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.
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.
Emily Gajewski describes how the human givens approach has provided a practical focus for working with women struggling to cope with everyday life
Ivan Tyrrell warns that hypnosis is a powerful tool that must be used with care, understanding and integrity.
Aric Sigman explains why craft-based skills are as important as academic ones, and need to be taught in all schools.
Brett Culham describes the outcome of his research to validate the needs-based human givens approach to psychological health.
John Bell suggests that only a radically different, innate needs-based approach to conflict resolution can bring a possibility of peace to the Middle East.
In this article, Joe Griffin suggests that techniques which can yield immediate success, may share an underlying mechanism.
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