Category Archives: Ivan Tyrrell

Free therapy sessions

 joe griffin teaching

A core element of each Human Givens Diploma Course are the two live therapy sessions from Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin on both weeks of the course. This gives our students the opportunity to experience the therapeutic process right in front of them, and is a vital teaching tool for someone being prepared to work effectively with distressed clients.

These two sessions are FREE, with expenses paid, and usual applicants suffer from a range of problems, including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, sleeping problems, problematic anger, relationship difficulties, phobias, addiction, psychosis and obsessive compulsive disorder.

We are looking for suitable people to benefit from these free sessions this autumn at Gilwell Park in London on these dates:

Wednesday 12th September 2007 – Session 1
Tuesday 16th October 2007 – Session 2

Friday 14th September 2007 – Session 1
Thursday 18th October 2007 – Session 2

To discuss the free therapy sessions or if you would like an application, either ring Kathy Hardy on 01323 811 440 or email:

Posted by: Eleanor


Why do depressed people wake up exhausted?

Just another plug for Ivan Tyrrell’s (Principal of MindFields College) YouTube video on the link between depression and dreaming – if you haven’t already seen it!

For further information on why depressed people wake up exhausted see here:

Posted by: Eleanor

Human Givens Conference Programme: 2007

Here is a copy of the 2007 Human Givens Conference programme:  

Saturday 19th May Chair: Piers Bishop

9.30 am –  Pat Williams: An idea in practice — Welcome and introduction.              
9.45 — Iain Caldwell, Julian Penton: Recovery — Taking HG into the whole of Teesside.
11.30 — Badminton: A case history from David Grist.
11.45 — Judith Desbonne: Developing cultural competence: A case history                                
12.00 — Steve Osmond: Crime and young people: the inside story
12.30: — Richard Brooks: Working with young offenders in the community

1.00 pm — Lunch

2.00 — An interactive session with Mike Beard, Trevor Bailey, Jenny Moss and Sean Flynn
‘Experiencing’ Education: human givens through movement, art and creative practice
3.30 — Tea/Coffee
4.00 — Sudden transformations: How uncovering molar memories can bring instant therapeutic results, with reference to anorexia, sexual deviance and unexplained anger outbursts with Joe Griffin
5.00 — Break
5.30 — HGI AGM (HGI members only)   
Farouk Okhai

8.00 — Dinner

Sunday 20th May

9.00 am — Human Givens Foundation AGM (All welcome)
Chair: Piers Bishop

10.00 am —  Chair: Farouk Okhai
Male/Female: Crossing the great divide Anne Moir, coauthor of Why Men Don’t Iron, and author of Brain Sex, and Sex Matters, describes the latest findings about the different ways men and women have evolved to think and behave.
11.15 — Tea/Coffee
11.45 — The angry soldier: Case history from Piers Bishop
12.00 — Play therapy: Case history from Chris Dyas
12.15 — Harold Mozley: What does human givens bring to ethics?

1.00 pm — Lunch

2.00 — Human givens: not a new branch of psychology but its missing trunk.  A presentation ranging from the prehistoric origins of mental illness right up to the confusing way modern psychotherapy and psychiatry attempts to deal with it. Ivan Tyrrell will then show how a new contribution from HG ideas can bring order to this confusion.
3.00: — Tea/Coffee
3.30: — Panel discussion and questions from the audience:
4.15: — Pat Williams: Closes

The conference is being held in the beautiful setting of Sunningdale Park in Ascot and with such a diverse programme, it should make for a fascinating weekend.

Places are going fast, so if you haven’t already booked, simply call Kathy Hardy on 01323 811440 or download the booking form which can be found here:


Posted by: Eleanor


Best of the MindFields College Blog

Since last September we’ve had 72 posts on this blog on many different topics, so I’m going to filter out a few of what I consider the most interesting or important posts and put them all in the same place.

The Dream Catcher: Read the New Scientist interview with Joe Griffin  answering questions on REM sleep, depression, psychosis, trauma, conflict and cult behaviour
To sleep, perchance to dearouse: An account of my most vivid personal experience of dreaming dearousing a traumatic event I witnessed.

The Origins of the Human Givens Approach: Find out how the human givens approach originated.

The Magic Porridge Pot: Ivan Tyrrell bravely writes on ‘autistic’ government thinking and over regulation and what to do about it.

The link between dreaming and depression: Watch a short video which explains why depressed people wake up exhausted

How the link between REM sleep and depression affects the treatment of Bipolar disorder: Discussing Bipolar disorder, a post prompted by a question from another blogger.

This country needs more than ‘Supernannies’: Why the ‘givens’ of human nature should be the touchstone of any government policy.

