Human Givens Therapy: Key Differentiating Features

I first came across HG Therapy (Human GivensTherapy) about 20 years ago when I was working Glasgow Simon Community. Colleagues told me about it. They said that it was a very impressive new psychotherapy & urged me to look into it (they knew I had a degree in psychology).

I was initially skeptical as I had never heard of it but they convinced me to investigate further- and, as they say, the rest is history!

HGT (Human Given Therapy) is a solution-focused brief therapy that has key differences from other forms of counselling and psychotherapy. It:


  • Starts from where the person is now and focuses on the present & future rather than the past.
  • Combines knowledge from Psychology, Neuroscience, the Psychotherapy (what works) and related fields.
  • Usual length of treatment is four to six sessions.
  • Broad based organising framework for understanding human well-being and distress (Emotional Needs and Resources).
  • Targets the emotions rather than thoughts- because neuroscience has shown (Joseph Le Doux , New York University)that when someone is distressed the emotional brain takes control-the person is locked into their emotions. This is what causes the distorted thinking that is targeted by CBT.
  • Highly structured sessions which use SMART goals (similar to coaching in this respect).
  • Practical- helps the client overcome the barriers to meeting their needs using all relevant and available tools & knowledge e.g. 7/11 breathing, relationship and social skills training.
  • Has developed the only model of depression that explains all the known facts and leads to a clear psychological treatment plan.
  • HGT uses different knowledge and evidence-based interventions for different conditions.
  • It gets its name from the term “givens” which means well-established bedrock truths. The name means that there are well-established bedrock truths about human nature- our essential needs and resources.