Monday, 28 December 2015

Watch a FREE webinar replay for a limited time only - 'Dreams and Depression: Why depressed people wake up tired'


Depression is fascinating! 

Published research shows that human givens therapists get most people out of mild to moderate​ ​depression three times faster than conventional counselling,​ ​psychotherapy and antidepressant treatments used in the NHS.

This webinar replay reveals why – and provides you with​ ​practical ideas on how you can learn to lift depression fast too.

only available until midnight 11th Jan (GMT) <<

During this 90-minute recording, you'll gain essential, groundbreaking information​ including:

  • Why our dreams are often so bizarre – and what this means
  • The important – but little known – insight into the connection between dreaming and depression that is revolutionising treatment and explains why depressed people burn off more energy when they're asleep
  • A straightforward methodology for understanding the meaning of your own dreams – which you can easily test for yourself
  • What your dreams do for you every night – a clear explanation (consistent with the latest neuroscientific findings and sleep research)
  • The requirements of a true, holistic theory of dreaming
  • Why so many counsellors and psychotherapists unwittingly deepen their clients' depression instead of lifting it – sometimes fatally so
  • An understanding of the 'cycle of depression' and what human givens therapists do to break it – and how you can learn to do this too! 

PLUS listen to tutor Ivan Tyrrell answer popular questions on depression and dreaming – and the link between the two...

If you're interested in your dreams, or work with people or know someone who is depressed, you will find this webinar helpful and enlightening...

>> Watch the webinar here - only available until 11th January at midnight (GMT) <<

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Human Givens Gift Certificates for Christmas!


The winter holidays are a time for reflection, for thinking, for learning – and for reading! 

Prepare for your holiday-hibernation with books that will excite your mind, further develop your skills and deepen your knowledge about what it means to be human…

Discover your next read or CD here: www.humangivens.com

And don’t worry, if you can’t decide now – you can buy an HG Publishing gift certificate on the website instead!

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If our training courses are more your thing give a memorable and meaningful gift this year with our new HG College gift vouchers now available to purchase - call: 01323 811690!

You can pay in full or make a contribution towards a live or online course for your loved one – or you could always put it on your own list for Santa... Just call the office to buy yours.

The gift vouchers can be redeemed against any of our seminars and workshops OR online courses, and even the Diploma – browse our courses here.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Watch a FREE Human Givens Webinar replay - only available until Monday 14th December at midnight (GMT)





The replay of our most popular webinar to date is now available for you to watch on-demand – at no cost to you – until Monday 14th December!


Ivan Tyrrell shares an enormous number of ideas and tips that will help you further develop your skills as a psychotherapist or counsellor.


Don't miss it – the replay will come down at midnight (GMT) on Monday 14th December!

 You will discover:

> What exceptional psychotherapists and counsellors do that makes a difference
> The six vital steps for structuring an effective therapy session
> The do's and don'ts of psychotherapy
>How to bring renewed hope to your clients and colleagues
>The essential 21 skills you need to be a brilliant therapist...

..And more!

"The whole webinar was extremely inspiring. Thank you."  
 "Much needed, clear and valuable information on how to become an even better therapist. Thanks heaps!"

You will also hear Ivan's responses to questions posed by people facing similar challenges to you...

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Monday, 7 December 2015

New at Human Givens College in 2016..



The new year sees another new addition to the ever growing team of Human Givens College tutors as Jo Ham presents an invaluable CPD course entitled:

Creative Ways to Rewind Trauma – new ideas for helping adults and children with Asperger's, psychosis, and extreme hypervigilance.


Jo says “I am delighted to tell you all about the new workshop that I’m running on Saturday 27th February in London. I’m planning a lively and interactive day for all of you therapists who are already using the Rewind and may be looking for some creative techniques to build confidence when treating those even harder- to-reach or resistant patients. 

 "So, expect an enthusiastic and fast-paced day which will leave you energised, enthusiastic and ready to try out your new extended tools to help you reach those parts you might not have been able to reach before. A bit like those telescopic hedge trimmers you see in the Sunday supplements, only different…!” 

The course will run on Saturday 27th February in London and Wednesday 15th June in Bristolbook your place online or click here to find out more.


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Online Counselling Course: How to make counselling more effective



LATEST HUMAN GIVENS ONLINE TRAINING

How to make counselling more effective

 - with tutor: Joe Griffin

Counselling is on offer everywhere, yet its effectiveness varies enormously. Some counsellors are brilliant, others useless – some even harm clients (albeit unwittingly). Despite the wealth of research findings available to us today, the field of counselling and talking therapies still lacks a shared, cohesive evidence-based approach as to the best ways to help people – as a result, and despite the hardworking army of counsellors and psychotherapists (operating from a wide range of models), the rates of depression, anxiety disorders, addictive behaviour etc continue to climb.

This course cuts through the ideology and concentrates on what we know from research findings works – and why – important information if you want to ensure you're helping your patients as quickly and effectively as possible. 

Tutor Joe Griffin is an acknowledged expert on psychological interventions for depression, anxiety, anger disorders, trauma and addiction. He has transformed the outcomes of thousands of counsellors by showing them how to work with the givens of human nature – the result is a truly holistic, evidence-based and powerfully effective approach that empowers clients and helps them build resilience against future setbacks.

“Best course I've attended in ages.”
- Child protection officer

“I've learnt more today than on my 2-year university course!”
- Counsellor
If you work with, or support, distressed adults or children, you will gain essential new information that will make your work easier and more effective. The course also provides an excellent foundation for anyone interested in becoming a counsellor or psychotherapist – it will help you see the wood for the trees – and could even save you years of wasted effort!

Discover for yourself what can be done to make counselling much more reliably effective – and why this powerful approach is inspiring so many in the caring and teaching professions.


Take the course now.

What you will gain from the course.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

What should the new shadow minister for mental health know?


Luciana Berger MP, the new shadow minister for mental health.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has appointed Luciana Berger MP to a new role in Government, 'shadow minister for mental health'.

While we don't yet know exactly what responsibilities the new post will involve, it is encouraging to see a political party seemingly taking emotional wellness as seriously as physical health. But what should the new shadow minister for mental health know about the subject to succeed in this new role?

For decades mental health provision has languished behind that of physical health, with hundreds of types of counselling, treatments and theories competing for attention and inclusion in the NICE guidelines. Approaches to psychotherapy are confused, myths about mental health abound and now one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in the next year. This is an issue that is not going away and it is crucial that the right steps are taken to deal with it.

Now is the right time for those in charge to go back to basics and try to answer the question: what makes a human being mentally healthy?

If we can agree on the answer to this question we can start to make changes and understand why mental illness is so rife in our society.

Fortunately, this isn't yet another thing that needs money ploughing into it to discover – the work has already been done.

Over 20 years ago, this very question was what the founders of the human givens approach, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, set out to answer. They ignored the ideology and myths abounding in the field and, taking as their starting point what it means to be a human, they concentrated on scientific evidence, looking for what we know impacts on our mental health and what we need in order to live emotionally healthy and satisfying lives.

The result of their research is a truly holistic, bio-social-psychological framework for mental health and wellbeing. One which, when combined with the many new discoveries also deriving from their research, is dramatically improving outcomes and cutting costs wherever it is implemented. (Read more about the benefits of the approach here)

Through the research that went into the development of the human givens approach, we now know the universal law:
A human being cannot be mentally unwell if our emotional needs (we call them 'human givens') are met in balance. 
What are these needs and what resources do we have to meet them?

