Sunday, 30 December 2012

Human Givens: What's in store for 2013?

2012 has been a great year for the Human Givens approach and the 2013 promises to be just as exciting.

A couple of 2012's highlights included:
  • The publication of two peer reviewed research papers on the usefulness of the emotional needs audit (ENA) and the efficacy of using the human givens approach to treat depression.

    One study recommended that "the HG model be officially considered by the NHS as a bona fide model of therapy in its own right. This would greatly hasten the implementation of further studies and ease commissioning from managers acquainted with, and confused by, the variety of therapeutic models to choose from." Anyone who has used the human givens approach over the last decade years will know what a big difference this research could make to organisations and individuals wishing to pitch for funding for HG or further develop the approach to help their clients and service users.
  • The 2012 Human Givens Conference, a huge success. With a theme of "The future of work: a shared vision - Introducing HG ideas and practice into the workplace" guest speakers Pat Gilroy and Nick Leeson blew away the audience with their talks on captivating a sustainable performance culture and blinkered banking.

The Human Givens Blog - almost a year old!
The re-launch of this blog in February 2012 has been a big success, amassing tens of thousands of hits on the 70 posts we have published.

We've had particular interest on our HG Library series, a growing collection of absorbing articles carefully selected from over twenty years of back issues of the Human Givens journal.

Some made available for free for the very first time, the most popular HG Library articles have included:

How PTSD can be treated so quickly: The shared mechanism behind EMDR, EFT and the rewind technique
Joe Griffin suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder treatments that can yield immediate success share an underlying mechanism, which explains their effect.

All in the service of meaning - Joe Griffin talks with Dr Arthur Deikman
In this 1998 discussion with one of the greatest American psychiatrists, Joe Griffin talks with Dr Arthur Deikman about how an understanding of what constitutes consciousness impacts on daily life and you can see some of questions arising that became the heart of the answers provided in their recent book Godhead: the brain’s big bang – the explosive origin of creativity, mysticism and mental illness.

Dr Aric Sigman interview - Television: paying attention, paying the price
Dr Aric Sigman talks with Ivan Tyrrell about the insidiously devastating effects of television on brains, bodies and cultures. Published in Vol 13, No 1 (2006) of the Human Givens Journal.

Twisting the truth: why the mass media misinform
You can’t believe what you read in the newspapers, even the quality ones. Award-winning journalist Nick Davies tells Ivan Tyrrell why. This article was published in Vol 15, No 3 (2008) of the Human Givens journal.

For more articles including interviews with Doris Lessing and James Le Fanu please see the HG Library index page.

What's to come in 2013?

Human Givens in Mexico and Brazil
Human Givens in Mexico and Brazil
Exciting news for Human Givens College is that a bespoke training program for 27 South American professionals (all fluent in English) has been fitted in to the College’s busy 2013 teaching programme. The delegates are being flown over to attend the 18 days of Part I of the HG Diploma in two intense sessions. The following year 20 of them will return to do Part II. The professionals currently work in South American prisons, slums, hospitals, schools and also with indigenous peoples suffering hardship. The idea is that, upon their return they will spread knowledge of human givens and therapeutic techniques to over 100 peers who are less fluent in English. It is very exciting for us that the HG approach is spreading so far.

NEW HG courses on Mindfulness and Cannabis induced Caetextia
We are pleased to announce that two brand Human Givens College courses will be running in 2013 on the topics of mindfulness and cannabis induced caetextia:

Mindfulness in Human Givens Practice, with Sandra Tideman. Sandra introduces the origins of the technique and explains how this useful mental discipline corresponds to certain aspects of the human givens approach. Throughout the day a number of exercises will give you the opportunity to experience mindfulness for yourself and learn how to teach it to patients.This course will be coming to York, Bristol and London. See the course programme and find out how to book.

Cannabis induced Caetextia with Ezra Hewing. Ezra explains how cannabis generates caetextia in a way that unravels the paradoxical effects of cannabis use that cause so much confusion in the substance abuse field, namely: why using cannabis increases the risk of developing mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia; why some people find that cannabis helps them to relax, reduce stress and alleviate the symptoms of mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and why some people find that using cannabis gives rise to unusual thoughts and access to imagination and creativity. The day will also demonstrate, with exercises, how to help people damaged by cannabis use. This course will be taking place in Birmingham, Bristol and London. Find out more and book.

Consciousness and attention: The science of spirituality - the LAST course of its kind
On the 6th and 7th April 2013 the very last Consciousness and attention: the science of spirituality course will be taking place in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

This weekend offers you the chance to explore the most fundamental, cosmic and intimate aspect of your life: your relationship with the universal nature of consciousness. Although we mostly aren’t aware of this it is the quality of this relationship that determines how meaningful our life feels to us. (‘Meaning’ is an innate human need.) The course is designed for those inspired by the ancient injunction to “Know thyself” since all spiritual self-development requires that we do.

This is the last course of its kind that we'll be offering and placed are very limited so book soon.

Keep up to date with the Human Givens approach in 2013 by following us on Twitter and liking our Facebook page.

Most importantly, we would like to thank YOU for all your support this year. We couldn't do what we do without all our readers, subscribersdelegates and social media followers.

We wish you all a very happy new year!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Asperger's Syndrome no longer exists

So according to some, Asperger's Syndrome no longer exists. In the new DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association) the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome have now been merged with the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

This shift in the definition of Aspreger's Syndrome has been a long time coming but is this merging of symptoms enough to fully provide a working organising idea behind this complex disorder?

Autistic traits are now recognised as occurring along a spectrum - with severe autism at one end and a higher-functioning, ‘milder’ form (formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome) at the other. The core areas affected, to varying degrees, are ability to understand and use non-verbal and verbal communication; ability to understand social behaviour and behave in socially appropriate ways; ability to think and behave flexibly; and over- or under-sensitivity to sensory information. Even people labelled as having ASD can vary in the severity and number of traits they display, ranging from severe learning difficulties and low IQ to high IQ and a talent for learning that brings acclaim.

It seems remarkably odd to us that a person who needs specialist help and assisted housing can be included in the same category as a professor of physics, say, or a gifted poet or musician, or a computer programmer who is married with a family - individuals who, despite having ASD have managed to make an accommodation with the world and learn enough of the ‘rules’ to function highly efficiently and relate to people.

We offer a new definition of ASD: 'caetextia' or 'context blindness' defined as a disorder manifesting in the inability to adjust behaviours or perception to deal appropriately with interacting variables.

We suggest that, by looking at the evolutionary history of mammals and humankind, we can arrive at a more comprehensive way of viewing the autistic spectrum than has been offered to date - and that this new understanding can help us help those who seek therapy for psychological difficulties. We are going to put forward the idea that occurring throughout the entire autistic spectrum is a phenomenon that has not previously been identified; that a remarkable mental capacity, one that came to the fore once mammals started to evolve, is missing from all people on the autistic spectrum; and that this major deficit, while it may be just one aspect of what is missing in autism, is uniquely what is missing at the higher performing end of the Asperger’s spectrum. It is the ability to read context.

Find out more about caetextia at

Discover the argument for why this new definition is needed in this video of Irish psychologist Joe Griffin exploring this idea: