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Who is this course suitable for?

The Human Givens Diploma (HG.Dip.) is primarily for people already working in mental health, education or social services, who wish to improve their skills, knowledge and effectiveness. People from a wide range of caring professions have already completed the course. They include: counsellors, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, psychotherapists, consultant physicians, occupational therapists, childcare managers, teachers, police counsellors, family court welfare officers, drug project managers, nurses, GPs, youth workers, social workers, addiction counsellors, complementary therapists, community development consultants and midwives (you can read some of their comments here).

However, because the course and deals with fundamental issues that affect all human beings and provides a highly practical framework for improving emotional health and wellbeing, many individuals from other professions – such as education, social work, business consultancy, parenting programmes, back-to-work schemes and more) – also find it hugely beneficial.

All aspects of the course are presented in clear language, without the use of jargon, so anyone interested in the subjects covered, or wishing to embark on a career in counselling or psychotherapy for the first time, can benefit from attending. This, combined with the flexibility of the course structure, enables anyone with the appropriate aptitude to progress through the Diploma at a pace that suits them.

The appeal of the qualifications in Human Givens Psychotherapy is wide and English speaking professionals have come from America, France, Italy, Malta, Scandinavia, Ireland and South Africa to take the Human Givens Diploma, as well as from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. The United Nations has event sent someone on the course.

Why is this qualification different?

Unfortunately, many counselling and psychotherapy training courses, even at degree level, fail to give people enough information and skills to be really effective in their work.[1,2] This lets down the growing numbers seeking help for psychological distress, sometimes harms people (for example, some forms of therapy and counselling can – unintentionally – make depression worse [3,4]) and waste time and money [5]). But depressed, suicidal, anxious, psychotic, addicted or traumatised people can be helped provided those endeavouring to do so have the latest up-to-date psychological knowledge and requisite skills.

This diploma course was created to provide that often-missing knowledge and teach the necessary skills. It is designed for those who want a scientifically sound, skills-based qualification in bio-psycho-social counselling and psychotherapy in order to treat the most common forms of distress more speedily and surely. (Click here to read how human givens therapists can help people.)

Click here – to read about the research into the efficacy of the human givens approach.

To help people effectively, what should I be able to do?

You need to know how to quickly set about treating depression, anger and anxiety disorders, addiction, compulsions, trauma, sexual and relationship problems. The effective counselling checklist produced by the HGI outlines what a member of the public seeking help should expect from any form of counselling or psychotherapeutic intervention. It can also help counsellors and other health professionals assess whether they need more training to deal with serious emotional distress (by simply asking themselves how confident they feel about doing everything on the list).[6]

What are the 'human givens'?

The human givens are what nature has endowed us with, the genetic ‘templates’ that are expressed as innate physical and emotional needs. Our physical needs are fairly obvious but psychological and emotional needs sometimes less so. They include the needs for attention, security, emotional connection to others, connection to the wider community, status, a sense of control and autonomy and to be 'stretched' so as to become competent in different areas of our lives. It is being stretched and solving problems that gives life its meaning.

Nature also gives us the resources to help us meet these needs, including: memory, imagination and problem solving abilities, and the means to become more objective. It is these needs and resources (which are built into our biology) that together make up the human givens. To be effective, counsellors or psychotherapists have to work in alignment with the human givens – because it is these that make us who we are. > Read more

What is a human givens therapist?

When emotional needs are met people do not have mental health problems. But when they not (for whatever reason), or their innate resources are underdeveloped or used incorrectly, people suffer considerable distress. And so can those around them.[7] Human givens therapists therefore focus on helping clients clarify this and empower them to meet their needs by creatively activating their own natural resources in new ways. The approach developed from a solid basis of, and interest in, what is known about human behaviour, neurobiology and psychology, and by studying which approaches and techniques are proven most effective in helping people.[8] Human givens therapists, therefore, are practising a skillful craft, working with the individual they see in front of them rather than following a prescribed format. > Read more.

How do I become a fully-qualified human givens therapist?

To become fully qualified and accredited to practice you need to complete the Human Givens Diploma up to Practitioner Assessment Level – what we call Part 3. You can read more about this by clicking here.

Is there an accredited register for fully-qualified HG therapists?

Yes, once you've successfully passed your Part 3 assessment, you are eligible to join the Human Givens Institute as a Registered Member and be entered on the HGI's Professional Register, which is independently accredited in the UK by the Professional Standards Authority   > Read more

What are the benefits of studying this particular approach?

The human givens approach is a genuinely holistic joined-up approach, which takes into account the biological, psychological and social factors of a person's life and is informed by the very latest research from various disciplines which it combines with a powerful 'tool box' of the most effective therapeutic skills psychological interventions. It is a highly respectful approach which empowers people to regain control of their lives as quickly as possible.

Click here to read more about the many advantages of this approach. Click here to read case history examples.

What course materials are there?

Every one- or two- day course that makes up Part 1 of the Diploma has a set of accompanying notes which complement the training. And for Part 2, as well as a fascinating reading list (none of which is overly academic), each course participant is sent a copy of a comprehensive course manual before the two weeks begin so that they have time beforehand to read it through and digest its contents.

Some courses insist that I should have therapy myself – do I need to have personal counselling myself to do this course?

No. One of the many myths that grew up in the field is that counsellors and therapists need to undergo many hours of being counselled themselves to qualify. We are clear about this ‘requirement’. Extensive research shows conclusively that therapists who have personal counselling are not more effective.[9,10] Moreover, the type of counselling that many trainee counsellors and therapists are required to undergo can actually be harmful to them.[11,12] People only need counselling when their lives aren’t working. Just as we only need to take medicine when we are ill – and then in the right quantity, and at the right time, from someone who really understands our condition. Those with the aptitude and spare capacity to do this work would not need counselling.

Does the course offer work-based placements?

Work-based placements are not a feature of the course, but we encourage our students to get as much practical experience and practice in using the skills as possible either in there own current place of work, or through voluntary positions. The opportunity for these sometimes come up in practices where human givens therapists are already working, and we have a nationwide network of HG therapist peer-groups nationwide who can help students with advice on finding suitable practical experience if needs be.


1. Mental health promotion in high risk groups. Effective Health Care (1997). Vol 3, no 3.

2. Counselling in primary care: a systematic review of the research evidence. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling (2000), 28, 2, 215-231.

3. Lakin, M. (1988) Ethical Issues in the Psychotherapies. Oxford University Press.

4. Griffin, J. and Tyrrell, I. (2000) Breaking the Cycle of Depression. HG Publishing.

5. For a well referenced review of the situation see, Persaud, R (2001) Staying Sane. Bantam

6. This checklist was prepared after ten years research by a team at ETSI.

7. Social Exclusion Unit Report: Mental Health and Social Exclusion. (2004) ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister).

8. Griffin, J. and Tyrrell, I. (2004) Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking. HG Publishing.

9. People do not need counselling before doing counselling: The objective evidence for this view is overwhelming. See Russell, R. (1993), Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony. Hilgarth Press, which was later endorsed by the American Psychological Association.

10. See also Hogan, D.B. The Regulation of Psychotherapists, 4 vols. Ballinger.

11. Dawe, R. M. (1994). House of Cards: Psychology and psychotherapy built on myth. Simon & Schuster.

12. Dineen, T. (1996). Manufacturing Victims: What the psychology industry is doing to people. Robert Davies.


If you would like to know more about the course, or would like to discuss your options in more detail before applying, please don't hesitate to contact the College Registrar, Mark Thomas, on 01323 811690 or via email.



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