Our innate emotional needs are:

  • A sense of security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to relax and develop fully 
  • Attention — a form of nutrition. To give and receive good quality attention fuels the healthy development of each individual, family and human group. It is also the means by which knowledge is passed on and cultures grow 
  • Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices (When we feel out of control, especially of important elements of our lives, we become increasingly anxious and even depressed.) 
  • Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all” 
  • Feeling part of a wider community – a sense of ‘belonging’ 
  • Sense of status within social groups – we need to feel valued by our peers 
  • Sense of competence and achievement (which comes from successful learning and effectively applying skills – the antidote to ‘low self-esteem’) 
  • Privacy — opportunity to reflect on life’s experiences and consolidate them 
  • A sense of meaning and purpose — which comes from both being ‘stretched’ in what we do and think, and being needed. 

Our innate resources to meet needs are:
  • The ability to develop complex long-term memory, which enables us to add to our innate knowledge and learn 
  • The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others  
  • Imagination, which enables us to focus our attention away from our emotions, use language and problem solve more creatively and objectively  
  • Emotions and instincts  
  • A conscious, rational mind that can check out our emotions, question, analyse and plan 
  • The ability to ‘know’ — that is, understand the world unconsciously through metaphorical pattern matching 
  • An observing self — that part of us that can step back, be more objective and be aware of itself as a unique centre of awareness, apart from intellect, emotion and conditioning 
  • A dreaming brain that de-stresses us every night and preserves the integrity of our genetic inheritance by metaphorically defusing emotional arousals (‘expectations’) still present in the autonomic arousal system (because they were not acted upon the previous day). 

Why is this important?


At its core is a highly empowering idea – that human beings, like all organic beings, come into this world with a set of needs. If those needs are met appropriately, it is not possible to be mentally ill.

Perhaps no more powerful a statement could ever be made about the human condition: If human beings' needs are met, they won't get depressed; they cannot have psychosis; they cannot have bipolar disorder; they cannot be in the grip of addictions. It is just not possible.

To get our physical and emotional needs met, nature has gifted us our very own internal 'guidance programme' – this, together with our needs, makes up what we call the human givens.

We come into the world with an instinctive knowledge of what we need and with a set of inner resources that can help us get our needs met, provided we use them properly and are living in a healthy environment. And here is where a health minister comes in...

So what should a minister for mental health understand?

We have made available online a document that explains our vision for good government, the Human Givens Charter.

The Human Givens Charter derives from the universal law of all living organisms: That, to survive, each living thing must continually maintain and rebuild itself by taking in appropriate nourishment from the environment. The existence and survival of all life forms depend on this. The specific needs of each species’ are genetically programmed in to drive every member of it to fulfil its potential. When these innate needs are met well in the environment it flourishes.

None of us can escape this universal law while we are alive. It is the key to emotional health and clear thinking and, as such, we must take account of its truth in everything we do, including how we die. Every policy and plan should derive from being underpinned by this principle. It ensures fair and wholesome management of human affairs. 
The prime purpose of government therefore is to ensure that the innate physical and emotional needs of the people it serves are met well.
Since we elect people to take roles in government every citizen has a duty to consider how well we are governed and how our taxes are spent.

This means we all have a responsibility to ask the following questions of politicians and managers, and demand clear answers. Each question cuts to the core of the matter by taking account of the human givens.
  • Is my government successfully ensuring that our basic physical needs can be reliably met — i.e. those for food, unpolluted water, pure air, space to exercise, freedom to move about the country unhindered, quiet time to sleep? 
  • Is it contributing to a social climate that takes account of the full range of each person’s emotional and physical needs? 
  •  Is it effectively maintaining an environment where people feel secure and are free to go safely about their lives? 
  • Is it both encouraging and protecting environments and activities that enable children and adults to feel emotionally connected to others, to experience and enjoy friendship and intimacy (in the family and beyond), and demonstrate that each individual feels valued by the wider community? 
  • Is it providing the conditions (but not prescribing the method) for the cultivation of a culture where children and adults can easily be stretched in healthy ways both mentally and physically (as in education, work, play) so that they find meaning and purpose in life? 
  •  Is it encouraging working practices which take into account the needs of all involved? (Does it, for example, consider the innate needs of teachers and nurses as being as equally important as the needs of children and patients?) 
  • Is it providing the facilities and services that cater, as best as is reasonably possible, for the sick and vulnerable? 
  • Is it building trust in public services and raising the morale of those who work in them? 
  • In any particular situation is it behaving wisely or foolishly with regard to innate needs? 
  • Is it maintaining good contacts and building co-operative relationships with other countries around the world in ways that consider the innate needs of the people of those countries too? 
There is an interesting parallel between the worlds of psychotherapy and politics. Each of the hundreds of different models of therapy have little bits of truth in them which they institutionalise and try to operate in isolation from, or opposition to, other models. The same thing happens in politics. It is clear in psychotherapy that all of the models cannot be right (hence the evolution of the human givens approach which subsumes what techniques and insights are useful within a larger organising idea that explains why they are effective).

Likewise, the various different political approaches cannot be right. Traditional parties align themselves along a left to right dimension. Those on the left seek to protect the rights of the majority at the expense of the individual, whilst those on the right seek to protect the rights of the individual at the expense of the majority. Each party recognises some human needs, but by failing to recognise others, which also need to be met in balance, they only succeed in destabilising society further when they attain power. When everyone can see what needs to change, and how, we can set about doing it. The human givens needs audit gives us a benchmark against which to measure all plans and policies.

See the Human Givens Charter website to download the full PDF of the Human Givens Charter.

Watch a short video introduction on the human givens approach.

Find out more about where the human givens ideas came from.

Monday, 7 September 2015

How to support teenagers through the stress of university life - FREE Human Givens Webinar - Wednesday 9th September at 7.30pm



Do you have son or daughter going about to go to university? Do you want to know how best to support them – and yourself?

Learn how to prepare for the many changes and challenges that university brings by attending this FREE informative webinar from Human Givens College on:

Wednesday 9th September 7.30PM BST (UK) - 8.30PM CET - 2.30PM EST (US) 

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You’ll have the chance to ask questions and will discover:

  • Practical steps you can take to help them prepare for university – even in the last few days before they go
  • Why the transition into university can be difficult for almost all students – and how it can be made easier
  • The myths about university and student life that can trip up many students and parents, plus what to expect from the early weeks of term – what you shouldn’t worry about
  • A guide to the key processes students go through during the first weeks of university and how they can use this time to make the next three years better
  • An understanding of the holistic nature of learning at university level and what this means for students
  • Advice on what to do if or when things aren’t going as well as hoped – including tips on managing anxiety
  • Why it’s important for parents to look after their own emotional health and some ways you might do this
  • How to prepare for the changes you will see in your son or daughter

This free 90-minute webinar has been created for:

 • Parents of prospective university students – anywhere in the world
• Teenagers about to embark on university life
 • Professionals working in schools and universities

The Tutor

Gareth Hughes is a Human Givens psychotherapist working in the Counselling Service at the University of Derby. Alongside his counselling role, Gareth conducts research into the wellbeing of students, including the links between wellbeing and academic performance, and learning and emotions. His research has been published in various academic journals. He has a particular interest in exam anxiety, presentation anxiety, writer's block and the transition of students to university. Gareth also teaches and facilitates workshops at the University as part of the award nominated 'Love Your Mind' programme.

"Gareth's webinar was very well presented – really interesting and thought provoking!"
– Previous Webinar Participant

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Watching Human Givens Therapy in action - A special day for HG graduates



Are you a Human Givens Diploma graduate? 

