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Does the Human Givens approach REALLY work?

In my previous blog I wrote about the Human Givens approach to counselling and psychotherapy which is the approach I trained in. But does the Human Givens approach REALLY work? Well yes it does – but don’t just take my word for it – have a look at the published research:

Research Study 1

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 Human Givens 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).

Some comments in the paper are as follows:

 “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.”

 “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.”

See 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: doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.2010.02004

Research Study 2

Over the years, many Human Givens therapists, including myself, have kept detailed (anonymous) records of their clients’ / patients’ progress. They do this by giving their clients questionnaires about their symptoms and how they feel about each session.

In 2013 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 as mentioned above.

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 abstract and article can be accessed via the following link:Mental Health ReviewThe permanent URL link is:  doi 10.1108/MHRJ-04-2013-0011

Other studies

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

For more information

Visit the Human Givens Institute website:


Need some advice and support?

If you would like to book a session with a qualified and experienced Human Givens counsellor here in Douglas, Cork,  call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.


Book a counselling session today!