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Benefits of the human givens approach

Wherever the human givens approach is implemented – in the fields of mental and physical health, welfare and social care, education, coaching, business or diplomacy, for instance – people find it soon benefits everyone involved.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It gives us a clear framework of what all human beings need to live mentally healthy and fulfilling lives – based on a solid understanding of the essentials needs and resources we are all born with, whatever our circumstances or cultural background
  • Helps us to identify why a person is experiencing their current difficulties and what can be done about it
  • Avoids ideology and focuses on which brief, practical psychological interventions have been proven (not only by research, but also practical experience) to be effective for reducing emotional distress and behavioural problems
  • Applies the very latest insights from neuroscience and psychological research
  • Brings new insights and newly-devised interventions of its own
  • Explains in clear terms the causes of a wide range of emotional distress and behavioural problems
  • Uses the most effective psychotherapeutic techniques from a wide range of approaches, combining them into one highly effective and flexible 'tool box'
  • Provides a practical, holistic way of working with patients and enables therapy to be easily tailored to each individual's needs
  • Research demonstrates that Human Givens therapy (HGT) works quickly and effectively – in four to six sessions on average*

  • Draws on knowledge from other disciplines and cultures and provides a highly practical, 'joined up' way of working that looks at at the bigger picture in order to see what's not working in a person's life and why
  • Is brief and solution-focused, aiming to help individuals regain control over their lives as quickly as possible (therapists are taught to help their clients feel an improvement from the very first session)
  • Patients typically respond very well to this approach, which can also be used with severely ill patients
  • Uses clear, jargon-free language which makes it easy for practitioners to explain to their clients, whatever their age, the causes of their distress and how human givens therapy can help
  • It encourages clients to use their own volition and empowers them by helping them to understand their symptoms and why they got into difficulties, as well as what they need to do to avoid them in the future, whilst also providing them with effective strategies to help them cope if they do
  • Because this knowledge about human psychology, emotional health and behaviour is so fundamental to every human interaction and endeavour, the skills and knowledge encompassed in this approach are widely applicable to a wealth of other fields
  • The approach also provides helpful explanations and powerful interventions for clients who struggle with pain, physical illness and disability – a major challenge for a significant minority of people who seek help
  • Provides a shared language – a lingua franca – that also allows clear and jargon-free communication between practitioners of different disciplines as well as with clients
  • An approach which not only looks at what’s not working in clients’ lives but also uses their strengths, skills and resources in order to effect self-generated change and enhance their sense of self-mastery
  • The HG approach to supervision is light touch, non-hierarchical and creative with, first and foremost, a focus on improving outcomes for clients
  • And because the approach brings clarity and is highly effective, it also saves organisations time and money


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* Andrews, W. P., Wislocki, A. P., Short, F., Chow, D., Minami, T. (2013) "A 5-year evaluation of the Human Givens therapy using a Practice Research Network", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 18 Issue: 3, 2013, pp 165-176.

* 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 (British Psychological Society).


The following knowledge, skills and attitudes are characteristic of the human givens approach.

A human givens counsellor or therapist:

  • knows how to build rapport quickly
  • knows how to get good quality information from their clients
  • understands depression and how to lift it
  • can help immediately with anxiety problems, including trauma or fear- related symptoms
  • is prepared to give advice if needed or asked for
  • will not use jargon or ‘psychobabble’
  • will not dwell unduly on the past
  • will be supportive when difficult feelings emerge, but will not encourage people to get emotional beyond the normal need to ‘let go’ of any bottled up problems
  • may assist clients to develop social skills so that their needs for affection, friendship, pleasure, intimacy and their connection to the wider community can be better fulfilled
  • will help clients to draw on their own resources (which are usually greater than they think)
  • will be considerate of the effects of counselling on the people close to their clients
  • can teach clients to relax deeply when needed
  • can help clients think about their problems in new and more empowering ways
  • can use a wide range of techniques
  • may set tasks between sessions
  • will take as few sessions as possible
  • will increase their client’s self confidence and independence and make sure they feel better after every consultation.

Find your nearest human givens therapist

What makes human givens therapy different from other approaches?

Reviewed August 2023

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