Why we evolved to dream
Back in the 1980s the Irish psychologist, Joe Griffin, co-founder of the human givens approach, was fascinated by the age-old puzzle of why we dream. Nature is always efficient in her design, he reasoned, so he set about to discover its true purpose.
His extensive published research (carried out over 12 years) resulted in the first comprehensive, scientifically consistent theory of why we evolved to dream – his expectation fulfilment theory of dreaming. This has led, through his work with Ivan Tyrrell (who was one of the first to realise the huge implications of Joe's research), to huge improvements in the treatment of depression, addiction, psychological trauma and the early stages of psychosis.
His discovery, which has significantly advanced our understanding of the causes of mental health and emotional problems, was satisfyingly simple, easy to test ourselves – and consistent with all scientific dream and sleep research to date. No new research has contradicted it. (You can read more here)
Griffin's important work has also thrown invaluable light on the little-appreciated importance of the REM state – which has to do with a lot more than just dreaming.
You can read more about his work and watch Joe giving a lecture about it here, where he also shows how new research continues to back up his theory,
And the book, which covers the story of his discovery and the research findings that corroborate it, is full of dream descriptions which are convincingly explained – including a new analysis of Freud's famous 'Dream of Irma's injection':
by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell
Explore our articles and interviews
Ivan Tyrrell asks Professor Richard Noll, author of ‘The Jung Cult’, to unravel the lies Carl G Jung told to aggrandise himself and his charismatic psychoanalytic movement.
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..
James Tapper suggests that Charles Dickens’s famous seasonal novel contains much that reflects the human givens approach to therapy.
Joe Griffin explains why dreaming, and forgetting our dreams, fulfils a vital human need.
Julia Welstead considers the connection between our mental health and our planet
Self-harm is still a taboo subject. Angela shares her experience of self-harm and the impact it had on her life before taking the first steps to recovery.
In the first of what will become an annual feature, Ian Thomson, deputy chair of the HGI’s Registration and Professional Standards Committee (RPSC), shares learning points from cases presented within the past year for adjudication or advice.
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Human Givens therapist and tutor, Ros Townsend, has been invited to join an internationally recognised panel of speakers at the Trauma Recovery Summit which takes place from June 21-23 this year.
This update on Marion Brown's work to highlight the often tragic effects of withdrawal from prescription medicines was first shared in the April 2021 issue of the HG Newsletter.