Here is a brand new opportunity to watch therapy in action

Over the last 15 years of the diploma course, therapy sessions by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, working with distressed patients, were filmed on the understanding that only College students could view them for educational purposes.

The College now holds a vast library of filmed therapy sessions by the two originators of the most effective approach to therapy. Over the years many College graduates have asked to see films of Joe and Ivan working with patients on other Diploma courses than the one they attended.

They all said that watching people being helped by the HG approach improved their understanding of the theory and exercises taught on the course.

A brilliant CPD opportunity

On this CPD day, you will see the first session and the follow up session, which takes place approximately four weeks later, with two patients.

The first was filmed on the HG Diploma in Bristol in 2014 where Joe is working with a young man. He has a family history of addiction and has suffered from addiction himself since being a teenager; he is currently suffering from an addiction to codeine. Joe explains how to cope with withdrawal symptoms and how to ‘wear out’ the pattern match that gives rise to the cravings and demonstrates clearly how to recondition the memory store.

The second patient was filmed in York in 2007 and shows Ivan working sensitively with a young Asian woman who suffered years of childhood sexual abuse and then, as an adult, was forced by her family to have an abortion that she didn’t want. The films show Ivan skilfully building rapport to gain her trust before using the rewind technique to deactivate her multiple traumas.

In the second session he reframes the sadness she feels around issues of loss. As none of the four films shown lasts more than an hour the day will allow plenty of time for discussion between attendees and the facilitator, VĂ©ronique Chown, on what they have seen.

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For more information, dates and venues please visit this page on the Human Givens College website.

Monday, 6 July 2015

FREE Human Givens Webinar - Dreams and depression: Why depressed people always wake up tired


Dreams and depression: Why depressed people always wake up tired
- with tutor Ivan Tyrrell

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This free 90 minute webinar will be taking place on Thursday 16th July at 7.30pm BST (UK) - 8.30pm CET (Central European Time) - 2.30PM EST (US).

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 -- PLACES ARE LIMITED SO RESERVE YOURS NOW --

__________________ 

Depression is fascinating! Published research shows that human givens therapists get most people out of mild to moderate depression three times faster than conventional counselling, psychotherapy and antidepressant treatments used in the NHS.

This webinar reveals WHY – and provides you with practical ideas on how you can learn to lift depression fast too.

If you know someone who is depressed and seeking help you should attend this webinar. You'll have the chance to ask questions about this important topic (up to 1-in-5 people suffer from anxiety and depression in the UK) and will gain essential, groundbreaking information:

  • Why our dreams are often so bizarre – and what this means
  • The important – but little known – insight into the connection between dreaming and depression that is revolutionising treatment and explains why depressed people burn off more energy when they're asleep
  • A straightforward methodology for understanding the meaning of your own dreams – which you can easily test for yourself
  • What your dreams do for you every night – a clear explanation (consistent with the latest neuroscientific findings and sleep research)
  • The requirements of a true, holistic theory of dreaming
  • Why so many counsellors and psychotherapists unwittingly deepen their clients' depression instead of lifting it – sometimes fatally so
  • An understanding of the 'cycle of depression' and what human givens therapists do to break it – and how you can learn to do this too!
  • PLUS the chance to ask Ivan Tyrrell your own questions on depression and dreaming – and the link between the two... 

 If you know someone who is depressed, you should attend this FREE 90-minute webinar.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Just-So Story: How 'Human Givens' got its name


Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell

We recently asked HG co-founder Ivan Tyrrell how ‘Human Givens’ got its name.

This was his reply:

"In 1995 Joe Griffin, Pat Williams, Barry Winbolt and I began teaching weekend courses to introduce psychological interventions that can make psychotherapy and counselling more effective and improve outcomes.

“Initially we called the training ‘Core Skills’ but soon realised that this wasn't attractive to most people working in psychotherapy or mental health because they didn't believe they lacked information or skills. It was frustrating because we knew we could help them enhance their effectiveness. But we had a lot to learn ourselves. For a start we had to sell our concept: we needed to call it something that people could latch on to.

“One day Joe and I met with a small group of Ericksonian hypnotherapists and NLP enthusiasts. They wanted to join us in teaching Core Skills, but from a perspective based on the only models they knew about. Joe tried to explain our ideas about a more holistic approach to wellbeing that drew on scientific findings and well-established knowledge.

 “ 'It can’t be right that there are so many different models of psychotherapy', said Joe. 'You never find hundreds of different models in other fields'. When this didn’t hit home, Joe got more emphatic. 'Look! We know that people need to feel secure, it’s a given, they need attention, that’s a given, they need to be connected to the community, another given, people need intimate relationships, they need meaning in their lives, these are all givens!' But the others round the table didn’t seem to understand what he was getting at – they wanted to stick to promoting Ericksonian hypnotherapy and NLP techniques and restrict ourselves to that market.

“We knew that no progress would be made unless a bigger organising idea was developed.

 “We left the meeting feeling despondent at how unadventurous their thinking was, fixed as it was in their belief that they already had the answers. And yet Joe’s presentation had fired me up. As we walked the pavements through grey drizzling rain, I suddenly stopped, turned to him and said, ‘Why don’t we call what we are teaching the ‘Human Givens’? No one will have heard of it, and curious people – who are the kind we are looking for – will ask us, “What does human givens mean?” and that will give us an opportunity to explain it.’

“I felt sure that deep inside most people knew they had innate emotional needs and that they were a ‘given’ and the natural starting point for therapy. Joe liked the idea and so ‘the human givens approach’ was born.
The rest, as they say, is history."

Monday, 29 June 2015

New issue of the Human Givens journal out now


http://www.humangivens.com/publications/publications/volume-22-no-1-2015.htm


What's inside this issue:

Editorial: The intention behind focusing attention

How we are: 
News, views and information: Role of the amygdala • teenagers and risk • belonging • triggering forgetting • false memory • predicting suicide • thinking versus feeling • language and perception • bystander effect in children • writing as therapy • expectation • inattention • playing up for dad • loneliness and social pressure • addictions • depression and falls • job loss • boredom and schizophrenia

The pleasures within life’s limits 

Pat Williams takes a truly epicurean view

The uses and abuses of hypnosis

Ivan Tyrrell warns of the dark side of what we know as a powerful therapeutic tool

 “If the doors and windows are locked, try the keyhole” 

Martin Dunne thinks laterally to help a woman refusing to face her anorexia

“I’m only here because they wanted me to come” 

Jo Ham works hard to engage a nervous client not willingly attending therapy

Seeing beyond sight loss 

Denise Winn talks with Tom Pey about the major challenges of helping young blind people to get their needs met

Ethical dilemmas of working with older people 

Declan Lyons and Therese O’Carroll take a human givens approach to the ethics of caregiving for older people

A little bit special 

Sandra Robilliard makes new sense of her life, after discovery that she is on the autistic spectrum

Helping couples cope with their struggle for a child 

Emma Charlton uses a human givens framework for the fertility support group she co-facilitates

Sandwell’s trailblazing mental health service: the update 

Ian Walton describes the inspirational results of changed primary care practices, part inspired by the human givens approach

PLUS: Book Reviews


Find out more about the Human Givens journal and subscribe here.

Monday, 22 June 2015

HG Library: Our playful species - Ivan Tyrrell talks with Desmond Morris

Ivan Tyrrell discusses with Desmond Morris why human beings became creative symbolisers and why so many artists lead dysfunctional personal lives. This interview is from the Human Givens Journal Volume 20, No 2, (2013).
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Interview with Desmond Morris - Our playful species.

