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2021 Programme and Speakers

This year promises to be another cracking conference with some fascinating new insights being presented for the first time, a wealth of content to expand your professional knowledge and inspirational illustrations of how widely the HG approach is spreading.  Attendance counts as 12 hours of CPD.


Due to the unprecendented public health crisis we find ourselves in the midst of, we have post-poned our 2020 conference until 2021. Our apologies for any disappointment this may cause. We hope you and your family stay well.


Saturday 15th May 2021



Introduction to the conference
Sue Gray – HGI chair


Brain inflammation and disturbed sleep

GP and HG practitioner Andrew Morrice shows that the links between inflammation in the brain and disturbed sleep are more subtle and various than previously thought. The new detail deepens our understanding of depression and illuminates the connections between sickness behaviour, fatigue and malaise, and pain.


Keeping HG up to date

The Research and Update Group introduce their ideas for updating human givens education in line with the latest research and new neuroscientific understandings. They also introduce their proposal for an HG ‘Wiki’ research website, which could be used to compile evidence supporting the HG approach, and explain how individual HG practitioners can contribute.


Tea/coffee break


Challenges of therapy with veterans in prisons

HG practitioner Carol Harper has seen a high number of PTSD Resolution clients in custody and has also begun working with the mental health team at HMP Dartmoor, seeing non-veterans in a voluntary capacity. She describes the challenges of working within the constraints of a prison environment. Her presentation will be followed by a short film made by students at Ravensbourne University, featuring a veteran with PTSD who has been in prison several times and commentary from academics.

12.15 Just What We Need in the community

HG practitioners Carmen Kane and Linda Hoggan, who originated the HG Just What We Need parents’ programme 12 years ago, update us on its evolution into wider community applications, including its current role in local government’s back-to-work schemes, organised through the Department for Work and Pensions. They also show how the model can enrich one-to-one therapy. 




When a client complains…

Mark Stobbs, Director of Scrutiny and Quality at the PSA, leads a challenging, interactive session on circumstances which, unexpectedly, might lead to complaints from a client against a therapist, and how to anticipate/avoid or best handle. He is also willing to respond to questions from the floor – it would be especially helpful to have these in advance, so that Mark can give them thought.

Please send any question suggestions to [email protected]  Eg: is it okay to see an existing client’s partner individually about their own issues, at the request of both? What are the pitfalls when trying to find clients to ‘practise’ on, when still a trainee?


Tea/coffee break


Working with refugees and asylum seekers

HG practitioner Malcolm Hanson discusses his experience of receiving NHS referrals (often for the effects of torture, persecution or other forms of control) for trafficked individuals and those seeking asylum. His talk includes an overview of people’s perception of the system they find themselves in, treatment strategies he found most effective, issues around use of translators and outcome measures, impact on the therapeutic relationship with this client group, and dealing with asylum outcomes and how to manage them with clients.


Conference Day ends


Annual General Meeting of the HGI
chaired by Dr Declan Lyons
(Not part of the conference but open to all HGI members)


Conference Dinner


Sunday 16th May 2021



Dr Declan Lyons


The paradox of schizophrenia

Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience, Ezra Hewing, HG practitioner and head of education at Suffolk Mind, presents fascinating evidence for the theory that hallucinations can be explained as REM state phenomena, and also resolves the paradox of dual negative and positive symptoms in schizophrenia. Identifying mechanisms which underlie psychosis and REM state phenomena has been the focus of Ezra’s MSc research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.


What ENA is telling us about mental health in organisations

Naomi Simons, research and data lead at Suffolk Mind, describes how, using a version of the Emotional Needs Audit (ENA), data collected from over 6,000 people living in Suffolk show how well, or not, their emotional needs are being met. These include employees from NHS hospitals and clinical commissioning groups, a creative arts organisation, a fire safety business and Suffolk Mind’s own staff, as well as the general Suffolk population. Surprising findings include the stable and predictable pattern that has emerged and what it tells us about the environments people live and work in; how ENAs can identify hierarchy and autonomy in organisations; the needs which are best met at the expense of others; and how this information can be used to improve mental health and workplace performance.