What makes a good therapist or counsellor?: A checklist drawn up to protect people from potentially harmful types of counselling.

The link between worrying and depression: How worrying always preceeds depression, why this is related to REM sleep, and what you can do to break the cycle.

Is the NHS capable of learning from nature?: What is an effective system, and is the NHS one?
Posted by: Eleanor

A rare interview with Adam Curtis – Freud’s hold over history

Here is an interview with Adam Curtis, the film maker whose latest program The Trap: Whatever happened to our dreams of freedom aired on the BBC yesterday evening.

This interview is about his previous series The Century of the Self, and explores with Ivan Tyrrell, a founder the human givens approach to therapy, how Freudian ideas are flourishing in business and politics today and indiously influence all of our lives.

A seething mass of desires: Freud’s hold over history

Tyrrell: The Century of the Self was for me and many others I’ve spoken to, by far the best TV series for a long time. In four 60 minute programmes on BBC2, you showed how the ideas behind psychoanalysis were responsible for the development of mass consumerism and self absorption in western society. You also explored the link between consumerism and politics in ways that were terrifying to contemplate. How did you come to piece this amazing history together?

Curtis: I’m a journalist who stumbled over a story, not a historian. For me it began when I came across the intriguing information that Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays had invented public relations, specifically using his uncle’s ideas about human beings and human nature. From there came the idea that I should look at how Freud’s ideas have been used generally in social and political ways, not telling the history of psychoanalysis but the history of how psychoanalytical ideas have been applied. When I started to research this I found lots of different stories about the application of psychoanalytical theories which had been missed out in the history of it, largely because psychoanalysis, as I am sure you know, is a very hermetic world …

Read the entire interview here.

Posted by: Eleanor

2007 Human Givens Conference

Healthy Minds in a Changing World

For anyone interested in the fundamental connection between psychology, psychotherapy and education — the human givens — and committed to making a difference, the Third Human Givens Conference (which is being held at Sunningdale Park, Ascot, Berkshire on 19th-20th May) promises to be one of this year’s most stimulating and thought-provoking events.

Although it is only ten years since the term ‘human givens’ was first coined, the uptake of the rich ideas encompassed by it has been phenomenal. Now countless people in a wide range of fields, including the NHS, education and social services, use this holistic framework to improve their work and the lives of their clients, often dramatically.

As well as celebrating this anniversary, this year’s conference is a great chance to meet up with old friends, make new ones and hear about, and be inspired by, the ongoing work of people using the human givens approach.

New discoveries about the origin of mental illness and how to enhance emotional wellbeing will be presented, along with fascinating case histories and descriptions of the visionary ‘whole community’ work many HGI members are involved in.

There will be a variety of speakers (including Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell) and the planned topics include:

  • Human givens: not a new branch of psychology but its missing trunk
  • How schizophrenia can be created in 24 hours
  • Amazing transformations: working with molar memories
  • Hope for the future: using the human givens approach in schools
  • Why emotional arousal is the handmaiden of tyranny
  • Case histories from HG practitioners
  • The importance of practice-based research and the HGI PRN
  • What does the human givens approach bring to ethics?
  • Crime and young people: the inside story
  • The AGMs of the HGI and the Human Givens Foundation will also be held during the weekend

The two-day event is open to both HGI members and anyone interested in the human givens approach.

If you would like to book a place, please call Kathy Hardy on 01323 811440 or download the booking form, print it out, complete it and send, along with your payment to Kathy Hardy, at: The Human Givens Institute, Chalvington, East Sussex, BN27 3TD, UK.

The cost is £235.00 per delegate which includes attendance at both days with lunch, a Saturday evening anniversary dinner, tea/coffee at each break and conference materials. (There is accommodation available at Sunningdale Park which can be booked separately.)


Posted by: Eleanor

How the link between REM sleep and depression affects the treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Psychotherapy is a specialised branch of education and feartheseeds has hit the nail on the head by asking a question on the comments for this post about how knowledge of the link between REM sleep (the brain state in which dreaming occurs) and depression can be used to help treat and manage bipolar disorder, in which a (most likely genetic) predisposition for mania precedes and follows intensely depressive episodes in a destructive swinging pattern.

Rather than reply further in a comment, I thought I would consider this in a post by itself because it’s an interesting and valid topic that we haven’t yet addressed on this blog.

feartheseeds asks:

“Essentially: If I have a disease that prevents me from either wanting to get better (mania) or being able to actually seek treatment (depression), and then causes long lasting natural depressions via lack of sleep, how can I (or: can I) modify my sleeping patterns without medications specifically prescribed to do so?”

Firstly it’s important to stress that we really don’t advocate treating bipolar disorder without medication. Having said that however, we know people who have developed ways of managing their bipolar disorder without drugs. It obviously depends on the individual state of the sufferer and their access to support and resources that they can use to help them.

