Human Givens Therapy: Key Differentiating Features

Human Givens Therapy

Human Givens Therapy is a solution-focused brief therapy offering reliable & practical help in relieving a wide range of emotional & stress-related issues. It is structured and starts from where the client is now and focuses on moving them forward, as quickly as possible, to where they want to be and how they want to live. This therapy can help people sleep well; feel calmer and be more relaxed; improve their self-esteem; Improve their relationships; reduce the amount of time spent dwelling on the past & manage stress.

There have been huge developments over the last 15 years, in neuroscience and psychology, of the understanding of the trauma reactions, fear responses and survival mechanisms that underlie most common emotional health issues. The Human Givens Approach to psychotherapy combines knowledge and breakthroughs from these fields with the most effective techniques developed over the history of psychotherapyand coaching. It was described by the journal New Scientist as “a quiet revolution”.

I first came across HG Therapy (Human GivensTherapy) about 20 years ago when I was working Glasgow Simon Community. Colleagues told me about it. They said that it was a very impressive new psychotherapy & urged me to look into it (they knew I had a degree in psychology).

I was initially skeptical as I had never heard of it but they convinced me to investigate further- and, as they say, the rest is history!


Key Differentiating Features of this Approach

HGT (Human Given Therapy) is a solution-focused brief therapy that has key differences from other forms of counselling and psychotherapy. It:

  • Starts from where the person is now and focuses on the present & future rather than the past.
  • Combines knowledge from Psychology, Neuroscience, the Psychotherapy (what works) and related fields.
  • Usual length of treatment is four to six sessions.
  • Broad based organising framework for understanding human well-being and distress (Emotional Needs and Resources).
  • Targets the emotions rather than thoughts- because neuroscience has shown (Joseph Le Doux , New York University)that when someone is distressed the emotional brain takes control-the person is locked into their emotions. This is what causes the distorted thinking that is targeted by CBT.
  • Highly structured sessions which use SMART goals (similar to coaching in this respect).
  • Practical- helps the client overcome the barriers to meeting their needs using all relevant and available tools & knowledge e.g. 7/11 breathing, relationship and social skills training.
  • Has developed the only model of depression that explains all the known facts and leads to a clear psychological treatment plan.
  • HGT uses different knowledge and evidence-based interventions for different conditions.
  • It gets its name from the term “givens” which means well-established bedrock truths. The name means that there are well-established bedrock truths about human nature- our essential needs and resources.