Ivan Tyrrell (left) and Desmond Morris (right)

TYRRELL: I greatly enjoyed your new book, The Artistic Ape, which features over 350 fascinating artworks from across the world to illustrate your exploration of the evolution of art over the past three million years. It touches on so many topics of interest to me – not only art history but also the origins of creativity and why we humans have the urge to transform what we see. Yet, back in the 1960s, you were mocked for saying in your groundbreaking book, The Naked Ape, that we had not only basic animal needs but also more complex ones.

The Artistic Ape
MORRIS: Yes. I got into enormous trouble for saying that humans have a lot of inborn qualities beyond basic survival ones such as feeding and mating. We are the most playful species, and our brains are designed in such a way that they require continual activity. The worse thing you can do to human beings is put them in solitary confinement with nothing to do.

TYRRELL: Absolutely: a terrible fate to contemplate.

MORRIS: I think there are two categories of givens, to use your excellent term: the essential ones, like breathing, feeding, drinking, temperature control and so on – those are class A givens because, without those, you quickly die. The class B givens, which are the ones that you’re interested in, make you thoroughly miserable if they are not met, but don’t kill you.

TYRRELL: Some people kill themselves when class B needs aren’t met, though.

MORRIS: Well, that’s right. So let’s say that from slightly miserable through to clinically depressed and suicidal is the range of conditions you suffer from if your class B givens are not satisfied, and they are the ones that have been ignored. No one can ignore the class A givens. But, back in the 50s and 60s, learning psychologists argued that everything else is conditioning. They thought that we came into the world as a blank slate and society wrote everything on it. When I said that this was wrong and that we had a whole lot of other needs, I was vilified.

TYRRELL: You say in your new book that art began with a need – to celebrate a special occasion.

MORRIS: Quite so. Life for a herbivore is just non-stop solitary eating whereas, when you kill a large animal, you suddenly have a feast to enjoy and you want to celebrate the knowledge that the tribe isn’t going to starve. So the feast became hugely important to our hunter–gatherer ancestors. Our playful primate brains couldn’t do what lions do – sleep for 16 hours after a hunt and a meal – that didn’t suit our type of brain. We had to celebrate! To make this a special occasion, we started singing, dancing, painting our faces and telling stories. That, I believe, was the root of art. I can’t prove it but when you look at child art, and at the extraordinary artistic creativity throughout all cultures, producing art seems to have become an innate need. We have to visually improve the environment and make it more interesting and this has come out of that early need to celebrate I think.

A celebration wasn’t just a playful thing – it was beyond that; it also cemented the social bonds of the tribe. You only have to look at the present hunting ritual of the football match to see the way supporters are cemented together by their love of Darlington United or whatever. If it is their club, they care desperately about the goal being scored, because the scoring of the goal is a metaphorical killing of the prey. And, if they win the cup, huge celebrations occur. The passion and emotion that goes into a simple ball game is extraordinary because it recreates that ancient circumstance and gives people a chance to celebrate.

This whole story of elaborating the environment through art, making everything more attractive, more colourful, more complicated, more exaggerated, seems to me to be so deeply engrained that you have to start thinking, well, maybe this is a given too – a deep seated innate need. I don’t see it as an emotional need; I see it in terms of brain activity – the human brain abhors inactivity. One way it adds activity is in what I call adult play: the arts, scientific research, all the activities that we look upon as our greatest achievements are really just forms of adult play. We are exercising the brain and keeping the brain busy and, if you don’t do that in some way or another, then you cannot flourish.

TYRRELL: Yes. What we talk about is the innate need to be physically and mentally stretched in several ways. A busy brain is a healthy brain. We find meaning in activity.

MORRIS: It’s a tremendously important given. I have travelled all over the world, 107 countries now, and haven’t yet found a culture where this need for meaningful activity or play doesn’t apply. I was in an extremely remote part of Africa once, where the people were scratching a living, just surviving; their houses were a few sticks. It was the most appalling inhospitable place I had ever been to; the temperature was about 130 ̊F. They had no belongings – just a couple of spears, a cooking pot and a few goats. Then I looked at their loincloths and they were covered in beads. One particular one had a button and zip fasteners stitched into it; these would have been scraps of rubbish they found somewhere.


TYRRELL: Isn’t that strange? And it goes right the way back. Some amazing 30,000 year-old bead costumes were uncovered in a burial site near to Moscow. There were thousands of ivory mammoth beads and it was estimated that each one of them took an hour to drill!

MORRIS: The thing is, provided your tribe has the basic survival needs covered, food, shelter and so on, the primate brain won’t let people sit around doing nothing. It isn’t designed that way, so, once you are beyond survival, you have to keep your brain active or you become stressed.

TYRRELL: But what about these tribes in South America that spend hours lying about in ham- mocks? A lot of people seem to be content to do very little – in our culture too.

MORRIS: Yes, I have one of those hammocks; it took a girl three years to make. It’s a work of art. I am thinking of some tribes in Columbia, which shut a girl away when she first menstruates, allowing her out only at night, to be washed by her mother. She is isolated in a room and has to stay there for her teenage years making a hammock. It is the most beautiful thing, a creative artistic act, rather than something for resting on. When she has finished her hammock, she is released and there is a ritual dance in which she bumps into young men and knocks them over and, after the dance, she chooses one of them and I suppose they get to use the hammock. But, as for doing very little, yes, there are some tribes who at a very early stage discovered narcotics and magic mushrooms and all these other natural narcotics. The one way that you can overcome the human brain’s need for activity is to drug it, and narcotics have been used for centuries for that.

TYRRELL: You mentioned child art earlier. I found your descriptions in The Artistic Ape of the innate progression of child art fascinating.

MORRIS: It is. A colleague of mine went all over the world giving children paper and pencils and found that, at certain ages, they all draw exactly the same things. She was absolutely astonished. They all start by scribbling, then eventually get round to drawing a circle, then put marks inside the circle. Then they gradually organise those marks into a face and have legs and arms coming out of it. This behaviour is universal, as is drawing the sun with rays coming out of it – wherever you go, if children draw the sun, they draw rays coming out of it. But these rays don’t exist in nature!

TYRRELL: So why do they draw them?

>> FOLLOW THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO CONTINUE:

Monday, 25 May 2015

FREE HUMAN GIVENS WEBINAR: How to Reduce Anxiety in Students and Young People

If you help students and young people to manage their emotions – or improve their learning and academic performance – don't miss this free HG webinar on:

WEDNESDAY 3RD JUNE 7.30PM BST (UK) - 8.30PM CET - 2.30PM EST (US) 

You'll have the chance to ask questions and will discover:
  • How anxiety: contributes to poor learning, reduces motivation, causes writer’s block, freezes students' ability to remember what they’ve learned, impacts negatively on exam performance, messes up presentations and more 
  • The important links between learning and emotion 
  • New insights into why so many of our students and young people experience anxiety today – and the serious impact this can have on their mental health (in some cases leading to suicide) 
  • Key factors to remember when you're working with anxious students and young people 
  •  Fast, effective techniques to unblock thinking and lower anxiety levels 
  • Effective strategies for improving learning and retention that are in tune with how our brains actually work
  • A holistic model of learning that brings it all together 
  •  A range of clear, practical actions that students (and tutors!) can take to start reducing their anxiety right away 

Webinar tutor: Gareth Hughes

Gareth is a Human Givens psychotherapist working in the Counselling Service at the University of Derby.

Alongside his counselling role, Gareth conducts research into the wellbeing of students, including the links between wellbeing and academic performance, and learning and emotions. His research has been published in various academic journals. He has a particular interest in exam anxiety, presentation anxiety, writer's block and the transition of students to university.

