Why we need to understand healthy minds
It took millions of years for the human mind to evolve into the self-forming creature we can now become. We have reached a watershed where exciting recent discoveries about how the mind/body system works enable us to understand the processes by which the human nature of a new child can successfully unfold to create an effective and fulfilled individual.
Science has discovered that nature endows each healthy human conception with a wonderful array of living genetic 'templates' – an infinitely rich treasure house of patterns that instinctively seek completion in the environment from the moment of birth. This genetically driven process continues as we grow and evolve throughout life.
These patterns are expressed as physical and emotional needs and are in a state of continuous ebb and flow. And nature is doubly generous, as she also brings us into the world with the means to help us get those needs met.
It is precisely the way these needs are met, by the impact life has on them, that determines the individual nature, character and mental health of each person.
Only by cooperating with these natural processes — the human givens — can children be educated and matured into independent, fully integrated and fulfilled adults. And, when things go wrong and people seek help, only by working in alignment with the human givens can other people help them overcome emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, addictions, anger disorders and psychotic breakdowns.
HGI members are concerned with how the practical consequences of this knowledge are spread and applied in education and mental health care and social policy making.
Human imagination has created an environment that now, to many, seems out of control, whirling around us so fast and in such disturbing ways that we can no longer passively accept that our culture can reliably provide everyone in it with the psychological nourishment needed to properly unfold ourselves as human beings.
The speed of change, and the carelessness with which we instigate change, is partly why there are such massive increases in many forms of mental illness. The latest statistics show that half of all people in our culture (Europe and the USA) will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives and up to 20% of the population is mentally disturbed at any one time. The same figure applies to children, a fifth of who are said to be seriously emotionally disturbed, a fact that is having a massive impact on the education system.
The pressure is building rapidly because these trends are worsening. If we were to observe such a rapidly escalating rate of dysfunctional behaviour in any other species we would conclude that environmental pressures were endangering its survival.
Explore our articles and interviews
Val Giblett shares her experience of how human givens principles helped her cope, in her own way, with the diagnosis and treatment of an aggressive cancer.
When someone's daily life becomes bogged down by a personal difficulty, and they often cannot find a way through it for themselves, they can suffer from distressing feelings of insecurity and loss of control. Human givens psychotherapy aims to restore that control in the shortest time possible by working with effective tools and modern knowledge to resolve most difficulties, whether expressed as trauma, anxiety, phobia, depression, addiction, or other obstacles to well-being.
Ivan Tyrrell reviews "The Attention Merchants: how our time and attention are gathered and sold" by Tim Wu (Atlantic Books, £20.00)
Carol Harper considers our relationship with the natural world
Social work should be about helping people yet, bogged down in bureaucracy, it has lost its way. Jan Little shows how the human givens approach can put it back on track.
Much more is gained from hearing and telling stories, rather than just reading them, says Pat Williams.
Last night, while you slept, you went into the REM state and dreamed. You probably don't remember because, for a very good reason, we evolved not to. However all normal humans go into the REM state and dream every night and most mammals show evidence of this brain pattern too.
Teacher trainer Andy Vass shows how knowledge and application of the human givens approach could help hard-pressed teachers reduce stress and improve the climate in class.
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Please share your ideas - and look out for the first episode, featuring a discussion with Joe Griffin about sleep and dreaming.
The latest issue of the HGI's official journal is available now - you can find out more here.