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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The current state of knowledge about sleep and dreaming

Following Eleanor’s previous post about our new website, and to further highlight the need for up to date knowledge on sleep and dreaming: here are some almost unbelievable direct quotations from a ‘science’ programme on BBC Radio 4 called The Defeat of Sleep.

The programme was about the drug companies search for ‘smart drugs’.

“There is a theory going round that we’re failing our brains. Vast potential remains untapped. If we could just maximise the time we spend in deep thought and subtly alter the ways in which we think, then maybe mankind could make rapid advances.”

“If we are going to take advantage of the untapped potential of our brains the obvious first step is to remove the time we waste, those eight hours we spend each night in the land of nod.

“The part of the brain which really does require sleep more than any other are the higher centres, so what is very clear is that when we go to sleep at night the brain appears to go into what appears to be a deeper sleep and more profound, recovery sleep than the later part of the night and, as sleep progresses this depth of sleep decreases and we go into lighter sleep and more dreaming sleep it seems. So there is a certain element of sleep towards the end of the night that becomes redundant, more pleasure rather than anything else.”

“Infants evolved to sleep more, not because they need to, but simply in order to give their parents a rest.

The people saying these things work in University departments and are cited as ‘experts’. And the ironic thing is that the programme was supposed to be about making humanity smarter!

Posted by: Ivan

Why do we dream? – New Website Launched

Have you ever wondered why we evolved to dream?

A new website from Human Givens Publishing Ltd has just been launched that explores in depth Joe Griffin’s expectation fulfilment theory, the latest psychobiological explanation of dreaming, which has become an integral part of human givens therapy.

why we dream

Find out:

– why dreams can be so bizarre
– why dreams can feel so meaningful
– why we dream in metaphor
– what the REM state is
– how hypnosis works
– the cycle of depression and how you can innoculate yourself against it
– the link between dreaming and psychosis
– how to interpret your own dreams

and much more…

We are intending this site to be used as a valuable resource and we are hoping if you find it useful, you will be able to share it among friends, clients, collegues, relatives – anyone who many be interested to know more about this influential theory.

(Also, this is the first site I have ever built so if you spot any mistakes just contact me and I’ll do something about it!)

Posted by: Eleanor

Hearing voices

“Researchers at Bangor University are planning to delve into the psyches of people who hear voices, but are not mentally ill.

They say contrary to popular belief, hearing voices is a phenomenon common to all cultures around the world and is a positive experience for most people.

Estimates suggest that at least 4% of the UK population have experienced hearing voices or ‘clairaudience’.

But little is known or understood about the phenomenon as those who do hear voices often do not tell others and it is thought that the actual number is higher than 4%.

PhD student, Katy Thornton, from the university’s School of Psychology, hopes to study people across Wales who are untroubled by the experience of hearing voices.

She said: ‘Contrary to popular belief, the fact that a person hears voices does not automatically mean that they have mental health problems. The majority of people who hear voices have benign or positive experiences. Hearing voices is different for each person. Some find it a spiritual experience; others may feel that their voice is another part of themselves. Some people get help and support from their voices while other people’s voices just talk about mundane matters. Each person experiences it differently – it might be a disembodied voice or it might be their own thoughts with somebody else speaking them.’

Miss Thornton will spend the next six months cataloguing the experiences of those who hear voices.

Historically, hearing voices was considered an important, meaningful and in some cases divine experience. Many important religious figures have heard voices, as have influential thinkers such as Socrates, Carl Jung and Ghandi. Today hearing voices is still seen as a gift in most non-Western cultures, says Miss Thornton.

Psychology lecturer Dr David Linden, who will supervise Miss Thornton’s research, says the experiences of people who are relaxed about clairaudience is an under-researched area. He said, “In clinical practice we would normally encounter patients who hear voices and are distressed by them. However, we don’t know what it’s like to hear voices and not be troubled by them and we’ve not paid the phenomenon enough attention.

Those taking part will be interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire about themselves and their experience. They will also have a brain scan.

Miss Thornton says she is not going into the work with any pre-conceived notions. ‘I’m not making any prior psychiatric or spiritual assumptions about these phenomena.’”
This article appeared in the Western Mail on May 2nd.

Posted by: Eleanor

Our Amazon rankings!

If you type in ‘Depression’ in book search, on, 4,851 titles come up.

The Human Givens book on depression is No.3

If you type in ‘Anxiety’, 1,928 titles come up.

The Human Givens book on anxiety is No.2

If you type ‘Addiction’ 6,196 titles come up.

The Human Givens book on addiction is No.1

Posted by: Eleanor

Brain Differences found in Gulf War Syndrome Veterans

There is an short but interesting article from Seed magazine about the brain’s of soldiers with Gulf War Syndrome:

“Some soldiers suffering from Gulf War syndrome have significantly smaller brain volumes than returning veterans who did not get as sick, according to a study released Tuesday.

Researchers found that two areas of the brain used for thinking and memory were significantly smaller in soldiers suffering from more than five symptoms (such as joint pain, fatigue, forgetfulness, headaches, rashes, nausea and difficulty concentrating) of Gulf War syndrome.” Read on

Sorry about the lack of posts recently – we have all been very busy with the Conference and several other interesting projects which will be unveiled in due course!

Hope you are all enjoying the Spring, wherever you are.

Posted by: Eleanor

Cannabis has a ‘significant impact on the brain’

Scientists have shown how cannabis may trigger psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

The Institute of Psychiatry study gave THC, CBD or placebo capsules to adult male volunteers who had not abused cannabis.

They then carried out brain scans, and a battery of tests, and found that those who took THC showed reduced activity in an area of the brain called the inferior frontal cortex, which keeps inappropriate thoughts and behaviour, such as swearing and paranoia, in check.

The effects were short-lived, but some people appeared more vulnerable than others.

“If something has an active effect in inducing the symptoms of psychosis after one dose, then it would not be at all surprising if repeated use induced the chronic condition” Professor Robin Murray -Institute of Psychiatry.

Read the whole article>>

Posted by: Eleanor