Gareth also teaches and facilitates workshops at the University as part of the award nominated 'Love Your Mind' programme.

Places on this FREE webinar are limited – to avoid missing out, reserve yours now using by signing up on this page. You will then receive immediate confirmation and emailed details of how to join the webinar.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Psychosis



From 11-17th May 2015 it's the Mental Health Foundation's Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help raise awareness and share useful information we will be taking one common mental health problem every day and providing a master list of links to as many of our resources, articles and information about that topic that we can fit into a blog post!

We encourage you to SHARE, EXPLORE and DISCUSS the information in these posts so we can help change how we view and treat mental health for the better.

Friday's topic is psychosis.

                                                        ______________________

One curious research finding, which has been confirmed by several major studies in five-year follow ups, shows that about 64 per cent of people in third world countries recover fully after a first schizophrenic breakdown. Yet the comparative figures for the developed world show that only about 18 per cent recover fully. 

Psychiatric theorists are at a loss to explain psychosis. The various simplistic ideas that it is caused by specific deficiencies in brain chemistry, such as ‘overactive dopamine systems’, have not been supported by research, despite the strident and misleading claims of some drug companies to the contrary.

In our book, Human Givens: The new approach to emotional health and clear thinking (see link below), we described how the REM brain state, which underlies dreaming, is separate from the process of dreaming and dream content. It is also clear that the healthy brain is organised to keep the dream process separate from the waking state, which is why we find it so difficult to remember dreams.  We have shown how the behaviour of a person in a hypnotic state clearly mirrors phenomena of the REM state, such as muscle paralysis, dissociation, imperviousness to pain, and amnesia for the event after ‘waking’. Explore the following links to find out more about what psychosis is and how it can be treated.

INFORMATION & ARTICLES
Schizophrenia and psychosis: Can it be cured? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/psychosis.htm#.VVTXSWZ7vJw

The link between psychotic symptoms and the dream (REM) state: http://why-we-dream.com/psychosis.htm

A new look at psychosis Ivan Tyrrell and Richard Bentall discuss patient-centred new approaches to the understanding and treatment of psychotic illness. http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/newlook-psychosis.htm#.VVTYyGZ7vJw

Imagination and madness. Ivan Tyrrell talks with Daniel Nettle about the far closer than expected connection between psychosis and creative thinking: http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/imagination.htm#.VVTYnmZ7vJw

TREATING PSYCHOSIS

If you would like professional help with stress and psychotic symptoms please see our register of Human Givens Therapists: http://www.hgi.org.uk/register/index.htm

Find out how well your emotional needs are being met by taking our emotional needs audit:
http://www.hgi.org.uk/ena/index.htm

View all our Mental Health Tip blog posts in one place:
http://blog.humangivens.com/p/self-help-tips.html

TRAINING
From stress to psychosis ‒ how to prevent mental illness:
This training day explores what happens in the brain when it is put under stress and how this affects our emotional life and mental health.  It also shows how the latest knowledge and insights can be easily applied to improve the mental health of people suffering from a wide range of conditions – including the more serious.
http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/stress-to-psychosis.html

You can also take this course ONLINE at a time, place and pace that suits you: http://hgonlinecourses.com/stress-psychosis-online-course

BOOKS
Why we dream: the definitive answer.
How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad
http://www.humangivens.com/publications/why-we-dream2.html

Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/human-givens-book.html - find out how the human givens approach can revolutionise mental health treatment.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Share this post, learn as much as you can about what promotes good mental health and always strive to create a life that meets as many of your innate emotional needs as possible for yourself and everyone around you.

What are our innate emotional needs (human givens)? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVB-02Z7vJw

How you can support the Human Givens Foundation: http://www.hgfoundation.com/how_you_can_help.html



Thank you for reading.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Addiction





From 11-17th May 2015 it's the Mental Health Foundation's Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help raise awareness and share useful information we will be taking one common mental health problem every day and providing a master list of links to as many of our resources, articles and information about that topic that we can fit into a blog post!

We encourage you to SHARE, EXPLORE and DISCUSS the information in these posts so we can help change how we view and treat mental health for the better.

Today we will look at ADDICTION:

Vast numbers of us do things to excess, or have the feeling that it might be difficult to stop doing something, or sometimes wonder why on earth we have just done something that seemed attractive before we did it.

In a well-balanced life, a reasonable amount of natural reward is felt by the human every day, but in a life where essential emotional needs (or human givens ) are not met and abilities are not stretched, the rewards do not come and life feels flat and meaningless. This kind of life is rich territory for addictions to target, as every addictive substance or behaviour either stimulates a reward mechanism or provides a chemical reward directly.

To get away from addictive behaviour it is necessary to understand two things: the way these reward mechanisms work, and the way life should be constructed in order to receive the natural rewards that make addictive activities less attractive.

INFORMATION 
What is addiction and how to beat it: http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/addiction.htm#.VVOOSmZ7vJw
 

Joe Griffin goes back to basics to arrive at a some powerful new insights into the givens of human nature. This article from a 2004 edition of the Human Givens journal explores many of the essential insights the human givens approach is centered on and provides the basis for the most up to date model of addiction available today:
http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/11/hg-library-landmark-article-great.html

TREATING ADDICTION
If you would like professional help with addiction please see our register of Human Givens Therapists: http://www.hgi.org.uk/register/index.htm

Find out how well your emotional needs are being met by taking our emotional needs audit:
http://www.hgi.org.uk/ena/index.htm

View all our Mental Health Tip blog posts in one place:
http://blog.humangivens.com/p/self-help-tips.html

TRAINING
Tackling addiction: Understanding and treating all types of addictive behaviour. This course focuses on a greater understanding of the addictive process and what drives it. Choose a date in the city nearest you: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/stopping-addictive-behaviour.html

You can also take this course online at a time, place and pace that suits you: http://hgonlinecourses.com/tackling-addiction-online-course

To learn how to treat addictions choose this course on a date in the nearest city to you:
Brief therapy for stopping addictions – a practical skills-based day: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/stopping-addictions-skillspractice.html

BOOKS
Freedom from addiction: The secret behind successful addiction busting
http://www.humangivens.com/publications/freedom-from-addiction.html

Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/human-givens-book.html - find out how the human givens approach can revolutionise mental health treatment.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Share this post, learn as much as you can about what promotes good mental health and always strive to create a life that meets as many of your innate emotional needs as possible for yourself and everyone around you. If you know anyone who is suffering from addiction, refer them to a therapist who understands how addiction really works.

What are our innate emotional needs (human givens)? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVB-02Z7vJw

How you can support the Human Givens Foundation: http://www.hgfoundation.com/how_you_can_help.html

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Trauma and PTSD

 From 11-17th May 2015 it's the Mental Health Foundation's Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help raise awareness and share useful information we will be taking one common mental health problem every day and providing a master list of links to as many of our resources, articles and information about that topic that we can fit into a blog post!

We encourage you to SHARE, EXPLORE and DISCUSS the information in these posts so we can help change how we view and treat mental health for the better.

                                                  ________________________


Today we will look at TRAUMA and PTSD:

There are two kinds of bad memories. Some fade slowly, so that a year or so later the memory of the car crash, or whatever it was, is no longer intrusive, and in time it goes away only to be recalled as an ordinary narrative memory about some unfortunate incident you once experienced.

Traumatic memories do not fade in the same way, and as time goes by they may become worse. These memories are usually connected with a life threatening or other serious event and are more deeply embedded in the brain as a 'survival template'. If they are not treated they may continue to fire off strong emotional reactions at inappropriate moments and thereby cause trouble for the rest of the sufferer's life in the form of #phobias, trauma or PTSD.

