Fast treatment denied to traumatised soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan

The 18-month wait endured by front line troops before they can get treatment for their panic attacks, anger outbursts, nightmares and flashbacks hit the headlines with a vengeance over the weekend.


However, many aspects of the story were not covered by journalists, for example, the scandal that “government guidelines recommend CBT for treating PTSD” when this is known to be a largely ineffective treatment for this condition. No wonder it was reported in The Sunday Times that a trustee of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association said: “I’ve never come across any veteran who was happy with their NHS treatment for PTSD.”

Another strange aspect is that American research clearly demonstrates that about 25% of people exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD and yet the MOD are maintaining that only 2% of front line troops go on to suffer these debilitating symptoms.

If you know of anyone who needs detraumatising go to our online register to find a human givens therapist who will usually be able to help a sufferer quickly using the rewind technique. This non-intrusive and safe psychological technique (which is taught on our workshop: The fast trauma and phobia cure), is regularly used by HG therapists to relieve people of post-traumatic stress caused by a wide range of traumatic events, from accidents and severe sexual abuse to injury sustained in bomb blasts and experiences of war.

For more information about trauma and PTSD, click here.

Posted by: Ivan


16 responses to “Fast treatment denied to traumatised soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan

  1. Now that I find myself interested in human givens as a lot of what is written on your website and blog makes sense I find myself disappointed by such bold statements as —-the scandal “government guidelines recommend CBT for treating PTSD” when this is known to be a largely ineffective treatment for this condition——-.
    What, might I ask, is this conclusion based on? Your UK NICE guidelines consider 23 seperate studies favouring trauma focussed CBT for PTSD. it is hardly the fault of CBT that Government doesn’t make treatment widely available for people. If your human givens rewind is so effective why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and offer treatment for free to these suffering soldiers? It would be the greatest PR exercise you could imagine for human givens. It will only cost you a small outlay and you might even persuade your dedicated therapists to offer a subsidized fee in order to promote human givens. From what I read of UK newspapers there is much about Iraq and how unpopular that war is. This could be a way for you to prove yourselves instead of attempting to rubbish approaches that at least has been shown to be effective in some studies.
    This is what is so irritating about your grandiose sweeping statements and it certainly does you no favours on an International stage. Never mind your anecdotes. If human givens is so good, demonstrate it properly.
    Yours, with interest,

  2. Leamas,

    You are right, that was a bold statement for Ivan to make – but it was born out of frustration because we are working with people who are using this technique all the time, getting quick results (sometimes it only needs one session to remove a trauma) and helping people to regain control of their lives rather than spending years suffering the effects of PTSD.

    As you know, everyone working from the human givens approach is very aware of the need for good, solid research into the approach, and the HG Foundation currently has several research projects underway and is constantly working to raise funds for more research projects in order that the effectiveness of HG therapy that we see every day in practice can be measured and compared in like terms with other therapeutic approaches.

    Your PR stunt idea is a good one and I know many HG therapists and several of our tutors have already offered to do such therapy for free. For instance a colleague of ours, whilst at a meeting a couple of years ago about the proposed NICE guidelines for PTSD, offered to demonstrate the rewind technique’s effectiveness there and then with two ‘service users’ one of whom was a traumatised veteran of the war in Bosnia, but they both declined his offer, one of them saying he didn’t want it to “jeopardise his recovery”! They had had years of CBT and were, sadly, no better for it – but perhaps a more national concerted PR effort is what’s needed, then perhaps the HG Foundation might be able to raise enough funds to do the much-needed research so that even more people can benefit from it.

    In the meantime, however, we at the College continue to teach the rewind technique to a wide range of health and welfare professionals so they can use it (as thousands we have trained already do) to end people’s suffering as quickly and as non-voyeuristically as possible. It is one of the most effective skills we teach and needs to be more widely known. Perhaps, when you are back in the UK, you might like to attend the workshop?

