What makes good mental health?
Surviving or thriving – what’s the difference?
This is the question to be addressed in Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17), starting on 8 May 2017 and hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
Yet a fundamental understanding of this difference has been at the heart of the human givens approach ever since its inception 20 years ago.
We thrive when our essential emotional needs are met in balance – needs such as those for autonomy, security, emotional and community connection, achievement and meaning and purpose. And our needs are most likely to be met when we are using our innate resources – abilities such as memory, empathy, imagination, problem solving, thinking skills and managing emotions – to help us.
It is when people feel overwhelmed, out of their depth or isolated, or when they don’t know how to use their innate resources effectively, that they start to experience psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression or resort to unhealthy escape valves such as blowing their tops, harming others, or falling into addictions. Severe depression can lead to psychosis. And traumatic experiences can lead to any of these symptoms.
None of this happens when our lives are on track, and when we feel respected and valued as human beings.
The human givens approach has helped countless individuals turn their lives around, by showing them how to meet their needs and use their resources effectively.
But the problem is much bigger than that. Economic pressures on society, inequalities and often unimaginative leadership at national and local levels leave too many people literally struggling to survive or feeling cast aside. Priorities need to change.
The human given approach is all about recognising and meeting our own and others’ emotional needs wherever there are people – including schools, universities and workplaces of every kind.
For ideas on how to make the world a better place by taking account of human nature, see the Human Givens Charter.
More than ever before – these ideas are needed now.
Explore our articles and interviews
Ivan Tyrrell warns that hypnosis is a powerful tool that must be used with care, understanding and integrity.
Aric Sigman explains why craft-based skills are as important as academic ones, and need to be taught in all schools.
The final version of the Emotional Needs Scale resulting from Brett Culham's research into emotional needs.
THE pain–pleasure recall principle also explains the well-known phenomenon of conditioned taste aversion, which has always presented a problem for classical conditioning.
Read Mike Beard's therapist account of Nina's treatment.
The governing organisations of the world seem all at sea. They are missing an essential element: that of the psychology of human nature, which is programmed into us from our genes (the human 'givens').
Trevor Bailey, head of Worle School, raises issues about the impact of targets and inspections on the well-being of staff and thus on motivation and effectiveness..
Joe Griffin explains why dreaming, and forgetting our dreams, fulfils a vital human need.
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It's Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17) – and the human givens approach has many of the answers that the Mental Health Foundation is looking for...
‘JUST WHAT WE NEED’ is a therapeutic group approach using a Human Givens framework. Dates for the next 2 courses are available.