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“The HG approach is informed by NICE guidelines and the evidence upon which they are based … the approach is a bona fide treatment that significantly contributes to assisting service users in primary care to move towards recovery.”  (Click for research reference)

The human givens approach to psychotherapy continues to grow in popularity because it is often found in practice to be fast, effective and reliable. It also saves organisations money. (examples)

In today's evidence-based culture, however, an abundance of anecdotal reports of HG's effectiveness isn't enough and we are pleased that, as a result of a lot of people's hard work over the years, more and more formal research projects into the efficacy and benefits of the human givens (HG) approach are now being published (see below).


All human givens practitioners are encouraged by the College and their professional body, the Human Givens Institute (HGI), to work in an outcome-informed way to build up data for further research and measure their continued effectiveness.

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A five-year evaluation of Human Givens therapy using a practice research network


Last year the Human Givens Foundation (HGF) commissioned Bill Andrews to analyse and write up the patient outcome data gathered by HG therapists and submitted by them to the HGI's Practice Research Network (HGIPRN).


The resulting substantial paper based on five years’ worth of data from thousands of real-life cases by over 70 therapists working in a wide range of settings has now been published by the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Mental Health Review.


This larger study reinforces the findings from a pilot study (published by the British Psychological Society) as to the effectiveness of the HG approach in the relief of emotional distress and marks another important step in gaining wider acceptance for the human givens approach.

The abstract and article can be accessed via the following link:
Mental Health Review

The permanent URL link is:  doi 10.1108/MHRJ-04-2013-0011

Its official citation is:

Andrews, W. P., Wislocki, A. P., Short, F., Chow, D., Minami, T. (2013) "A 5-year evaluation of the Human Givens therapy using a Practice Research Network", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 18 Issue: 3

The HGF is now planning a randomised control trial (RCT) of HG therapy. And as his next step, Bill Andrews plans to produce a paper on the treatment of trauma by HG therapists.


 (September 2013)


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Academics recommend that the HG model be adopted by the NHS as a bona fide model of therapy in its own right


In September 2012 the Mental Health Review, published two peer-reviewed academic papers showing the effectiveness of the human givens approach; one involving the treatment of mild to moderate depression and the other to the therapeutic value of the HG Emotional Needs Audit (ENA) tool.

The research work was done by a distinguished team of academics, Dr Anna Tsaroucha, Professor Paul Kingston, Director of the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Dr Ian Walton, General Practitioner and Professor Tony Stewart, Professor in Public Health. It was also independently peer reviewed.


The Mental Health Review is an influential, high quality source of information and intelligence for researchers, managers, commissioners, purchasers and practitioners working in the field of mental health, so the content will be noticed. We hope it will also be acted upon, especially since it reveals that huge savings could be made if the human givens approach was more widely adopted.


You can read the original papers on the Mental Health Review website by clicking the following links:

Assessing the effectiveness of the “human givens” approach in treating depression

The emotional needs audit (ENA): a report on its reliability and validity

The abstract, conclusions and recommendations of the main paper on treating depression are below:



Purpose: This paper aims to present the findings of research commissioned by a Primary Care Trust in the UK to assess the implementation of a new pilot Human Givens mental health service (HGS) within primary care.

Method: Participating General Practitioners' practices were designated as either ‘Human Givens’ or ‘Control’ practices. The study focused on service users with mild to moderate depressed mood measured using HADS. The well-being of these participants was examined at the point of referral, and after four, eight and 12 months using three well being questionnaires.

Findings: The results revealed that emotional well-being significantly improved during the first four months following referral for both groups and this improvement was maintained up to and including one-year post referral. Compared to the Control group Human Givens therapy was found to be of shorter duration, lasting 1–2 sessions compared to standard treatment, which lasted on average four sessions.

Originality/value: Apart from the psychological insight and emotional support, it is suggested that Human Givens therapy might help the client to better function in society and maintain their sense of social integration. This has benefits to other providers of social care.

Conclusions and recommendations

The main recommendations of our work in this paper are threefold:

That the HG model be officially considered by the NHS as a bona fide model of therapy in its own right. This would greatly hasten the implementation of further studies and ease commissioning from managers acquainted with, and confused by, the variety of therapeutic models to choose from.

That NICE should be made aware of some of the techniques used by this approach. The most obvious candidate for this would be the imaginal exposure technique known as ‘rewind’, which has much in common with established imaginal exposure techniques used in CBT and already approved by NICE.

That training in the HG methodology and concepts be formally accepted as a mainstream option for CPD within the mental health community.


Permanent URL doi: 10.1108/13619321211270416



Emotional Needs Audit

The conclusions for the study on ENA are as follows:


The Griffin and Tyrrell (2004)* human givens book proposed that to live successful and fulfilling lives we need to have certain needs met and are born with the resources to do so. The needs and resources, they called the Human Givens. The needs are listed in the Emotional Health Audit. They further propose that if any needs are seriously unmet or if our innate resources are damaged, missing or used incorrectly we suffer distress, typically anxiety depression or anger. Human Givens therapy therefore aims to discover the areas where needs are unmet or where the patient might not be using their innate resources correctly and help a person to create ways to meet previously unmet needs.


The correlation of the ENA to already validated wellbeing and depression scales would support the Human Givens proposals that quality of life and mental ill-health and well-being is proportionally related to how well we are able to meet our emotional needs and that getting those needs met should be the goal of therapy. Unmet emotional needs can be discovered with the ENA and further, effectiveness of treatment may be monitored by doing the ENA before and after sessions, without the need to perform other previously validated measures.