Tea/coffee break


Using HG to change the culture in care homes

Sue Gray, HG practitioner and consultant for Eastside Primetimers, a social sector management consultancy, describes outcomes so far in a pioneering consultancy project at an 80-bed specialist care home for people with complex disabilities. The aim is to use the human givens model to help change the prevailing ‘I care for you’ culture into a more re-abling one, where individuals are enabled to meet their own needs wherever possible. Staff, volunteers, residents and family members are all being educated in HG understandings and in practical ways to use needs and resources to influence processes such as re-ablement planning, creating a therapeutic day and monitoring wellbeing, so that together they can create the changing culture. Research and evaluation are designed into the programme throughout.


Telling the truth about psychiatric medication

Retired HG practitioner Marion Brown has been at the forefront of the campaign to urge the royal colleges for psychiatrists and GPs to acknowledge and provide patient guidance on the full range of possible side- and withdrawal effects of psychiatric medications. Here she provides the latest in this still-developing story, summarises recent guidance for psychological therapists and invites questions and discussion around how best to help/inform confused clients, particularly about akathisia, the little-recognised side/withdrawal effect linked with many psychotropic medications, leading to extreme restlessness, insomnia and even suicide.  


Working with females on the autistic spectrum

For a long time, females on the autistic spectrum have gone undiagnosed and their needs are only now being better recognised. Miriam Chachamu, HG practitioner and family therapist for her local CAMHS, describes her wide experience of working with girls and women on the autistic spectrum – how they present differently from males; what to look out for/be alert to; concerns that commonly come up; and especial challenges faced, including sexuality/gender issues. She illustrates how she uses HG methods to work successfully with this client group.




The first national mental health charter for universities

Gareth Hughes, an HG practitioner working in psychological wellbeing at the University of Derby, describes his major role in developing the first national mental health charter for universities, a government-backed project designed to help universities support good mental health in staff and students. The framework for this aspirational charter launched late last year and universities will be able to apply for Charter status from the autumn of 2020. Gareth tells the compelling story of how the university sector and government were brought onside in taking a whole system approach to mental health – one that goes beyond services into all aspects of university life that impact on needs, from physical environment through to social life.


Professional survival skills in an age of political and corporate nonsense

Gavin Jinks, HG practitioner and senior lecturer in social work at the University of Derby explores how we can best cope with the plethora of changes to working practice or culture that get passed down from management or government, with remarkably little evidence to support them. He shows how easy it is for those in power to publish, manipulate or control information in a way that avoids scrutiny and argues that individuals or small groups can take practical and powerful steps that make a big difference, drawing on examples from different sectors to illustrate this.


Resurrecting common sense

Ivan Tyrrell explains how the wisdom in HG ideas and skills grew out of common sense. There is no wisdom where there is no common sense because, under that condition, it cannot find any expression. That is why, he says, when HG practitioners come up against rules created by people devoid of common sense, our task, first and foremost, is to find ways to vigorously champion this endangered characteristic. 


Tea/coffee break


Taking HG onwards and outwards

Questions and discussion around the ideas explored by Gavin and Ivan, with contributions related to personal professional experiences welcome from the floor.


Thanks and close



Places are limited, and demand high, so we recommend booking as soon as you can.

Our Special Conference Package includes attendance on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May, lunch on both days, 3-course Saturday evening dinner, refreshments at each break and conference materials.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Offer: 

SAVE £25 when you book before 1st March 2021

Early bird price:  £324.00 per person
Normal Price:  £349.00 per person

To book your place

Please call our friendly staff on +44(0)1323 811662 with your debit/credit card details.

Please note: If you're unable to attend the whole conference, there are single day options available – please contact the office for full details.


Woodland Grange is an award-winning residential venue in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, set in 16 acres of beautiful grounds, close to the Midlands motorway and rail network, with plenty of on-site parking.


We've negotiated special discounted Bed & Breakfast rates for Conference attendees on single and double rooms.

To take advantage of this offer call their Reservations Team on 01926 336621 quoting 'Human Givens'. Credit or debit card details will be required to secure your reservation at time of booking.

Single Room:
Discounted rate: £108 per night (normally £130)

Double Room:
Discounted rate: £126 per night (normally £155)

Latest News:

Introducing our new Chair

Sue Gray, who takes over from Dr Declan Lyons, is an accomplished Senior Health & Social Care Director and Clinician...