Human Givens

The Human Givens approach is a set of organising ideas that help us understand how individuals and society work. Originally intended as a therapeutic approach it is now used in other settings, such as education and business.

The central idea of this approach is that we come into this world with a set of needs. By meeting these physical and psychological needs we can stay mentally healthy. To get our needs met, nature has given us an internal ‘guidance programme’, which together with our needs make up the ‘human givens’. There’s more about the human givens on the Human Givens Institute (HGI) website.

The creators of the Human Givens approach, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, also developed the APET model to explain how our minds work. In their book, 'Human Givens', Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell, describe the model APET as follows;

“The A in APET stands for the activating agent, a stimulus from the environment, just as in the cognitive model. Information about that stimulus, taken in through our senses, is first pattern matched by the mind to innate knowledge and past learnings, hence the P, which in turn gives rise to an emotion, E. This, in turn may inspire certain thoughts, represented by the T (though thought is not an inevitable consequence of emotional arousal).”

There’s more information about the APET model on the HGI website.