I work predominantly within a Human Givens framework for counselling, psychotherapy and coaching. This is a practical, solution-focused, brief intervention approach which combines the most helpful aspects of methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy and coaching techniques such as neurolinguistic programming with relaxation and guided imagery.
The term Human Givens comes from an understanding that as human beings we are all born with a genetic blueprint to survive and thrive which takes the form of a set of felt physical and emotional needs and a set of innate resources to help us get those needs met. It is because they are incorporated into our biology at conception that we call these needs and resources the 'human givens'.
Like other mammals our basic physical needs are air to breathe, water, nutritious food, physical activity, sufficient sleep, secure shelter, and social connection. Our emotional needs have evolved to drive us to take action to get all our needs met in a healthy balanced way, particularly through connection with other people. When we succeed in this we are emotionally healthy and are able to optimise our physical health, thrive, grow and develop as individuals.
However, our emotional needs may not be met in the world for a variety of reasons and when this happens we may suffer emotional distress ranging from mild dissatisfaction, stress and anxiety to more debilitating mental health problems such as panic attacks, depression and psychotic experiences. We may also experience a wide variety of stress related physical health problems. Emotional distress, with its variable levels of severity and manifestations, impacts on our own life and on the lives of those around us. Some emotional distress signals may also be misinterpreted by us and lead us to pursue goals/’wants’ in the search for ‘happiness’, but which ultimately do not achieve this aim because they fail to address the underlying unmet emotional needs.
You can learn more about the Human Givens in this FREE e-book
The Human Givens approach to ‘people helping’, whether that be through counselling, therapy, or coaching, is based around helping people to understand their emotional needs and how to get them met in practical ways. It draws on findings from psychology and neurobiology about how people function, and on a body of research about which helping techniques are most effective.
I also use an archetypal psychology model and drama techniques in coaching people, particularly with professional goals. These techniques are derived from my experience as a Programme Director with Olivier Mythodrama and do not form part of the Human Givens approach.
The register of the Human Givens Institute, which represents Human Givens psychotherapists and practitioners, is accredited under the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) for Health and Social Care in the UK. This mark of quality assures clients and the public that Human Givens practitioners belong to a register vetted and approved by an independent statutory body. General Medical Council guidance to doctors recommends that they should only refer patients to practitioners on registers accredited with the PSA.