    Although I know you dismiss anecdotes as not being scientific, they are still worth paying attention to as they provide us with useful qualitative evidence – there are lots of case studies available on the HGI website that show how effective the technique is. (If you would like to know more about why it is, read the article in our online archive, PTSD: why some techniques for treating it work so fast).


  3. Do you currently offer training in USA?

    Will you also be able to point me to the extensive research as to why psychodynamic therapy is contraindicated in depression, as I requested on the other thread?

  4. Hi Leamas,

    The depression research ref on our flyer and HG Book is :
    Danton W, Antonuccio D, Denelsky, G (1995) Depression: Psychotherapy is the best medicine. Prof Psychology, research and practice, 26, 574.

    Much PTSD treatment seems to centre around REM state activity, such as EMDR, EFT. Hypnotic techniques such as Rewind (a more refined version of NLP cinema type Guided Imagery), are good at reducing the level of emotion which can make traumatic memories, or triggers related to the trauma, cause people problems in the present. The REM state is the brain’s programming state, as in the womb or hypnotic trance, and although the mechanism isn’t fully understood, it seems to work well for many people.

    Hope that helps,
    Best Jeremy

  5. Jeremy,
    Thanks for your response. The problem of lack of references remains the same as I pointed out in the other thread. It is further confounded by research that contradicts it. This 1 reference, which has merely a comment about how an insight approach may not be desirable in depression and this point itself is unreferenced hardly constitutes a wealth of research pointing out that a psychodynamic approach is contraindicated in depression. If statements like -“Extensive research shows that psychodynamic therapy deepens depression and makes it last longer” – are on the human Givens website then, since this is very upsetting reading for a therapist trained in a psychodynamic approach, surely it is reasonable to ask for and be supplied with the “extensive research”. These days, psychodynamic approaches are usually brief interventions anyway. Maybe these sort of sweeping statements could be worded in a less confrontational manner so that instead of alienating therapists human givens might attract their interest.

    As for REM- I know Shapiro suggests that REM activity might be involved in EMDR but then this is confounded by the fact that it seems bilateral stimulation is what is required, rather than eye movements. I’m familiar with Gary Craig’s website about EFT but find nothing there suggesting EFT has anything to do with REM.
    Has REM activity been studied and measured then in the waking state? Where are the references? Does human givens suggest that REM activity is taking place during hypnosis then? Has this been demonstrated to be true or is all of this at the point of discovery waiting for research to test it?

  6. Hello there. I’m a student in high school writing a paper about the soldiers coming back from Iraq and what they are exposed to and the effects after. I googled it, and came to this web site. I just wanted to say thank you, and I’m so glad people care about our nation and our soldiers. Keep it up! your all amazing! (by the way your names will be in my paper along with this web site. so your getting your credit!)

  7. Thanks for your comment Vanessa!


  8. Hi Leamas,

    You make good points, of course references are important and I feel this needs to be addressed, perhaps Eleanor could pull up some more referneces, as she’s closer to HQ info than I am.

    I tend to use my own internal logic on these matters, not very scientific I know, but I feel that raking over the past repeatedly and rehearsing constantly what’s gone wrong in your life would only deepen depressive negative feelings.

    As for REM, yes this is a grey area where research is concerned, but again if you observe trance states and human behaviour, it is possible to make connections yourself. You mention EFT, well if you look at trance or hypnotic induction you’ll notice tapping can trigger the orientation response, fire PGO spikes, focus a person’s attention…as used by hypnotists the world over.
    Trance is a focussed state of attention, the words REM refer to rapid eye movement, which is sometimes clearly visible in trance or Guided Imagery, it seems to accompany certain brain waves I believe. I’d like to see more research in this area, regarding dream activity, Guided Imagery, trance and brain wave activity.

    I do not come from a ‘scientific’ background and I believe if we wait for the ‘people in the white coats’ to approve of everything we do, before we do it, the world would be a sad place indeed.

