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
Angela Austin describes how the human givens approach has informed her work to create an emotionally safe place where children with autism can learn.
Carol Harper considers how the Human Givens approach can help us to manage expectations, adapt to our new reality and develop resilience
In the 1930s a Bedouin tribesman introduced a young Irish doctor to the powers of the subconscious mind. Sixty years later, after doing over four thousand operations using hypnosis. Dr Jack Gibson talks to Joe Griffin..
Stuart Coulden describes an innovative project for enhancing emotional health in diverse school communities.
GP Mona Mahfouz shows how dramatically the human givens approach has altered the way she works
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.
Doris Lessing believes we are all much closer to craziness than we like to believe. In conversations with Ivan Tyrrell she talks about age, breakdowns and the ubiquitous 'self-hater'.
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Topics include Grief and Bereavement, Self-harm and Trauma. You can find out more here.
Date posted: 21/04/2022
Gain topical new HG insights - with Denise Winn's Helping Humanity Thrive blog - on Psychology Today.
Date posted: 21/04/2022