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
Denise Winn talks with Professor John Ratey about the brain as a social organ, and the need to be alert early to inept social skills.
GP Mona Mahfouz shows how dramatically the human givens approach has altered the way she works
Janice Haddon shows how she has drawn upon the human givens approach to work more creatively with corporate clients.
Emily Gajewski describes how, as a therapist in private practice, she helped a client overcome the psychotic delusions that were keeping her trapped.
In this article, Joe Griffin suggests that techniques which can yield immediate success, may share an underlying mechanism.
A young Russian woman, Nina, describes how just three sessions of human givens therapy lifted her suicidal depression and turned her life around.
Lorraine Debnam describes how she used her chance to bring psychological help to Rwandan street children.
Carol Harper explores how we can use the insights from the human givens approach to protect and improve our children’s mental health – not only during the current crisis but for the long-term …
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