PLEASE NOTE: The HGI strongly recommends that the rewind technique be the treatment of choice for anyone suffering from a traumatic memory or full-blown PTSD. This is not only because it is the most consistently effective, non-intrusive technique, but also because it has additional in-built safety factors for lowering emotional arousal.

INFORMATION
What is PTSD and what kind of event can cause it? Treatment for and dealing with PTSD, trauma and phobias: http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/trauma.htm#.VVMR12Z7vJw

The rewind technique is currently the best way to treat trauma. What is it and how does it work? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/rewind-technique.htm#.VVMTTmZ7vJw

Article: 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.
http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/08/how-ptsd-can-be-treated-so-quickly.html

TREATING PTSD
If you think you might be suffering from trauma and would like to see an effective therapist trained in the rewind technique, please see our register of Human Givens Therapists: http://www.hgi.org.uk/register/index.htm

If you are a military service veteran with PTSD please contact Resolution, a charity which provides free human givens therapy to military veterans: http://blog.humangivens.com/2013/01/how-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd.html

View all our Mental Health Tip blog posts in one place:
http://blog.humangivens.com/p/self-help-tips.html

TRAINING
Learn how to use the rewind technique, the most effective way to treat trauma and PTSD on our popular two-day master course:
The fast trauma (PTSD) and phobia cure:
http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/rewind-technique-training.html

BOOKS

How to master anxiety - All you need to know to overcome stress, panic attacks, phobias, trauma, obsessions and more... http://www.humangivens.com/publications/how-to-master-anxiety.html

Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/human-givens-book.html find out how the human givens approach can revolutionise mental health treatment.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Share this post, learn as much as you can about what promotes good mental health and always strive to create a life that meets as many of your innate emotional needs as possible for yourself and everyone around you. If you know anyone who is suffering from trauma, refer them to a therapist who understands how to use the rewind technique.

What are our innate emotional needs (human givens)? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVB-02Z7vJw

How you can support the Human Givens Foundation: http://www.hgfoundation.com/how_you_can_help.html

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Anxiety

From 11-17th May 2015 it's Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help raise awareness and share useful information we will be taking one common mental health problem every day and providing a master list of links to as many of our resources, articles and information about that topic that we can fit into a blog post!

We encourage you to SHARE, EXPLORE and DISCUSS the information in these posts so we can help change how we view and treat mental health for the better.

Today we will look at ‪‎ANXIETY‬:

Anxiety is a gift from nature because it aids survival — none of us would live long if anxiety didn't stop us from taking foolhardy risks! But, like anything else, excessive anxiety can be problematic and become as disabling as any chronic physical illness. Excessive fears and worry, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behaviours and post-traumatic stress reactions are all forms of out of control anxiety.

If you suffer from one of these conditions, or if your days are blighted by continual low-grade anxiety, it can feel as if life your will never be normal again, as if something alien is in control of you. Anxiety leads to depression, so it's important to tackle as soon as you can.

INFORMATION & MENTAL HEALTH TIPS
What is anxiety and how to deal with anxiety attacks: http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/anxiety.htm#.VVCDC2Z7vJw

We worry about unmet emotional needs. What are these needs and how can we get them met? Start here to learn about emotional needs (human givens): http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVDs02Z7vJw

Anxiety and worrying play a big role in the cycle of depression. Find out more about the cycle of depression here:
http://www.lift-depression.com/sleep-depression/the-cycle-of-depression/

Worrying drains your motivation, but how? Here's the answer: http://blog.humangivens.com/2014/12/worrying-drains-your-motivation-but-how.html

Why do you wake up tired after too much worrying? http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/09/why-do-i-wake-up-tired.html

One of the best ways to calm anxiety is to use '7/11 breathing', but what is it and how does it work? http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/10/how-does-deep-breathing-make-you-feel.html

BEAT ANXIETY
If you are have excessive #anxiety and would like to see an effective therapist, please see our register of Human Givens Therapists: http://www.hgi.org.uk/register/index.htm

Strategies to stop worrying: http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/07/how-to-stop-worrying.html

3 ways to relax immediately: http://blog.humangivens.com/2013/11/3-ways-to-relax-immediately.html

What have you got going for you? More than you think: http://blog.humangivens.com/2015/01/what-have-you-got-going-for-you-more.html

View all our Mental Health Tip blog posts in one place: http://blog.humangivens.com/p/self-help-tips.html


TRAINING

Take our popular online course on understanding and managing Anxiety: http://hgonlinecourses.com/understanding-anxiety-online-course

Or book a day of face to face training in the UK city nearest you: Understanding Anxiety and managing it without drugs: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/anxiety-management.html

In this year's Mental Health Awareness week there is a focus on how mindfulness can help promote good mental health, especially with anxiety. Take the course that explores how mindfulness can help: Mindfulness in Human Givens practice: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/mindfulness-in-HG-practice.html

BOOKS
How to master anxiety - All you need to know to overcome stress, panic attacks, phobias, trauma, obsessions and more... This self help book by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell is down-to-earth, easy-to-read and a life changer:
http://www.humangivens.com/publications/how-to-master-anxiety.html

Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/human-givens-book.html - find out how the human givens approach can revolutionise mental health treatment.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Share this post, learn as much as you can about what promotes good mental health and always strive to create a life that meets as many of your innate emotional needs as possible for yourself and everyone around you.

What are our innate emotional needs (human givens)? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVB-02Z7vJw

How you can support the Human Givens Foundation: http://www.hgfoundation.com/how_you_can_help.html

Thank you for reading.



P.S. - Sign up for a FREE Human Givens Webinar on How to Reduce Anxiety in Students and Young People with Gareth Hughes on Wednesday 3rd June

Monday, 11 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Depression


 From 11-17th May 2015 it's Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help raise awareness and share useful information we will be taking one common mental health problem every day and providing a master list of links to as many of our resources, articles and information about that topic that we can fit into a blog post!

We encourage you to SHARE, EXPLORE and DISCUSS the information in these posts so we can help change how we view and treat mental health for the better.

Monday's topic is DEPRESSION:

To be deeply depressed is just about the most awful feeling we can experience, apart from sheer terror. It can disable anyone. But the topic is surrounded by false ideas: Depression, as experienced by the vast majority of sufferers for example, is not a biological illness; neither is it 'anger turned inward'; it is not a 'chemical imbalance in the brain' and it is not usefully divided into 'clinical depression', 'post-natal depression' and ordinary 'depression'; and is not, in most cases, hard to come out of.


To be deeply depressed is just about the most awful feeling we can experience, apart from sheer terror. It can disable anyone.

But the topic is surrounded by false ideas: Depression, as experienced by the vast majority of sufferers for example, is not a biological illness; neither is it 'anger turned inward'; it is not a 'chemical imbalance in the brain' and it is not usefully divided into 'clinical depression', 'post-natal depression' and ordinary 'depression'; and is not, in most cases, hard to come out of.

