Human Givens Therapy

The Human Givens Therapy approach began two decades ago and this year celebrates it’s twentieth anniversary.  The founders of Human Givens, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell developed a set of organizing ideas from the latest scientific, psychological and neurobiological frameworks.

Sally Nilsson Therapist in Horley Surey

In essence, human beings come into the world with a set of physical and emotional needs.  The physical needs are for water, shelter, warmth, food and the need to procreate. There are then nine emotional needs which have been identified that humans must have met in balance in order to be mentally well.  When the needs are met in balance it is not possible to suffer with mental illness. The nine needs are: 

  • The need for safety and security. Could be within your home or workplace.
  • The need to give and receive attention. Not too much or too little and the right kind of attention.
  • The need for control in our lives.
  • The need for intimacy. For at least one other person to accept everything about you, warts and all!
  • The need for privacy. Again not too much (lonliness and isolation) or too little. We need to spend time on our own to work out problems and solutions and to think and just to ‘be’.
  • The need for status within your peer group socially or in the workplace and within your family.
  • The need to be competent and to achieve.
  • The need for meaning and purpose. To feel needed and to help others and to have something you believe in that is greater than yourself.
  • The need to be part of the wider community. As we hear often on the news community is shrinking and this will have a negative impact on all society unless there is more inclusion and understanding. 

When people are not getting their emotional needs met in balance it is always because of one of the following three reasons:

  1. The environment is toxic. This could be abuse or breakdown within the family, bullying at work, noisy neighbours etc.
  2. The person has not learned effective coping skills.This is normally from childhood. Being able to understand about taking turns, realizing there are setbacks in life and knowing how to deal with them.  Not being greedy.  Learning resilience and being allowed to grow as an individual. Not being conditioned in a negative way.
  3. Their guidance system is damaged. This could be a genetic fault at birth, brain injury or alcohol and drug abuse.  Autism and Asperger’s.  Psychological damage from trauma.

Evidence suggests that who we will be become is 50% genetic and 50% learned.

As well as our emotional needs we evolved with a set of innate resources, tools which help us get our needs met and they are:

  • A long-term memory which helps us to continually learn.
  • The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect to others.
  • Imagination which enables us to focus our attention away from our emotions, to problem solve and find solution as well as to be creative. When we become anxious or depressed it is because we are misusing our imagination.
  • A conscious rational mind that can check out our emotions, question and plan.
  • An observing self which helps us to step back and look at the situation more objectively.
  • A dreaming brain. This enables us to diffuse emotional arousals that weren’t acted out the previous day so making room in our brains for new arousals which will happen the following day.
The Human Givens approach is growing rapidly in the UK and internationally and is being embraced
in the fields of health (NHS), the military (PTSD).

With many new individuals passing the rigorous (post graduate level) Human Givens Diploma this approach offers clear benefits to thousands of clients every year.  Without using psychobabble and by not keeping clients in therapy for unnecessarily long periods of time Human Givens Therapy is growing from strength to strength. Please don’t take my word for it. Visit the Human Givens Institute site and see for yourself at

Make a positive start today call 07340 955669 or e.mail me at 
My therapy room is in Brockham which is ten minutes from Reigate, Horley and Dorking.