Why we evolved to dream
Back in the 1980s the Irish psychologist, Joe Griffin, co-founder of the human givens approach, was fascinated by the age-old puzzle of why we dream. Nature is always efficient in her design, he reasoned, so he set about to discover its true purpose.
His extensive published research (carried out over 12 years) resulted in the first comprehensive, scientifically consistent theory of why we evolved to dream – his expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming. This has led, through his work with Ivan Tyrrell (who was one of the first to realise the huge implications of Joe's research), to huge improvements in the treatment of depression, addiction, psychological trauma and the early stages of psychosis.
His discovery, which has significantly advanced our understanding of the causes of mental health and emotional problems, was satisfyingly simple, easy to test ourselves – and consistent with all scientific dream and sleep research to date. No new research has contradicted it. (You can read more here)
Griffin's important work has also thrown invaluable light on the little-appreciated importance of the REM state – which has to do with a lot more than just dreaming.
You can read more about his work and watch Joe giving a lecture about it here, where he also shows how new research continues to back up his theory,
And the book, which covers the story of his discovery and the research findings that corroborate it, is full of dream descriptions which are convincingly explained – including a new analysis of Freud's famous 'Dream of Irma's injection':
by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell
Explore our articles and interviews
When we react excessively to events, major or minor, we may be victims of a primitive survival mechanism gone awry, suggests Joe Griffin. Despite often causing years of distress, it can be treated successfully — and usually remarkably quickly.
Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell explain how and why a human givens approach can help therapists shift depression in just a few sessions — or less.
Dr Farouk Okhai opens his casebook to show how the human givens approach can best help severely distressed people.
Emily Gajewski describes how the human givens approach has provided a practical focus for working with women struggling to cope with everyday life
Self-harm is still a taboo subject. Angela shares her experience of self-harm and the impact it had on her life before taking the first steps to recovery.
Sheila Barratt-Smith tells Denise Winn that the images and language used to describe birth can determine whether a woman experiences pain — or euphoria.
In 2002 BACP published new ethical guidelines. Before publication, Ivan Tyrrell questioned the main author of the guidelines, Tim Bond, about what they actually mean.
Ivan Tyrrell explores with Adam Curtis how Freudian ideas are flourishing in business and politics today and insidiously influence all of our lives.
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In the light of current global events, several people have asled us to make Ivan Tyrrell's fascinating free webinar available once more – you can now watch it online, read on for details...
Understanding extremism in the Syrian conflict through the prism of 'Human Givens' - Thursday 16th March 2017 in Cheltenham