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HG Newsletter - October 2020

In this issue:

The blue pencil has changed hands!  We’d like to offer enormous thanks to Julia Welstead who has edited the newsletter over the past few years; for her insights, information and generally keeping us abreast of HG within the wider world. 

I’m Carol Harper and I’m donning the green eye shade to continue the tradition and offer comment on topical events as they relate to us within the Human Givens community and beyond.

Self awareness as a measure of maturity is a quality we may all aspire towards.  In order to know and understand ourselves we have to recognise the impact of how we have been shaped by the society in which we live.  Rather than expanding our horizons and understanding, reducing education, for example, to limited curricula narrows opinion and discourages critical thinking.  Human Givens professionals all too well understand the susceptibility of humans to suggestion and influence, and how easily we are manipulated.

Read on for topical news and comment; upcoming courses – and challenges!


Unconscious bias

In his book, The Elephant in the Dark, Idries Shah wrote the following about bias: “the widespread existence of bias, misinformation and lack of knowledge … militate against the effectiveness of dialogue … by the most subtle and one of the most effective of instruments — the subconscious, almost the subliminal, introduction of hostility.”

In Human Givens we recognise there are three main obstacles to an individual getting their emotional needs met in healthy balance.

The first is the recognition that if a person’s home, work or relationship environment is toxic, their ability to be emotionally well will be compromised.  

Secondly we talk about a person’s ability to use their innate guidance system to access skills which facilitate their path through the world, e.g. managing social situations and stress, anger or anxiety.

Thirdly and profoundly, we consider the physical or psychological damage that a person has sustained which compromise the operation of the guidance system.

One of the implications of psychological damage is understanding the degree to which our cultural and familial conditioning, together with our beliefs about ourselves, others and the world, impact our day-to-day behaviour.   

The controversial concept of unconscious bias training is increasingly debated, largely as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, and it seems to have created something of a furore, citing freedom of speech and the right to make up one’s own mind over such matters.  Becoming aware of our biases is seen by some as a key move towards encouraging equality, inclusion and diversity (three paralysing nominalisations), while others say it’s a virtue signalling tick box move which will not change peoples’ behaviours and may even make people more prejudiced...   [read article]


Black History Month

The celebration of Black History Month during October links in to the need for recognising our biases and conditioning.

Black History Month image

In recent months hundreds of thousands of people from different backgrounds have called for a greater balance in education when children are taught about British and European history.  They believe that the problem with history as taught is that it’s inevitably one-sided and doesn’t reflect the experiences of all involved, often only reflecting the views specific to the culture for which it’s written.

This call for change has been rejected by the current department of education so children will continue to learn only aspects of British influence around the world rather than the larger task of teaching the history of all humankind.  

Within academia, although the system has been overhauled recently, unconscious biases absorbed by visa streamlining systems processing applications from African, Asian and other minority ethnic migrant academics may have denied students in this country the opportunity to learn from experts in their respective fields.  More difficulties with an algorithm. 

Stop and Think

Alexandra Wilson, a black barrister who was recently mistaken for a defendant three times in one day, has called for more awareness training to be made available within the profession to tackle discrimination.  Could this begin more usefully in schools?  

Critical thinking is a skill we should all develop and that means stepping back from our cognitive ease and confirmation biases, and access wider frames of reference.  In order for us to be truly informed we have to be prepared to listen – a key skill in therapy – to the lived experiences of others.  We need to wake up from the imprisoning state of sleep that Shah described and stop and think.


Running in India

Photo of Dr Rajat ChauhanDr Rajat Chauhan specialises in sports medicine, trains runners to excel and organises tough races in the Himalayan mountains. Rajat first met Ivan Tyrrell in 2003 when studying in London and attending HG seminars and workshops. He has since claimed that Ivan’s teachings had a massive impact on how he practiced pain medicine and running.

Rajat was reminded of this when he met a friend of Ivan’s in Delhi and they got chatting about the human givens approach. He decided there and then to get in touch again and asked Ivan if he would talk to over 100 Indian runners (not the ducks!) about Human Givens ideas via Zoom a couple of days later. 

The feedback from the eclectic mix of participants was astonishingly good.  “Fantastic!” “Never heard anything like this before…” “Can we have more talks like this please!”  As often happens, the human givens central organising ideas struck a profound chord with people who had never heard them before. Zoom is certainly proving helpful in the spread of HG ideas.


Sober October

In case this one passed you by, October has been declared a Sober (or Sober-ish) month by Macmillian Cancer Support as a fundraiser for the charity.  Although by the time you read this you might be a little late to climb on the wagon, you can still make it!  The idea is that, instead of indulging in your usual tipple, you donate money to Macmillan. Their website gives full details (although some ideas seem a little odd in this time of COVID). 

An article in the Guardian detailed specifically healthy alternatives to fill the time when you may otherwise settle down with a glass or two to unwind.

Human Givens’ practitioners will be more than familiar with many of these and they offer useful strategies for people who may be looking to reduce their alcohol intake at any time of year. There are also of course the Tackling Addiction online course and attended workshop:  Brief Therapy for Stopping Addictions.


Live Online Courses – new price

Live Online Courses

Some good things always come out of adversity and the new HG College live online courses are proving to be just that. We continue to get great feedback and have added more dates and courses – and also dropped the price!  You can now benefit from training with our expert tutors wherever you are in the world...

A big thank you to everyone who has attended our live online events so far – they've helped get the College through a difficult time. More courses are in development.

"I cannot rate the experience highly enough. Thank you so much for the hard work that must have gone into organising this."


Food for thought

“Ideally what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this:
“You are in the process of being indoctrinated.  We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination.  We are sorry, but it is the best we can do.  What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture.  The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be.  You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors.  It is a self-perpetuating system.  Those of you who are more robust and individual than others, will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself - educating your own judgement.  Those that stay must remember, always and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (1962) Michael Joseph Ltd., London.

Carol Harper - Editor

We hope you and yours are keeping well.

Do get in contact if you have any helpful advice, news or interesting case studies that you think other readers would like to hear about.

Take care, and stay safe

Carol Harper
Human Givens News


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