”The human givens approach – developed 20 years ago – derives from the understanding that, when essential basic needs are met and our innate mental resources are used correctly, a human being will be emotionally and mentally healthy. Essential psychological needs identified over decades of work by health and social psychologists include needs for autonomy, sense of control, security, connection, attention, achievement, status and meaning. Innate resources much studied by neuroscientists, include our abilities to learn from experience, plan, judge, imagine, relate one thing to another, empathize, develop a moral sense, remember, etc.

It is when emotional needs are not adequately met, or are met in unhealthy ways, or when innate resources are damaged for any reason, or are unintentionally misused, that undesirable mental states such as anxiety, anger, depression, addiction and psychosis develop. For instance, misuse of the imagination – to conjure up worst possible or threatening scenarios – is a common feature of all these states.

What makes the human givens approach different from other therapy approaches is that its therapists look to see what is missing, or being misused, in clients’ lives, with the aim of helping them find ways to better meet their needs.” www.hgi.org

The Human Givens approach was developed by looking at what works and what doesn’t in the many therapeutic models. Those techniques not supported by scientific evidence were discarded. As a result, the Human Givens approach is a unique blend of everything that was effective in terms of improving people’s overall wellbeing. It is a clear, scientific framework, based on the latest research in both psychology and neuroscience, for the treatment of mental health issues.

Human Givens therapists are also trained to use the Rewind Technique which is a highly effective tool for treating trauma and phobias. When the brain is overroused from a traumatic event, knowing how to calm yourself is paramount. The Rewind Technique helps to take a traumatic memory and turn it into an ordinary one. This is done by helping the client view the memory at a low level of arousal. For people with a history of abuse, especially during childhood, more than one may be needed over a period of time to deal separately with all the major incidents that is still causing feelings of over arousal.


Human Givens has not only changed my life on a personal level, it has helped me relate to people in whole new ways. I am more compassionate knowing the principles of HG and can more readily help myself and others understand and emerge from difficult feelings and situations. In my HG practice, I find that the principles are clear enough for everyone to understand and use in a practical way in their lives.
— Kathy Vilnrotter, Human Givens Practitioner, Maine, USA

Our Emotional Needs Our Innate Resources

  • Do you feel secure in all major areas of your life (such as your home, work, environment)?

  • Do you feel you receive and give enough attention?

  • Do you feel control of your life most of the time?

  • Do you feel connected to some part of a wider community?

  • Can you obtain privacy when you need to?

  • Do you feel an emotional connection to at least one person?

  • Do you feel you have status that is acknowledged?

  • Are you achieving things and feeling competent in at least one major area of your life?

  • Are you achieving things and feeling competent in at least one major area of your life?

  • Are you being mentally and/or physically stretched in ways which give you a sense that life is meaningful?

  • 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 preserves the integrity of our genetic inheritance every night by metaphorically defusing expectations held in the autonomic arousal system because they were not acted out the previous day.