    Do no harm, is a good rule to apply to people helping, and I do my utmost to adhere to that. I don’t need an RCT to tell me sleep is good for me, or healthy food, or that a walk in the nature makes me feel good, that Art is good or not, or that laughing is good for the soul, or indeed that we have a ‘soul’, or consciousness at our core, I can’t prove I have an ‘Observing self’, or that Love is the answer, it’s not ‘scientific’ that I’d die for my kids, but I would. For some things we have to rely on experience and observation too, that’s the difference between knowledge and information I guess.

    Psychology is not an exact science, the human being is more complex than a quadratic equation, and it could take thousands more years to understand the mechanisms behind brain and mind function. I welcome any research which helps us understand the nature of REM, trance or depression etc. I also agree that Psychodynamic guys get results some of the time too, I see it as a ‘personal growth’ therapy, best suited to certain clients and problems, like most therapies it suits some but not others.

    Best wishes, Jeremy

  9. Jeremy,
    Thanks for the well written and sensitive response. I was first curious about human givens after becoming aware of a discussion between you and another chap on a different blog where I could see you were genuinely trying to help him before it deteriorated. However, he made many interesting points about human givens that I followed up on and have read extensively most that I find on the human givens website and linked websites.
    The sort of language you are using in the post above is so much more accessible and free of unsubstantiated claims and contradictions. The sad thing to me is that there are many excellent ideas described in human givens that certainly make sense but then this is undermined by the claims of scientific validity that are made, supported either by no published research or by research that in fact does not support the points being made.
    For example:
    “It has only recently been realised that effective counselling always depends on how attuned the counsellor is to the givens of human nature “–

    well, this sounds great, but WHO has it been realized by? It is unreferenced and I can find nothing in any literature on it except that written by human givens.

    “although most counsellors and psychotherapists are accredited by their various professional bodies, this is no guarantee of their effectiveness. By contrast human givens practitioners have been rigorously assessed for their effectiveness.”

    Hymm– aren’t human givens counsellors accredited only by its own professional body, which is itself not accreditted to any of the main regulatory bodies in the UK like BACP or UKCP, and how are human givens counsellors RIGOROUSLY assessed? This is not explained or referenced.

    “Human givens practitioners do not waste time just endlessly listening to you or attempting to dredge up real or imagined miserable memories from the past, since research shows this tends to confuse and upset vulnerable people. ”

    These sort of statements are made, either unreferenced or with reference to always that same reference I have written about several times before. Yet, in the linked research website there is reference to the equivalence of outcomes of various orientations.

    Then, as was pointed out by the chap on the other blog, there is the business of ETSI. This all sounds very fine stuff indeed:

    “……They are trained by MindFields College, whose training programme is approved by ETSI………ETSI has over 700 members including a group of active researchers and people who joined to register their support for its aims and be part of the movement towards a more objective and scientifically holistic approach to therapy…….
    The Institute is a multi-disciplinary organisation, founded in 1992, with a remit to gather, study and publish information on therapeutic method and practice.”

    But, when one goes to the membership link it simply goes back to Mindfields College, which seems to be a part of human givens, but there is no information about the published research of ETSI, who the researchers are or where their published research is.

    The article on psychosis is really interesting and is written in a way that seems mainly free of unsupported claims with language like “We suggest” but then later on we get to….

    “We are saying, then, that extreme stress, anxiety and depression lead to psychosis.”

    But, the challenge is, if human givens is putting itself forward as a scientifically validated method, one has to support such statements by research. Frankly, in my own experience I consider this statement to be untrue. I have seen plenty of anxiety and depression NOT lead to psychosis. I have seen people who are psychotic who are not depressed.

    There is an interesting article about a conversation between Joe Griffin, who seems to figure a lot in human givens, and a chap called Robertson. When Griffin is making the points about hypnosis and REM Robertson responds:

    Robertson: “That’s very interesting. I’d like to see the research on that. It certainly seems to be the case that patterns of brain activity under hypnosis differ from normal waking states……………”

    Robertson clearly finds Griffin’s ideas interesting but would like to see the research in support of it. I thought that science progresses through stages from discovery to experiment to validation to more experiment to null hypothesis assumption to further experimentation, to field trials of application of the discovered principles and finally to effectiveness studies. There is nothing wrong with “discovery” and it seems much within human givens is at that point of discovery. However, the continuing insinuation in so much written on the website is that much of the claims are built on science. However, this is clearly not the case.

