What makes good mental health?
Surviving or thriving – what’s the difference?
This is the question to be addressed in Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17), starting on 8 May 2017 and hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
Yet a fundamental understanding of this difference has been at the heart of the human givens approach ever since its inception 20 years ago.
We thrive when our essential emotional needs are met in balance – needs such as those for autonomy, security, emotional and community connection, achievement and meaning and purpose. And our needs are most likely to be met when we are using our innate resources – abilities such as memory, empathy, imagination, problem solving, thinking skills and managing emotions – to help us.
It is when people feel overwhelmed, out of their depth or isolated, or when they don’t know how to use their innate resources effectively, that they start to experience psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression or resort to unhealthy escape valves such as blowing their tops, harming others, or falling into addictions. Severe depression can lead to psychosis. And traumatic experiences can lead to any of these symptoms.
None of this happens when our lives are on track, and when we feel respected and valued as human beings.
The human givens approach has helped countless individuals turn their lives around, by showing them how to meet their needs and use their resources effectively.
But the problem is much bigger than that. Economic pressures on society, inequalities and often unimaginative leadership at national and local levels leave too many people literally struggling to survive or feeling cast aside. Priorities need to change.
The human given approach is all about recognising and meeting our own and others’ emotional needs wherever there are people – including schools, universities and workplaces of every kind.
For ideas on how to make the world a better place by taking account of human nature, see the Human Givens Charter.
More than ever before – these ideas are needed now.
Explore our articles and interviews
Joe Griffin goes back to basics to arrive at a some powerful new insights into the givens of human nature.
Last night, while you slept, you went into the REM state and dreamed. You probably don't remember because, for a very good reason, we evolved not to. However all normal humans go into the REM state and dream every night and most mammals show evidence of this brain pattern too.
Emily Gajewski describes how, as a therapist in private practice, she helped a client overcome the psychotic delusions that were keeping her trapped.
Social work should be about helping people yet, bogged down in bureaucracy, it has lost its way. Jan Little shows how the human givens approach can put it back on track.
In this article, Joe Griffin suggests that techniques which can yield immediate success, may share an underlying mechanism.
Mark Evans describes how working imaginatively with rewards and punishments has helped his clients achieve very swift change
Ivan Tyrrell explores with Adam Curtis how Freudian ideas are flourishing in business and politics today and insidiously influence all of our lives.
Most people think ethics is concerned with truth, justice, equality, loyalty, fairness, values, principles, morals, etc. All these words in italics are abstractions. They are content free. They contain no sensory information. Such words used to be called 'reifications' in philosophy and are now more commonly called 'nominalisations'.
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It's Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17) – and the human givens approach has many of the answers that the Mental Health Foundation is looking for...
‘JUST WHAT WE NEED’ is a therapeutic group approach using a Human Givens framework. Dates for the next 2 courses are available.