Our findings show that the Emotional Needs Audit is acceptable in the domains of internal consistency, concurrent validity, discriminant validity, predictive validity, sensitivity and specificity. This suggests that it is a valid instrument for measuring emotional wellbeing, quality of life and emotional distress.

While the ENA seems to be able to measure similar domains to the SWLS and CORE-OM effectively, we suggest that the ENA scale has additional advantages. Firstly, the CORE-OM measures symptoms and the SWLS measures overall satisfaction with life. Neither scale, however, offers insights into the causes of symptoms or causes of dissatisfaction and distress. Our observations suggest that when faced with a patient in distress, it is necessary to evaluate not only the level of distress but also the causes of distress. The ENA allows the practitioner to evaluate such causes. Indeed, it allows the practitioner to focus down on the following areas:

Security — safe territory and an environment, which allows us to develop fully
Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
Feeling part of a wider community
Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
Sense of status within social groupings
Sense of competence and achievement
Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.

We conclude that in addition to measuring symptoms and satisfaction with life, the ENA is capable of providing greater understanding of the causes of any problems, and therefore has the potential to be the more useful instrument in clinical practice. Indeed we would argue that the results from ENA might allow a practitioner to develop a level of communication that might therapeutically assist the start of treatment.

Permanent URL doi: 10.1108/13619321211270407

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



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British Psychological Society publishes research showing the effectiveness of HG therapy

In 2011 The British Psychological Society's leading peer-reviewed journal, Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice published a 12-month evaluation of the Human Givens approach in primary care at a general medical practice which showed that more than three out of four patients were either symptom-free or reliably changed as a result of HG therapy.

This was accomplished in an average of only 3.6 sessions, significantly better than the recovery rate published for the UK government’s flagship IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme, which uses therapists trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).



The paper’s conclusion supports the massive amount of anecdotal evidence and therapeutic outcome data sets on thousands of patients now gathered by human givens therapists in the UK and Ireland.


Typical of the conclusions in the paper are:

“The HG approach is informed by NICE guidelines and the evidence upon which they are based … the approach is a bona fide treatment that significantly contributes to assisting service users in primary care to move towards recovery.”


“Pre- to post-treatment changes measured with the CORE-OM and CORE-10 suggested that the therapy was highly effective.”


And, “The HG approach is an effective treatment for working with service users presenting with a variety of problems, and particularly anxiety and depression, in primary care settings.”


The official citation for the research is: Andrews, W., Twigg, E., Minami, T. and Johnson, G. (11 February 2011) ‘Piloting a practice research network: A 12-month evaluation of the Human Givens approach in primary care at a general medical practice.' Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.

You can view the abstract and paper at the permanent URL:

Or email Bill Andrews at wandrews22@mac.com if you would like to receive a copy of the paper.

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Using Human Givens therapy to support the wellbeing of adolescents

Yvonne Yates and Cathy Atkinson from Manchester University explored the effectiveness of the HG approach in working with teenagers who were reporting poor subjective wellbeing. Their findings were published in ‘Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development’. This beautifully written paper really conveys a lot of detail about the approach.

You can view the abstract and paper at the permanent URL:
doi: 10.1080/02643944.2010.548395

Copies of the paper can also be obtained by emailing Cathy at: Cathy.Atkinson@manchester.ac.uk

Reference citation:
Yates, Y and Atkinson, C. (2011) Using Human Givens therapy to support the well-being of adolescents: a case example.  Pastoral Care in Education, 29, 1, 35–47.

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National study into HG therapists' outcomes

All human givens practitioners are encouraged by the College and their professional body, the Human Givens Institute (HGI), to work in an outcome-informed way the results to date are very promising.

This real life, practice-based information about clinical outcomes in a variety of settings is being collated via an ongoing national study through the HGI's Research Practice Network (HGIPRN).

Core data collected on well over 3,000 patients to date, and submitted by over 70 different therapists, shows human givens therapy to be reliably effective for the majority of patients and in only a small number of sessions.

The data collected is of a higher quality than many research projects, as clients are tracked throughout their therapy (ie at every single session) and data of the clients who drop out of therapy is also included.

NB Five years' worth of data for from ongoing study has now been published as formal research, see above.

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Examples of how the human givens approach is improving outcomes and cost-effectiveness include:

(See: 'Assessing the effectiveness of the human givens approach in treating depression', Mental Health Review, Vol 17, Iss 2, 2012 and ‘Human Givens: the evidence so far' in the HG Journal, Vol 16, No 4, 2009)

PTSD Resolution, a charity which uses human givens therapy to help war veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental health problems, has an 83 per cent success rate (findings presented to the British Psychological Society.)

There are many more case histories and examples in the book 'An idea in practice: using the human givens approach' which was shortlisted for MIND's Book of The Year award in 2008 and in the Archive Section of the HGI's website.

Also see: 'Human Givens: the evidence so far' (an article published at the end of 2009)

* Other studies using the ongoing collection of therapeutic outcomes from HG therapists in a wide range of settings are also underway with the help of Nottingham Trent University.

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>> More information about ongoing HG research projects

>> Click here for information about some of the many organisations using
     the HG approach

>> Read a sample of case histories on the HGI's online archive


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