Ivan Tyrrell

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Ivan Tyrrell
Ivan Tyrrell.jpg
Born (1943-10-18) 18 October 1943 (age 74)
London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Writer, Educator, Director of Human Givens College
Nationality English
Subject Psychology, psychotherapy, and the origin of creativity, mysticism and mental illness.
Children 4

Ivan Tyrrell (/ˈtɪrəl/; born 18 October 1943) is a British educator, writer, and artist. He lives with his wife Véronique in the Cotswolds, England.


Tyrrell left Wallington County Grammar School to study art as an apprentice at F.G. Marshal in 1959. In 1962 he began a fine arts course at Croydon Art College and was taught painting by Bridget Riley, Barry Fantoni and John Hoyland among others. He left college disillusioned with the art world and worked in London advertising studios before setting up a graphic design company in 1971 on the South Coast in Sussex.[1]

Two silk-screen posters produced with fellow artist Frederick Carver featured in Les Sixties, a Paris exhibition of psychedelic art that then transferred to the Brighton Festival and… “the spectral, hallucinatory scenarios of J.G. Ballard, especially in his novel The Crystal World – bodied forth in Tyrrell’s apocalyptic poster design."[2]

In 1965 Tyrrell, whilst still a student, had met the writer, Idries Shah, who had begun introducing timeless ideas from the Sufi tradition into the Western world. In 1969 he was invited to attend regular gatherings of writers, poets, actors, businessmen, diplomats, academics, craftsmen and others at Shah’s home in Kent.[3]

He joined The Institute for Cultural Research in 1970. In 1977 Tyrrell art directed thirty-six illustrators for the first edition of World Tales by Idries Shah and contributed some illustrations himself.[4]


In 1987 he closed his graphic design service due to the recession and began learning about psychotherapy. He was shocked to discover how bad training was: most psychotherapists had little basic knowledge of psychology and worked mainly from simplistic and cult-like therapy movements.[5]

Human Givens Journal[edit]

In 1993, encouraged by the psychiatrist and writer Robin Skynner, author Doris Lessing, psychologist Joe Griffin and Idries Shah, he launched a journal, The Therapist, in an attempt to inject some scientific rigour and common sense into the field. Medical journalist Denise Winn was appointed Editor in 1997 and Ivan Tyrrell became General Editor. In 2000 its name was changed to Human Givens, to reflect the growing interest in the Human Givens approach to psychotherapy, behaviour and education that he was developing with Griffin. Human Givens is now the official journal of the Human Givens Institute. The journal gave him the opportunity of publishing interviews with people whose ideas interested him such as: Richard Bentall, Doris Lessing, Robin Skynner, Margaret Heffernan, John Cacioppo and many others.[6]


Tyrrell began teaching courses in psychology and psychotherapy in 1996 and is now director with Joe Griffin of Human Givens College. The Griffin/Tyrrell collaboration contributed to psychotherapy and consciousness studies and publications. Their human givens approach is now endorsed by peer-reviewed papers.


  • Hypnosis and Trance States: The first explanation of hypnosis from an evolutionary perspective. (1998) Co-author: Griffin, J. Organising Idea Monograph, No.1. European Therapy Studies Institute. ISBN 1-899398-90-2.
  • Psychotherapy and the Human Givens. (1998) Co-author: Griffin, J. Organising Idea Monograph, No.2. European Therapy Studies Institute. ISBN 1-899398-95-3.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Depression: The connection between depression and dreaming and what it means for psychotherapy. (1999) Co-author: Griffin, J. Organising Idea Monograph, No.3. European Therapy Studies Institute.
  • The APET model: patterns in the brain. (2000) Co-author: Griffin, J. Organising Idea Monograph, No.4. European Therapy Studies Institute. ISBN 1-899398-06-6.
  • The Shackled Brain: How to release locked in patterns of psychological trauma. (2000) Co-author: Griffin, J. Organising Idea Monograph, No.5. European Therapy Studies Institute. ISBN 1-899398-11-2.


  • The Survival Option: A guide to living through nuclear war. (1982) Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0-224-02059-5.
  • The Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking. (2003) Co-author: Griffin, J. HG Publishing, ISBN 1-899398-31-7.
  • Dreaming Reality: How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad. (2004) Co-author: Griffin, J. HG Publishing, ISBN 1-899398-36-8.
  • How to lift depression...fast. (2004) Co-author: Griffin, J. HG Publishing, ISBN 1-899398-41-4.
  • Freedom from addiction: The secret behind successful addiction busting. (2005) Co-author: Griffin, J. HG Publishing, ISBN 1-899398-46-5
  • Back from the brink: Coping with stress. (2005) Co-author: Leeson, N. Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-1075-8.
  • Godhead, The Brain’s Big Bang: The explosive origin of creativity, mysticism and mental illness. (2011) Co-author: Griffin, J. HG Publishing, ISBN 978-1-899398-27-0
  • Listening to Idries Shah: How Understanding Can Grow. (2016) HG Publishing, ISBN 978-1-899398-08-9.


  1. ^ Carver Tyrrell Ltd. Company number 1105253. Registered address: 97 Church St, Brighton E Sussex BN1 1UJ. Information from Companies House, UK.
  2. ^ The Sixties. Britain and France, 1962–1973. The Utopian Years, edited by David Alan Mellor and Laurent Gervereau. Published by Phillip Wilson Publishers, London. ISBN 978-0856674679
  3. ^ This period was discussed in an interview with Doris Lessing. The Therapist (1993) Vol. 1 Issue 3.
  4. ^ See the introductory note to the illustrations by Ivan Tyrrell in the illustrated edition of Idries Shah’s, World Tales, (1979). Allan Lane.
  5. ^ "Shattered lives interview - hypnosis, suggestibility, cult formation and psychotherapy malpractice". Human Givens Blog. HG Library. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2014.Ivan Tyrrell’s discussion with Mark Pendergrast and Frances Hill in The Therapist, 1997, Volume 4, No 3
  6. ^ Archive in HGI website

External links[edit]