    Later, towards the end of the article Robertson says:
    ” We have to progress towards evidence based practice and get away from cults and ideologies.”

    It seems to me human givens wants it both ways. It wants to apparently shelter under the umbrella of scientific respectibility when it chooses to do so and then completely ignore the findings from that same science when it no longer suits. The recent statement on this blog that involved my interest was:
    “the scandal “government guidelines recommend CBT for treating PTSD” when this is known to be a largely ineffective treatment for this condition——-.

    Now, if human givens suggests that it is guided by the evidence as to what works by scientific evaluation then this makes no sense. To suggest that CBT is largely ineffective in PTSD demonstrates clearly a total lack of familiarity with the scientific research literature. A cursory glance at the empirically supported treatments lists of the APA or the NICE guidelines in the UK quickly make that clear. These sort of statements alienate bono fide researchers who have been in the field for many years and can only lead to human givens been written off as the very thing that it seems human givens is setting out to avoid, that of being yet another contribution to “cults and ideologies”.

    It would be a shame to see the baby get thrown out with the bathwater. There is much that I read on the websites that makes good sense. But there is sadly an underlying tone of superiority, supported by contradictory statements, confusing reference links or total lack thereof that can only harm human givens if it is genuinely worth its salt. It seems like an organization that is ripe for a keen journalist to do an investigation on. If a mentally ill person who you were debating with can see this and I can see this, then someone else with mal-intent could easily also see this too.

    You sound like a very decent chap Jeremy, with your heart in the right place. Maybe you can help this organization sort itself out so the house of cards doesn’t come tumbling down. I have deliberately kept my posts unobtrusive on this matter. I hope my observations may help you and human givens to clean up the act.
    I’ll not be posting again on this for now.
    Best wishes to you.

  10. Thanks Leamas, your posts are certainly thought provoking. CBT is everywhere now, I heard it mentioned twice on my radio today, I open magazines and see it mentioned again and again, it’s also on the TV practically every night.

    All this publicity is great for CBT guys and perhaps deserved, considering they have so many research projects to back them up. We use elements of CBT within our approach, some more than I others I suppose.

    I am not in a position to address your more serious questions about ETSI etc, I don’t know anything about it. I’ve not thought of HG as a house of cards before and HG seems to be growing at it’s own pace.

    Best wishes, Jeremy

  11. Eleanor,
    It is disappointing to me that when seriously questioned about your apparent “extensive research” supporting the claims on your website as well as the blatant contradictions, you simply ignore the issue. If you are going to make claims and put yourself forward as “scientific” it would be appropriate, don’t you think, to coherently present your argument instead of avoiding the issue.

    I took the trouble to write to David Antonuccio as his co-authored reference appears several times on your website and associated articles. I pointed out the claims being made by human givens referencing his article. This is what he said:

    “In reference to your letter to me regarding a website citation of a 1995 paper I coauthored on treatments for depression, I would agree with you that the statement on the website is a bit harsh. In our 1995 article we did reference McLean and Hakstian (1979) and Sanchez et al. (1980), studies that found inferior outcome for insight oriented psychotherapy compared with CBT and medication. However, you may be right that there are other studies showing equivalent outcome with insight oriented therapy, though I have not kept up on the psychodynamic literature. Unfortunately, many studies are not statistically powerful enough (i.e., don’t have enough subjects) to show any differences among treatments.

    The critical ingredient in all therapies may be the strength of the therapeutic alliance with a caring therapist, a factor that cuts across all brands of therapy and may be responsible for the majority of the positive outcomes that are demonstrated in psychotherapy for depression”

    So, Eleanor, the 2 references are dated 1979 and 1980. Rather out of date, don’t you think for 2007. I refer you to Roth and Fonagy (1996) for a review of evidenced based practice– a book entitled “what works for whom”. I think you’ll find that human givens castigation of psychodynamic therapy is unsupported.

