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
The torment of ‘caring’ for a much-loved brother suffering from psychosis, to whom the NHS has failed to offer meaningful help …
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.
Treatmenta for schizophrenia that involve no drugs, or only low doses of them, urgently need investigation, suggests Dr Tim Calton, lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, and colleagues.
Even though self-harm is discussed in the media, the subject of self-harming can still feel difficult to approach. Emily Gajewski's ‘From Self-harm to Self-belief’ one-day training course offers clear, research-based framework and practical skills, so you needn’t feel that way again….
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 talks with Professor Ian Robertson about the role of experience in the sculpting of our brains, and why certain types of counselling may do harm.
When? That’s the big unanswerable question: the uncertainty of which can cause us debilitating fear or a ‘head in the sand’ attitude of ignoring the inevitable. In this article Julia Welstead looks at our mortality and preparing for the inevitable.
Hugh McNab illustrates how to successfully detraumatise even the most severe cases of trauma and anxiety-related disorders and help a client back to a meaningful livelihood.