be interesting reading for people new to the concept who might be visiting this blog:

It is now commonly realised that there is a core set of principles for stabilising the human mind, creating harmony in and between communities, bringing order to schools and colleges, making government and administration more just and effective.

These principles grew out of the work of psychologists and psychotherapists who were trying to bring greater clarity to the way people who become depressed, anxious, traumatised or addicted are helped.

In 1992 they formed a group, the European Therapy Studies Institute (ETSI), whose aim was to discover why some psychotherapy approaches appeared to work and others didn’t. ETSI quickly gained several hundred members from a wide variety of professions whose support enabled them to publish a journal, The Therapist.

Three leading figures from the start were:

joe griffin ivan tyrrell pat williams

Joe Griffin, Ivan Tyrrell and Pat Williams.

Attacking the efficacy question from a scientific viewpoint, they discarded any approach that was dogmatic or hypothetical, or that research showed was not helpful, whatever its practitioners believed. They also incorporated what they could glean from the therapeutic wisdom of other cultures and times. Then they took what was left, stepped back and set about understanding how it matched up to the emerging findings of neuroscience, asking “why does this work?”

The result was a new synthesis of everything that can reliably be said to help human beings function well and be happy, together with remarkable new insights into the purpose of some long-unexplained brain mechanisms. These derived from the work by Joe Griffin on why we dream, how this relates to depression and psychosis, the importance of the REM state, and why we are so vulnerable to addiction

In 1996 MindFields College was founded to teach people about the practical application of this rapidly developing psychological knowledge. Since then over 150,000 people have attended MindFields courses. By 1997 the term ‘human givens’ was being used so often it stuck and the first monograph on the subject was published. Soon after that the journal changed its name to Human Givens to reflect its wider appeal and it grew from strength when Denise Winn joined as editor.

From a growing need to implement these ideas into training effective human givens counsellors, the first HG diploma course was run in April 2000. The approach grew organically, refining as it was being taught and merged with other knowledge and feedback from the wide range of psychologists, teachers, counsellors, psychotherapists, nurses, social workers and others who did the diploma.

The Human Givens Institute (HGI) was set up in 2001 for people who were using the approach in their work to keep in touch with one another.

In 2003 the first edition of Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking was published in hardback to great acclaim. Demand was so great it was republished almost immediately and then came out in paperback.

Dreaming Reality: How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad, was published in 2004.

A new series of books, Essential help in troubled times – the human givens approach, was launched to introduce new knowledge (about getting out of depression, curing addictions and mastering anxiety) to the general public. The first two titles quickly became best sellers and a new book has just been published.

In March 2006 a higher level of education was introduced on a new course for people wishing to explore these ideas even further.

As knowledge of how human beings function continues to grow it is essential for therapists that they never stop learning. The human givens approach to therapy is an open and evolving concept — continually incorporating new knowledge and insights as they come to light — which frees us to see more clearly what really works and why, and makes therapists and counsellors more effective at relieving distress.

Posted by: Eleanor


One response to “The Origins of the Human Givens Approach

  1. Pingback: Best of the MindFields College Blog « The MindFields College Blog

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