  12. You refer to Roth and Fonagy. I would be concerned about their objectivity because Peter Fonagy is Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis and Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre, London. Anthony Roth is also a psychoanalyst. Close reading of Roth and Fonagy supports what we are saying. You may be unaware that psychodynamic therapists are being given redundancy notices in a number of Primary Care Trusts in England because of lack of evidence that psychodynamic therapy is helping people.

  13. I refer you to a chapter in a book, and the referenced studies therin, not to the personal views or orientations of the editors.

    Shapiro, DA, Rees, A, Barkham, M, Hardy, G, Reynolds, S, & Startup, M (1995) Effects of treatment duration and severity of depression on the maintenance of gains following cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic interpersonal psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 378 – 387.

    I quote: Overall, both therapies were found to be equally effective, to exert their effects with equal rapidity, and to have equivalent results for clients at all three levels of symptom severity.

    I remind you of what the author of your much favoured reference said in his letter of March 2007:

    “The critical ingredient in all therapies may be the strength of the therapeutic alliance with a caring therapist, a factor that cuts across all brands of therapy and may be responsible for the majority of the positive outcomes that are demonstrated in psychotherapy for depression”

    Thompson, LW, Gallagher, D, & Breckenbridge, JS (1987) Comparative effectiveness of psychotherapies for depressed elders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 385-390.
    I quote:
    All three treatments (dynamic, CT and BT) were equally effective both posttherapy and at 1- and 2 year follow-up.

    Your post, Eleanor, is an attempt to discredit both by reference to the therapeutic orientation of the editors of a book and by the interjection of anecdote. Either you are on the part of “science” or you are not. If not, that’s fine, but don’t profess to be so. It creates a confusing message. Furthermore you have a post on your blog claiming CBT ineffective for PTSD– an unsubstantiated claim, no evidence, no study quoted, clearly no reflection on the many studies where various aspects of CBT have been demonstrated to be successful. Look at the work of Foa here in USA, Ehlers and Clark in the UK.
    I can appreciate your frustrations if you feel that you have a bono fide approach to managing PTSD or anything else but you have as yet been unable to demonstrate it to the scientific community. However, do you not think it would be a better policy to build relationhips with the people already established in the field and look for the chance to show them what you do, instead of rubbishing them?
    There are glaring contradictions on your website and the linked pages. CBT is ineffective in PTSD on your blog. CBT is good for depression (I take it). You have no “extensive research” demonstrating the ineffectiveness of psychodynamic orientation and the 1 reference you use repeatedly is very weak and hardly held up by it’s author. Then, amazingly, your research pages discuss some of the biggest RCT studies carried out and how they found equivalence of outcomes regardless of therapist orientation, in depression, alcohol treatment and cannabis youth treatment. This seems to make sense. The work of the ISTC, referenced heavily in this material, is very well known over here. It is a pity you have so many other contradictions.
    I take the trouble to do this because I like so much of what you seem to have. It makes good sense. It would be nice to see you get your message to a wider audience, but, if you really have a hope of being taken seriously you might want to consider getting rid of contradictions, ceasing to rubbish other therapists and improve your references.

    On the west coast of USA Linehan’s DBT is the treatment of choice for BPD. Linehan built DBT on the strength of CBT and added in many more ideas around mindfullness, relaxation, and holding the dialectic of contradiction. She didn’t need to separate herself out by rubbishing CBT. She built on it. Eventully she raised enough funding for RCT studies. Maybe what she has done would be a good model for you to follow.


  14. Thanks once again for your comments. In my quick previous reply I was simply trying to highlight what we all need to be aware of with research, which is who is doing, or commissioning, it.

    As you know from my previous posts, we totally agree with what you’re saying about the need for more solid research and building links which is why the HGI has set up its Practice Research Network which MindFields College fully supports, see:

    Regarding CBT, we are concerned that you think it comes across that we are ‘rubbishing’ it, as it contains many insights which are useful and that human givens therapists use as part of their toolbox. However we believe that the human givens approach offers a more comprehensive, holistic and flexible approach which is more in tune with mind/body research.

