Human Givens

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The human givens (HG) approach originated in the field of psychotherapy. 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 manic depression; they cannot be in the grip of addictions. It is just not possible.

The human givens framework enables us to see where a person’s life is not working well and to tailor solutions for each individual using a combination of effective psychological interventions, education and direct practical help, as appropriate.

The insights the approach brings into what we all need to live fulfilled, satsifying lives also brings clarity to the much-used phrase ‘wellbeing’ and points to concrete ways of achieving and maintaining such a state.

Are you getting your essential emotional needs met?

The Human Givens approach is an organising idea that is based around a universal human truth – that, in addition to our physical needs, every human being has emotional needs which we are driven to get met from our environment in whatever way we can.

We are also born with resources to help get these needs met. When we are able to use all our resources effectively and get all our needs fairly well met and in balance, then it is impossible to be mentally or emotionally unwell.

See below for a list of our emotional needs and our resources:

  • Security – the need to feel safe in our environment
  • Attention – both to receive it and give it
  • Autonomy – a sense of control in what happens to us/around us
  • Status – within our social groups/family/work
  • Intimacy and friendship – emotional connection to at least one other person
  • Privacy – time to oneself, to reflect or take time out
  • Connection – to the wider community
  • Achievement – sense of own competence, being valued, which leads to self esteem
  • Meaning and Purpose – being stretched in what we do, being needed, beliefs and values.
  • Rapport building – ability to connect and empathise with other people
  • Memory – allows us to build on existing knowledge and learn from past mistakes
  • Imagination – allows us to be creative, imagine different outcomes and problem-solve
  • Conscious rational mind – that can question, analyse, plan and keep a check on our emotions
  • Instinctive, emotional mind – that can understand the world unconsciously, through pattern-matching
  • Dreaming brain – metaphorically flushes out unresolved emotional arousal from the previous day, freeing up the brain for the following day’s challenges
  • An Observing Self – that part of us that can take a step back and put things in perspective – see the bigger picture

Human Givens therapy incorporates specific techniques that have been proven to work, from a range of different therapies, such as Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

This means we are not restricted to specific ideologies or hemmed in by dogma. It incorporates all the latest scientifically proven research into how the brain works, as well as drawing on ancient and/or Eastern wisdom, folklore, metaphors and stories.

For more about our needs and resources, plus articles, case studies and publications please go to:

The Human Givens Register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA).

Therapists offering Human Givens

Click on the link below to the individual practitioner page(s) to find out more about prices and booking information for this therapy:

Alternatively, please contact The Wellbeing Centre Reception Team on 01635 552874 for more information and to make your booking. The Reception is available to take drop-in and telephone enquiries weekdays 9:30am – 5:30pm (excluding Bank Holidays).


Any questions contact us today on 01635 552874 or