Human Givens approach or Human Givens Psychotherapy is form of psychology and psychotherapy developed by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell introduced in their 2003 book Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking. It is self-described as a "bio-psycho-social" approach to psychotherapy, and at its core attempts to find and address unmet innate needs common to all humans, termed givens. Use of the Human Givens approach is not currently widespread; but its supporters are building evidence and its ideas are extending into the UK public workplace.
The basic assumptions of the Human Givens approach are that humans have evolved innate physical and emotional needs called ‘human givens’. Human beings instinctively seek to meet these needs in their environment. When a person’s innate needs are met in the environment, he or she will flourish. When these needs are not met in a balanced way, mental distress results. The focus of the therapy is the discovery and rectification of any blocks to these needs being met. The emotional needs include:
- Security – safe territory and an environment which allows full maturity and development
- Attention (to give and receive it) – a form of "mental nutrition"
- Sense of autonomy and control – having volition to make responsible choices
- Being emotionally connected to others
- Feeling part of a wider community
- Friendship and intimacy with someone who is accepting of the total person, flaws included
- Privacy – opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
- Sense of status within social groupings
- Sense of competence and achievement
- Meaning and purpose
Research and criticism
A peer reviewed research paper, published in Mental Health Review Journal  concerned treating people with mild to moderate depressed mood (measured using HADS) with Human Givens therapy or ‘normal’ treatment. "The well-being of these participants was examined at the point of referral, and after four, eight and 12 months using three well-being questionnaires. The results revealed that emotional well-being significantly improved during the first four months following referral for both groups and this improvement was maintained up to and including one year post referral. Compared to the Control group Human givens therapy was found to be of shorter duration, lasting one or two sessions compared to standard treatment, which lasted on average four sessions. Apart from the psychological insight and emotional support, it is suggested that Human Givens therapy might help the client to better function in society and maintain a sense of social integration. This has benefits to other providers of social care."
More recently several ongoing research projects have been initiated by the Human Givens Research Practice Network.
The Human Givens model recognises itself to be eclectic in nature and its founders explicitly acknowledge that the approach integrates best practice and thinking drawn from existing psychological models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy and Client Centred Counselling  as well as much of their own recent research, most notably Griffin’s “expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming” 
The New Scientist and the Washington Times have both featured interviews with Joe Griffin on the Human Givens approach. The British Medical Journal and the Nursing Times  have both written articles which have referred to the Human Givens Approach.
In The British Medical Journal the author asks the question 'so where's the evidence?' and Ivan Tyrrell, who is the director of Director of the European Therapy Studies Institute and the Human Givens Institute, comments 'People are starting to do it [research]—but we aren't doing it ourselves. If a plane is flying, you don't need to keep showing that it's possible to fly.’.
A lengthy article discussing the Human Givens Approach was published in the May 2010 edition of the Arab Journal of Psychiatry
Peer reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of human givens therapy, published in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, showed that, of 120 patients treated by HG therapists in a GP's surgery, more than three out of four were either symptom-free or reliably changed as a result of the therapy. This was accomplished in an average of only 3.6 sessions. This compares favourably with the recovery rate for the UK Government’s IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme that uses therapists trained in CBT and which expects therapy to take longer and less than two out of four patients to improve or recover.
Expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming
The expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming, proposed by Joe Griffin in 1993 posits that the prime function of dreams is to metaphorically act out non-discharged emotional arousals (expectations) that were not acted out during the previous day. It theorises that excessive worrying while awake arouses the autonomic nervous system which then increases the need to dream during REM sleep, which deprives the individual of the refreshment of the mind brought about by regenerative slow-wave sleep. It regards worry as a misuse of the imagination. Griffin and Tyrrell proffer a connection between REM state dreaming and hypnotic phenomena, and define hypnosis as "any artificial means of accessing the REM state"
The Human Givens approach to treating depression emerged from research into sleep and especially the brain state indicated by the rapid eye movements seen during dream sleep. New Scientist interviewed Joe Griffin about this explanation for why depressed people dream more intensely than non-depressed people and why all depressed people wake up tired and find it difficult to motivate themselves
Practising Human Givens psychotherapists use a number of techniques to get the subject to use imagination in a healthier way which they propose restores a more balanced sleep pattern and consequently can lift the depression.
Bibliography of publications
- Tyrrell, Ivan; Joe Griffin (2004). Human Givens. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-31-7
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2004) How to lift depression fast. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-41-4
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2007) How to master anxiety: Stress, panic attacks, phobias, psychological trauma and more. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-81-3
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2004) Dreaming Reality: How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-36-8
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2004) Freedom from addiction: The secret behind successful addiction busting. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-46-5
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2004) Release from anger: Practical help for controlling unreasonable rage. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 978-1-899398-07-2
- Griffin, Joe. An Idea in Practice: using the Human Givens approach. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 978-1-899398-96-6.
- Tyrrell, Ivan; Joe Griffin (2004). Dreaming Reality. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-36-8.
- Tyrrell, Ivan; Joe Griffin (2004). Human Givens. Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-31-7
- Corp, N.; Tsaroucha, A.; Kingston, P. (2008). "Human Givens Therapy: The Evidence Base". Mental Health Review Journal 13 (4): 44–52. http://www.britannica.com/bps/additionalcontent/18/35828845/Human-Givens-Therapy-The-Evidence-Base
- Bueno, J. "Human Givens", Therapy Today: The journal for the British Society of Counselling and Psychotherapy Professionals, Volume 20, Issue 10. December 2009 http://www.therapytoday.net/article/show/1646/
- Tsaroucha, A., Kingston, P., Stewart, T., Walton, I. and Corp, N. Assessing the effectiveness of the “human givens” approach in treating depression: a study in primary care. Mental Health Review, 17, 2, 90–103
- The Human Givens Research Practice Network http://www.hgiprn.org
- Griffin, J. (1993) The origin of dreams: Did Freud and Jung get it wrong? The Therapist. Vol 1. No 1. 33-38
- "The Dreamcatcher", Interview with Joe Griffin, New Scientist, April 12th 2003 (retrieved 15th February 2013)
- Washington Times interview with Joe Griffin (Part 1) http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2003/10/09/Civilization-Psychology-breakthrough-II/UPI-20871065716074/
- Washington Times interview with Joe Griffin (Part 2) http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2003/10/09/Civilization-Psychology-breakthrough-II/UPI-20871065716074/
- Sladden, J. (2005), "Psychotherpay skills in the real world", British Medical Journal http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/view-article.html?id=626
- Laydon, C. et al (2008), "Solution-focused therapy for clients who self-harm". Nursing Times; 104: 9, 30-31. http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice-clinical-research/solution-focused-therapy-for-clients-who-self-harm/854402.article
- Okhai, F. (2010), "Human Givens Psychotherapy" The Arab Journal of Psychiatry (2010) Vol.21 No.1 Page (9-28) http://www.arabjpsychiat.com/media/PDF/2010_m/5_human_givens_psychotherapy.pdf
- Andrews, W., Twigg, E., Minami, T. and Johnson, G. (11 February 2011) ‘Piloting a practice research network: A 12-month evaluation of the Human Givens approach in primary care at a general medical practice. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
- Griffin, J. & Tyrrell, I. (2004) Dreaming Reality: How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad Human Givens Publishing. ISBN 1-899398-36-8
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy magazine (Vol 7-6, Dec 2008)