Are Your Human Needs Being Met? A Reflexion on The Human Givens (HG) Approach in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

Human Givens (HG) Therapy, a scientifically based approach to mental health treatment, asserts that all people share certain innate emotional and physical needs. When these needs go unmet, individuals may be more likely to experience stress and other emotional and mental health concerns.

The Human Givens approach is very much aligned with my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy practice, in that I offer support to people seeking help by teaching them ways to think and behave that may be more effective for getting their core needs met.

A bit of history

The Human Givens approach was developed by Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin, who founded the European Therapy Studies Institute (ETSI) in 1992 to explore what effective approaches to psychotherapy had in common, with the goal of an integrated and effective model of emotional therapy.
Their research led to the creation of a journal called The Therapist and in 1996, Tyrrell founded MindFields College, offering presentations in emerging data about effective strategies in psychotherapy. By 1997 the name of the journal was changed to Human Givens.
In 2001, the Human Givens Institute (HGI) was established. A number of books have been published under the HG Publishing Imprint, such as Griffin and Tyrrell’s 2003 book, Human Givens: The New Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking and a number of self-help guides for handling depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, and pain.
The Human Givens Foundation, a UK charity founded in 2004, further promotes education and research on psychotherapy and human nature. Human Givens College was established in 2010.

The Human Givens Principles

The Human Givens approach believes in continuous learning, which is something which I very much embed in my daily hypnotherapy practice by recommending clients books, podcasts and articles and by teaching them new techniques to address their emotional challenges. Learning is vital to human development and wellness, and this is very much embraced in my therapeutic method.

The theory behind the human givens approach holds that physical and emotional needs are inextricably linked, as emotions encourage people to connect with the external world and fulfil both their physical and psychological needs. In my personal experience it is impossible to isolate the body from the mind as emotions have a very powerful influence on the functioning of our immune system and vice versa, when our body is not well, our mental state is also suffering. For example, I notice in my practice how chronic disease often (and quickly) leads to anxiety and depression.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body

Some of the human necessities the Human Givens approach considers to be paramount are:

• Food, water, shelter and a safe environment.
• Emotional needs such as attention (both given and received).
• Feelings of efficacy and achievement.
• Privacy.
• The sense that one has control over one’s own life.
• Connection to a broader community and a sense of importance within one’s social group.
• An overall sense of life purpose and meaning.

When a person is having trouble in one of more of these aspects, it’s very important that the subject reaches out for help. In my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy practice I help my clients to identify challenges based on one or more of these givens and then develop solutions uniquely suited to the individual’s situation.

According to human givens theory, psychological distress occurs in three contexts:

Context 1 – When people live in a toxic environment that prevents them from meeting their basic needs, for example when people remain in an abusive relationship or living in poverty.

Context 2 – When a person’s conditioning or instincts inhibit their ability to meet their needs. For example, someone who grew up in an abusive home might end up in abusive relationships or if a child is never taught how to control her/his impulses, he/she may struggle to maintain good healthy relationships.

• Context 3 – When a person lacks knowledge about what they need or how to meet those needs.

A handful of studies suggest that Human Givens techniques can reduce emotional distress and improve coping skills. According to findings from PTSD Resolution, a UK-based charity, Human Givens is also effective as a form of treatment for trauma.

Therapists using the Human Givens method begin by identifying any neglected needs of a person seeking treatment. They then collaborate with the individual to get those needs met. For example, a person in therapy might, with the help of the therapist, determine a pattern of domestic abuse is the product of social isolation, ineffective stress management, or financial distress. The therapist’s goal, then, is to explore each of these issues and agree with the client proactive strategies that address each issue by working on the thoughts and behaviours that might have a negative impact.

No system of therapy is complete on its own, thus, Human Givens therapists – exactly as Solutions Focused Hypnotherapists do, blend several methods to create an individualised approach for each person they treat. In my practice I draw techniques from Human Givens, CBT, NLP, reflective listening, motivational interviewing, and of course Hypnotherapy.

If you are currently experiencing emotional and/or physical challenges and feel that you would benefit from Solutions Focused Hypnotherapy, you can email me on to book an initial consultation or visit the contact page on my website: