About Human Givens

What is The Human Givens Approach?

The human givens framework offers a revolutionary new organising idea derived from the latest scientific understandings from neurobiology and psychology, ancient wisdom and original new insights. It is the first ever bio-psycho-social model of psychotherapy.

Disseminated and taught since 1997, and initially focused on the treatment of mental distress, this new school of psychology and psychotherapy is rapidly being recognised as a profoundly important shift in our understanding of human functioning. It has been called “the missing heart of positive psychology” and many now refer to it as “enhanced CBT”.

The startling success produced by the efficacy, adaptability and practical nature of these new ideas, is borne out by the speed at which this model is moving into new areas, ranging from psychotherapy, education and social work to international diplomatic relations and the corporate world of business.

What are The Human Givens?

We are all born with innate knowledge programmed into our genes. Throughout life we experienced this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional needs. These feelings evolved over millions of years and, whatever our cultural background, are our common biological inheritance. They are the driving force that motivates us to become fully human and succeed in whatever environment we find ourselves in. It is because they are incorporated into our biology at conception that we call them ‘human givens’.

Given physical needs:As animals we are born into a material world where we need air to breath, water, nutritious food and sufficient sleep. These are the paramount physical needs. Without them we quickly die. In addition we also need the freedom to stimulate our senses and exercise our muscles. We instinctively seek sufficient and secure shelter where we can grow and reproduce ourselves and bring up our young. These physical needs are intimately bound up with our emotional needs – the main focus of the human givens psychology.

Given emotional needs: Emotions create distinctive psychobiological states in us and drive us to take action. The emotional needs that nature has programmed us with are there to connect us with the external world, particularly to other people, and to survive in it. They seek their fulfilment though the way we interact with our environment. Consequently when these needs are not met in the world, nature ensures that we suffer distress i- anxiety, anger, depression etc. and our expression of that distress, in whatever form it takes, has an impact on those around us. People whose emotional needs are met in a balanced way do not suffer mental health problems. When psychotherapists, teachers and managers pay attention to this, they are at their most effective. Along with these physical and emotional needs nature has given us an internal guidance system to help us get these needs met. We call these ‘resources’ Our resources are the capabilities we have that enable us to meet our emotional needs.

 

Emotional Needs

Our Emotional Needs include:

  • Security – safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully.
  • Attention (to give and receive it) a form of nutrition.
  • Sense of autonomy and control – having volition to make responsible choices.
  • Being emotionally connected to others.
  • Feeling part of a wider community.
  • Friendship, intimacy – to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are ‘warts ‘n all’.
  • Privacy, the opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience.
  • Sense of status within social groupings.
  • Sense of competence and achievement.
  • Meaning and purpose – which comes from being stretched in what we do and think.

 

Resources

Along with these physical and emotional needs nature has given us an internal guidance system to help us get these needs met. We call these ‘resources’ Our resources are the capabilities we have that enable us to meet our emotional needs.

Some of our Resources include:

  • Long Term Memory
  • Ability to connect with other
  • Imagination
  • Emotions and Instincts
  • A Rational Mind
  • A pattern matching brain
  • An observing self
  • A dreaming brain

All of these resources enable us to get our physical and emotional needs met.

 

For more information on the Human Givens Approach go to the website of The Human Givens Institute

www.hgi.org.uk