Category Archives: Emotional needs

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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A criminal rehab centre which accepts no grant money and where residents pay no fees

“The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco puts hardened criminals – including thieves and murderers – in charge of their own recovery and it doesn’t take a penny in grant money from the United States government.

Instead the residents support themselves – and each other – by running a string of businesses including a gourmet restaurant. It is a 500-strong family, and – much like a normal family – the punishment for those who step out of line is washing the dishes.” Read more..


What a fantastic concept, and it works because everything is done to meet the resident’s needs for status, meaning, a feeling of being stretched, feeling part of a wider community, attention, control and security.

Perhaps this is the answer to our current prison crisis!

Posted by: Eleanor

Loneliness linked to Alzheimer’s

I read on the BBC news today about a study which supports a previously proposed link between loneliness and the development of Alzheimer’s. It suggests that elderly people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s if they are lonely.

This is an interesting correlation, particularly when you look at it from a human givens perspective. If you are feeling lonely it’s a sign that you are not meeting an essential human need, or ‘given’ – the need to feel connected to other people. The influence on health and wellbeing from these unmet emotional needs is immense, as we have discussed time and time again.

The ongoing results from the ENA project survey (almost 1900 people have taken it so far) indicates that 28.9% of the UK population feel they are not connected to some part of the wider community. Furthermore, 30.6% feel they don’t receive enough attention and 20.3% feel they are not emotionally connected to others.

When you extrapolate that percentage, it translates to over 17 million people in the UK who don’t feel part of the wider community. It’s difficult to imagine how in a country with such a high population for its size people can be feeling excluded and alone, and I feel herein lies the problem, and perhaps the solution. It’s not distance that separates these people, but limitations imposed by the cultural and social environment they live in.

Posted by: Eleanor

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

A greater need for therapy to treat gamblers

Adding to the NHS’s mounting ‘to do’ list comes a call for better access to therapy for addicted gamblers.

“Former postman Neil Humphreys checked himself in after amassing debts of £16,000 – the same amount as he earned in a year. His gambling hobby became an addiction when he discovered internet casinos. It nearly destroyed his life.
“It just seemed to get hold of me,” he says.
“I actually tried to get rid of my computer at one point but then I started going to internet cafes and I was doing it there, so I couldn’t get away from it.
“I kept wanting to stop but as soon as I could get hold of some more money, I was back on it.”
Mr Humphreys tried closing his accounts with the online sites he was gambling on. But that did not work. He received emails and phone calls offering him free bets. In the end, he took up an offer of $250 free bets and started gambling again. Having lost everything, he is now surviving on benefits. It will take him 10 years to pay his debts back.”

Addiction occurs when chemical reward systems in the brain activated by whatever you’re addicted to start compensating for a lack of natural, more ‘wholesome’ rewards in your everyday life. Working towards a healthier life in which emotional needs are met is the starting point for addiction therapy.

Creating a society in which these needs can be more easily met should be a priority for the government, considering plans for ‘supercasinos’ that have been bandied about recently.

>> Read more about addiction here

Posted by: Eleanor

The link between dreaming and depression

Our College Principal, Ivan Tyrrell, explains why depressed people wake up still feeling exhausted and tired and discusses the link between depression and dreaming.

Posted by: Eleanor

PTSD after July 7 bombings, “The Trickster: medicine’s forgotten character”, and the Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust

– The health protection agency has release a report stating that 80% of survivors of the London bombings of July 7th last year have been left with with “emotional upset”. 80% of these were referred to counsellors and specialised post traumatic stress disorder services. Read what Joe Griffin has to say about treatments for post traumatic stress disorder here.

– I would also like to draw your attention to an interesting article I put up on the archive section of our HGI website yesterday from a 1996 edition of The Therapist (renamed the Human Givens Journal) called The Trickster: medicine’s forgotten character:

“In modern psychology ‘Trickster’ is often used to refer to a universal force or pattern within the mind — what Jung called an archetype — that represents the irrational, chaotic, and unpredictable side of human thought and behaviour. This aspect of the mind is contrasted with the logical, analytical, and intellectual side that values order, precision, and control. According to the tenets of depth psychology, a balance between these two vectors of the psyche is required for optimal mental heath. When either the rational or irrational side dominates, self correcting forces come into play to restore some semblance of harmony between the two. The countless Trickster tales describe how this process plays itself out in everyday life…” click to read article


– Further to our post yesterday, I also wanted to add that the Human Givens Institute wholeheartedly supports the Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust, which is raising money to help provide disadvantaged individuals with appropriate educational facilities to enable them to lead lives in which the “kicks” of criminal activity will not be required to fulfil emotional needs.

Posted by: Eleanor