    Despite all the research into CBT that you mention, we still on a daily basis get people coming to us who have tried CBT for mental health problems and are still unhappy with it. Many others trained in this approach find it is not enough to help their clients and they welcome the training we offer to give them the additional skills they need.

    I will pass on your comments about the references we cite, our college tutors are very busy and you may be right, it might be time to update them.

    Thanks again

  15. Thanks Eleanor,
    Perhaps it is a matter of language. There is a big difference in reading “CBT is known to be largely ineffective for PTSD” and something like- “In spite of the empirical support established through clinical trials and referenced by the APA in the USA and NICE in the UK, we do have a considerable body of anecdotal evidence that, out in the field of everyday practice, many clients are unhappy with CBT as a treatment method for PTSD. On the other hand we have an equally considerable amount of anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of the techniques taught in human givens for them being fast and reliable methods of helping to relieve the symptoms of PTSD”

    or to that effect– that way, inseat of alienating CBT folk, you might find those therapists who are currently mandated to use CBT techniques and finding them sometimes unsuccessful, becoming much more interested in learning more about you.

    Furthermore, if what you say is true and human givens uses many ideas from CBT, why not find those good references and they can become a part of your evidence base. This is what Linehan did, as I described above– building a solid foundation on what has gone before.
    I totally agree as to the bit about who is doing the research, but neither Roth nor Fonagy were involved in any of this research. They are the editors of the book and include studies from many orientations, primarily CBT, because, as you know, CBT has by far the largets amount of data, imperfect as it may be.
    I think you have something really good in human givens. As an admirer of much that you have there I hope I’m somehow assisting you to see what others will clearly see. Then, they will switch off and you have no chance to influence them.
    I had not intended to post further, but I had that reply from David Antonuccio that I felt I should share with you as you have relied so heavily on his reference. I hope my contributions may assist you and I wish you well.
    best wishes,

  16. I have to say that this has been an interesting discussion to read, Leamas makes important valid suggestions for Human Givens. I would like to remind us all though that when Einstein wrote his essay “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” that later became to be known as his Special Theory of Relativity, he did not cite a single reference, in fact he only mentioned one other scientist. Perhaps moments of insight don’t always require a clearly defined pathway leading like a yellow brick road to an obvious conclusion. Of course research is coming and references are out there, but there is in my experience always such a vast array of contridictions within research experiments with many not really demonstrating clear ecological validity.

    I will quote a reasonably recent (2002) abstract from an article on research in social psychology (although relating to social psychology and therefore slightly off point you will understand my inclusion of it here):

    “This paper argues that contemporary social psychological theory and method, as manifest in the mainstream of the discipline, necessarily renders an account of human nature that is fundamentally individual and non-social. The consequence of this theoretical position is that social psychology is not genuinely or importantly social psychology at all. We argue further that as long as social psychological theory is not grounded in understandings of ourselves that are inherently social and meaningful, it will be unable to provide for a discourse about human sociality faithful to our own experience of ourselves as moral and meaning-making beings. To illustrate the central problem of social psychology, the paper discusses contemporary and traditional research and theorizing in altruism, concentrating particularly on well-known work in bystander intervention. We conclude that contemporary work in this area fails to adequately capture either the phenomenon or its social nature. An alternative grounding for social psychological theory and research is offered from the work of the French phenomenologist, Emmanuel Levinas. This perspective shows that the social is not derivative from the individual nor from an aspect of individual rationality. Rather the innately social is grounded in the innately ethical obligation which forms the foundation for all human social behavior.”
    Williams, R.N. (2002). Seeking social grounds for social psychology. Theory and
    Science. Retrieved on February 28 2007, from:

    If there is no meaning in the research then what meaning is there in the practice?

    Thoughtfully yours,

    Fiona Maree
    New Zealand

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