INFORMATION & MENTAL HEALTH TIPS
Published thirteen years ago in a 2002 edition of the Human Givens journal, this article by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell on how depression occurs contains the cornerstones of the #humangivens approach to treating this fast spreading #mentalhealth problem. http://blog.humangivens.com/2013/02/hg-library-how-to-lift-depression.html

Here's our website for anyone wishing to learn more about what causes depression and how to lift it: http://www.lift-depression.com/

7 myths about depression: http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/05/7-myths-about-depression.html

Why people get depressed: http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/Depression.htm

What is the cycle of depression and how can you break it?: http://www.lift-depression.com/sleep-depression/the-cycle-of-depression/

Why post natal depression is no different to any other depression http://blog.humangivens.com/2015/02/why-post-natal-depression-is-no.html

How well are your innate emotional needs being met? Take this exercise to review your emotional needs: http://www.lift-depression.com/our-needs/review-your-emotional-needs/

Too much REM sleep: why do depressed people wake up exhausted? (Over 130,000 people have watched Ivan Tyrrell's video on the link between dreaming and depression) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA3Pc22WmwQ

Interested in the expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming which first revealed the link between depression and the REM state? Explore this website: http://why-we-dream.com/

GET HELP TODAY
If you are #depressed and would like to see an effective therapist, please see our register of Human Givens Therapists: http://www.hgi.org.uk/register/index.htm

What you can do immediately to feel better: http://www.lift-depression.com/lift-depression/what-to-do-now/

How to get meaning back into your life: http://www.lift-depression.com/our-needs/meaning-and-purpose/

Why do I wake up tired? http://blog.humangivens.com/2012/09/why-do-i-wake-up-tired.html

View all our Mental Health Tip blog posts in one place:
http://blog.humangivens.com/p/self-help-tips.html

TRAINING
Take an online training course - How to break the cycle of depression: http://hgonlinecourses.com/depression-online-course

Or book a day of face to face training in the UK city nearest you: How to break the cycle of depression: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/cycle-of-depression.html

In this year's Mental Health Awareness week there is a focus on how mindfulness can help promote good mental health. Take the course that explores how mindfulness can help. Mindfulness in Human Givens practice: http://www.humangivenscollege.com/courses/mindfulness-in-HG-practice.html

BOOKS
How to lift depression... fast: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/how-to-lift-depression-fast.html -This self help book by Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin is a best seller.

Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: http://www.humangivens.com/publications/human-givens-book.html - find out how the human givens approach can revolutionise mental health treatment.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Share this post, learn as much as you can about what promotes good mental health and always strive to create a life that meets as many of your innate emotional needs as possible for yourself and everyone around you.

What are our innate emotional needs (human givens)? http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/human-givens.htm#.VVB-02Z7vJw

How you can support the Human Givens Foundation: http://www.hgfoundation.com/how_you_can_help.html

Thank you for reading.

Monday, 27 April 2015

How politicians manipulate us



Listening to politicians talk during the UK’s general election gives us a wonderful opportunity to study our brain’s pattern-matching propensities and collect examples of how nominalisations are used to trivialize debates and manipulate us.

By turning verbs or adjectives into abstract nouns – nominalisations – and showering us with them, politicians hope we will vote for them without thinking. And it’s a sensible thing to do from their point of view because each time a person hears an abstraction he or she is forced to go into a mini-trance in order to pattern-match to what the abstraction means to them personally. That then produces an emotion and emotions are what drive people to act.

When a politician says he wants to “create a land of opportunity” he is trying to hypnotise us (whether he realises that's what he's doing or not); everybody wants an opportunity to have, do or be something – but the desired ‘opportunity’ of each individual can never be the same.

 The blitz of nominalisations

The problem is that every pattern-match our brain makes is then tagged with an emotion, and it’s emotions, not reason, that fuel our actions – including voting.

So politicians use abstractions like ‘hope’, ‘positive change’, 'aspirations', ‘values’, ‘principles’, ‘fairness’, ‘prosperity’, ‘austerity’, ‘innovation’, ‘sustainability’, ‘liberty’, ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ to raise emotions but cannot unpack in detail what these words really mean for every individual who hears them. That’s why they avoid being specific as much as possible – they use vague hypnotic language instead. And, because people don’t fully understand what is being done to them, yet know something is not quite right, they are becoming more and more suspicious and mistrusting.

“A politician, for example, might change the verb to modernize into the noun modernization, claiming that “we need modernization”, as though the process of modernization were something concrete that you could buy, see or touch. Similarly, we might be told that, “the great British people want us to deliver change” as if change were a parcel. The problem with such words is that they contain no sensory information – nothing specific such as who should be doing precisely what to whom. They are content-free, which is why they hypnotize both the listener and the speaker. To make sense of them, we have to go on an inner search to find a pattern-match for what such words mean to us personally before we can give meaning to them. Consequently, they always mean something different to every listener while simultaneously giving each the feeling that they understand what the speaker means. That is why they are the stock-in-trade words of politicians, gurus and snake-oil salesmen.”


This last paragraph was taken from the book Human Givens: The new approach to emotional health and clear thinking by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell.

_______________________


For further information on nominalisations see this thoughtful and insightful article:
Struggling for meaning
Speaking in abstract terms is a powerful, manipulative tool. Gwen Griffith-Dickson considers how it is used to mislead – yet can also enhance understanding.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

“I’ve got this pain …” - a human givens perspective on how GPs can help patients with medically unexplained symptoms.

There are many times, as a doctor, when I need to hang up my stethoscope.

I’m there to diagnose pathology and yet 50 per cent of symptoms and medical syndromes, such as irritable bowel, have no medically identifiable cause.1,2,3 Patients with so-called medically unexplained symptoms take up a large proportion of GPs’ consultation time, returning to the surgery again and again, and also that of specialists in a variety of hospital departments – such as gastroenterology, gynecology, rheumatology, cardiology, neurology and dentistry.4

This is an undesirable state of affairs that could so easily be avoided. How it comes about is as follows.


People commonly develop physical symptoms when they are in a state of heightened anxiety and are at the limit of their tolerance. Not relating the two, they are anxious to find the physical cause. Indeed, the majority of both doctors and patients think that a biomechanical approach is all that is required. If, after doing the conventional tests, doctors simply say that they can find no cause for the symptoms and attempt merely to offer reassurance without working with patients to understand what is going on, satisfaction with the consultation is likely to be poor and trust diminished.5

Patients feel angry and rejected if told nothing is wrong, when clearly something is wrong. Unless, within the context of the NHS, we develop a plan that allows such people to receive due attention and understanding, they will become, in the derogatory term used by doctors, ‘heart sink’ patients. Symptoms may become exacerbated and rate of referral into secondary care is increased.

How do we break out of that cycle? The teaching in the workshops that I conduct shows general practitioners how they can develop a different understanding of these patients and explain, in a way that satisfies patients, the very real symptoms that are being experienced.

Human needs and inner and outer pressure

People’s state of health relates directly to what is going on in their lives, particularly, as is so clearly taught in the human givens approach, to their responses to the predicaments they face.

When lives become over-pressured or impoverished, as a result of excessive emotional arousal or pressures from the outer world, such as work or relationship difficulties, the internal systems protest. It is no surprise that, in the two years preceding closure of a factory in the west of England, there was a highly significant increase in symptoms and consultations with the local GP. Surgery visits returned to the normal level once closure had taken place and the uncertainty about the future was removed.6

What happens to us in such situations can be clearly understood in physiological terms, which, I find, appeals both to GPs and to patients.

Homeostasis, or the maintenance of self-regulation, is the basis of health and, when disturbed, mind–body protest is the result. There is a complex inter-relationship between molecules of emotion, via the neuropeptide system,7 and the autonomic nervous system – the part of the nervous system responsible for control of bodily functions that are not under conscious direction. These systems in turn interplay with the immune system, which is intimately connected with our mind–body state.8

The body, in adapting to evolutionary challenges, has developed an array of responses that maintain the constancy of its internal state and resist harmful imbalances. A thirst reaction protects us from dehydration, for instance. Tiredness and fatigue are responses that serve to warn us to stop before we become exhausted. However, the ever-changing pressures in our complex lives can lead us to ignore or overrule these sensations.