In order to organise what I want to say about how the human givens approach and knowledge about the importance of sleep can help someone manage bipolar disorder, I’m going to descend into bullet points:

1) Sleep and depression.

For the reasons described in Ivan’s youtube video, and detailed in this article, we now know why depressed people dream more than non depressed people. It is because dreaming evolved to dearouse the autonomic nervous system from unacted out emotions and worrying during the day produces an enormous amount of arousals that the brain has to dream about. By doing more dreaming in the REM state, which burns up energy, than having recuperative slow wave sleep, which energises the brain and mind/body system, the sleep pattern becomes distorted. This is the reason why depressed people, however much they sleep, always wake up feeling exhausted.

In addition, the orientation response, which fires continually during dreaming, is firing excessively because of the extra amount and intensity of a depressed persons dreaming, and so it gets tired out too. This is the same neuronal pathway we also need to focus and motivate ourselves to do anything during the daytime. Since it is doing things that make our lives feel meaningful, this lack of motivational energy (the orientation response drives motivation) makes life seem meaningless. This should not be underestimated, human suffering cannot get any worse that severe depression: it can even lead people to take their own life.

2) Sleep and Mania

Mania can be seen as the opposite to depression with regards to REM sleep. Someone in a manic phase sleeps less and therefore has less REM sleep to dearouse the autonomic nervous system. In depression they do too much REM sleep. Staying awake all night, intense euphoria, all the symptoms of mania, are not conducive to healthy sleeping patterns.

Just as ordinary sleep deprivation leads to hallucinations (as in the case of Peter Tripp, the radio DJ who in 1959 stayed awake for 8 days as a sponsored “wake-a-thon” stunt before the truly dangerous effects of sleep deprivation were widely known. Tripp suffered severely disturbing hallucinations and delusions and was thought to have suffered more long-term side effects.) Sleeping less through a manic phase can quickly create a severe psychotic state.

Perception distortions occur in waking life because, quite literally, the distinct difference between waking reality and dreaming reality has been blurred, the person literally is dreaming during waking to compensate for the lack of good quality dreaming at night, which we all need a certain amount of to survive…

3) Managing sleep.

So while it is generally agreed now that bipolar disorder has a genetic component, it is obvious that individual sleeping patterns (brought on by the disorder or not) do play a part in the severity of the depression and mania, and my point is, that by managing sleep patterns (and by managing I mean trying hard in a depressive phase to limit your sleep to a healthy amount, waking up at a healthy time every morning, not sleeping in when you feel tired etc, and in a manic phase, doing everything you can to get the REM sleep you need) at the very least reduce symptoms of both bipolar moods and improve your quality of life. Drugs are not the only way of regulating REM sleep, although some of them do, and this is why they work.

Doing this on your own may be hard work, so making sure you and everyone around you knows the signs of when you might be slipping into depression or rising into mania and learns how to help you manage your sleep and also meet your emotional needs (this needs a whole bullet point to itself!) will help a lot.

4) The importance of meeting essential emotional needs.

When someone with bipolar disorder starts swinging towards a depressive phase, they start over compensating for the REM sleep they have missed out of during the manic phase.

A depressive phase is a sign for themselves and people around them to look at what is causing them to worry, boost emotional support and get help to get the emotional needs met (see here for a list of essential emotional needs, or “human givens”). This is so obvious but is incredibly important and can’t be said enough times. Anything to do with not meeting an innate emotional need will trigger anxiety and a depressive episodes and more REM sleep, and bipolar people obviously have a particular sensitivity for this. People do not have mental health problems when their innate emotional needs are met so ensuring they are is the best therapy anyone could have.

Accordingly, someone swinging towards a phase of mania is (among other things) not doing enough dreaming – and everything must be done to remedy that and get enough sleep, or the manic person will reach a stage where the balance will tip, and to compensate they will fall back into REM sleep and depression again.

Meeting emotional needs also reduces arousal levels, which is crucial for arousal levels (which need to be de-aroused nightly during dreaming) in waking life.

So, if emotional needs are met and the importance of REM sleep is understood and managed, bipolar mood cycles become less intense and more manageable, as someone who has experienced years passing before a bipolar episode begins again, can affirm.

Therapists, GP’s and anyone who works, lives with, suffers from or knows someone with bipolar disorder need to be aware of, and learn to work with, this information. I see a great deficit in the knowledge of how to treat bipolar disorder and depression, and a severe lack of services in the NHS that provide this information to people who need it.

Thanks so much to feartheseeds for bringing this subject to attention on this blog.

Comments, questions, personal experience, criticisms, suggestions are welcome.

Posted by: Eleanor