The human function curve

To explain the difference between healthy arousal and exhausted over-arousal, cardiologist Peter Nixon developed ‘the human function curve’,9 a continuum drawn as an inverted U on a graph.

Healthy functioning and healthy fatigue, on the up slope of the curve, are experienced when we are coping well, adapting to changes in our lives or making supreme efforts that have successful outcomes. Exhaustion and ill health on the down slope, often followed by breakdown, occur when we are not coping and adapting effectively and we feel defeated, no matter what efforts we make to deal with the demands in our lives.


Too much sustained, unhealthy, down slope arousal leads to the loss of internal balance and results in reduced performance and a mind–body system in overdrive. In this state, the metabolism is struggling and cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure are often raised, resulting in ill health.

The more aroused we become, the more sleep, which would be to some degree restorative, decreases. Signals of mind–body protest multiply. For instance, sufferers from irritable bowel syndrome may also commonly experience back pain, fatigue and loss of libido. Negative emotions, such as frustration and despair, can trigger exhaustion, which in turn can trigger breathing pattern disorders, as a consequence of the perceived threat to survival eliciting fight, flight or freeze reactions.10

Providing patients with the physical evidence

What can GPs do about all this? It is always important to remember that symptoms that are initially unexplained do sometimes result from pathology. GPs’ training is in the early recognition of pathological disease and medical vigilance is always required. However, it is usually possible to show how imbalances occur in a variety of body systems, when pressures have gone on for too long and energy and resources are severely depleted. (Most of us can relate to the neck ache, tiredness, irritability and angry reactions that signal that we have just had enough for the time being.)

As a GP, I can actually show someone that they are stuck in sustained arousal, with over breathing and changes in body chemistry occurring as a result. To do this, I measure breathing chemistry, using a capnometer, a light, non-invasive nasal probe that measures carbon dioxide levels in the out-breath.


 Most people think that, the more they breathe, the more oxygen is available in the system. In fact, with normal lungs, the reverse is the case.

Over breathing results in reduced carbon dioxide availability to all parts of the body, and reduced oxygen is the result. For each millimetre drop in carbon dioxide that can occur in one breath, there is a two per cent reduction in available oxygen. I take measurements first when patients are at rest and then after asking them to recall a situation that makes them anxious, as described in the ‘think test’.11 Patients can view the outcome for themselves on a screen, as we do the tests.

I can also take a simple saliva swab to show raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And I can put a sensor on the skin to pick up heart rate variability – when we breathe in heart rate speeds up and when we breathe out it slows down. If the difference between the two readings flattens, it signals a loss of flexibility, which physiologists term ‘respiratory sinus arrhythmia’. Heart rate variability, when reduced, is the most accurate predictor of poor health outcomes. Loss of flexibility equates with disease.12

Such measuring devices are available to GPs, although probably a minority have them. They can be particularly useful if a patient is stuck on a need for disease status. Sometimes, unfortunately, doctors, the press, employers, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the health service, have a need to label unexplained and functional syndromes as if they had a simple aetiology.

Perhaps this is inevitable in a market economy, which then creates a product to ‘solve’ complex problems that actually need to be solved within the framework of human needs. A virus becomes the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, rather than a final de-stabiliser when immune function is already compromised. Fibromyalgia becomes a condition, rather than the consequence of too much sustained pressure, and so on.

Creating solutions

This approach allows individuals to understand their symptoms in the context of their predicament and makes patients more likely to work with their medical adviser to return to a state of healthy functioning and wellbeing. They accept the term ‘functional disturbance’, whereas they reject terms such as ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ or a psychological explanation, and rightly so.13 A human givens holistic approach, in which the physiology and disturbed mind–body communication are worked into the recovery process, becomes the basis for changes in behaviour that have resulted from the over-pressured predicament.14

Nutrition is very important in this respect. As mentioned, an over-pressured state of internal arousal results in raised cholesterol, raised blood sugar, raised cortisol levels and disturbed immune function. In such a state, the individual is likely not to have paid attention to good nutrition, and may often have tried to drive a malfunctioning and exhausted mind and body with the help of excessive alcohol, comfort foods or stimulants. Choices that restore good nutrition, initially supported by supplementation, including re-balancing neuronal circuitry with omega-three fatty acids and micronutrients, are often useful supportive adjuncts.

If, according to their own account, someone’s energy is well on the down slope of the human function curve, it is often advisable, if it is possible, to withdraw from the situation in which the symptoms arose to a place where recovery can occur.

Patients are always interested to learn that, in Ancient Greece, over-pressured patricians withdrew into healing temples, where they were allowed rest, sleep and recovery. Body work, including massage, hot baths combined with music and a calming environment, made up the initial first stage of healing. Only later were exercise, reflection and reasoning encouraged, followed by a return home. The common man (plebeian), on the other hand, just received medicines!

Whole person care

I think the role of the GP is to see the person as a whole, and establish whether pathology is or is not present. But the answer doesn’t have to affect the approach that is consequently taken. Recovery of wellbeing, whether with pathology or when so-called ‘unexplained’ or ‘functional’ symptoms are present, requires that internal systems return to homeostatic balance, where internal self-regulation is restored once more.

Scientific study of meditation, which underpins many ancient health care approaches, particularly in the East, has at last rediscovered the value of slowed breathing. Four randomised controlled trials, using a biofeedback device called a RESPeRATE,15 have shown that breathing exercises that slow the breath to about six breaths per minute, with a prolonged out-breath, significantly reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension – the reduction is equivalent in effect to two antihypertensive drugs taken regularly. Just 10 minutes of such exercises four times a week are enough to achieve this effect.

How much more effective would it be if prescription of such a regime could be combined with the human givens emphasis on identifying people’s unmet needs and misused innate resources, and working to help them make positive change?

Singing one’s own song


It was my experience, when medical director at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, that remarkable recoveries even from secondary cancer could occur when people re-defined the relationship between themselves and the world, and created internal balance and restoration of homeostasis, where their human needs were met and they ‘sang their own song’.16

The problem for many people, however, is that, when on the down slope of the human function curve and in a state of struggle, both external and internal, they cannot take charge. A skilled facilitator is required to help them re-engage the observing self – the rational part of us that can see the bigger picture.

It is particularly important, therefore, that GPs use the time they have well. The standard 10-minute consultation allows a history, examination and the consideration of tests to exclude pathology. If symptoms remain unexplained, there is a need to create more time, to help the patient see how current predicaments and challenges may have contributed to loss of homeostasis and resilience.17

Once such a mutual understanding is reached, this is when effective counsellors and social prescribers have a role in the GP surgery. With such help, individuals can rediscover their strengths and learn to apply appropriate choices to their life-style and relationships. This will include nutrition, exercise and all the methods inherent in the human givens approach, where strengths and resources are remembered or reframed.

Our human needs return to centre stage.

_______________________

Dr David Beales is a practising physician, educator and researcher. After first specialising in rheumatology, he chose to become a GP, working in inner London and then, for the next 26 years, in Cirencester. He was a research practitioner for the South West region and spent a year as the GP member of the Clinical Standards Advisory Agency. He left the NHS in 2000 and became chief medical officer to the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. He lectures on the whole person course for medical students at the University of Bristol and facilitates workshops for GPs on holistic medicine. He is also a research associate at the University College of Buckinghamshire and Chilterns, working on breathing pattern disorders and asthma. He is medical director for Better Physiology.

________________

This article originally appeared in Vol 11, No 4 2004 of the Human Givens Journal.



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