What are the Human Givens?

We are all born with innate knowledge programmed into our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional needs. These feelings evolved over millions of years and, whatever our cultural background, are our common biological inheritance. They are the driving force that motivates us to become fully human and succeed in whatever environment we find ourselves in. It is because they are incorporated into our biology at conception that we call them 'Human Givens'.

Physical needs: As animals we are born into a material world where we need to air to breathe, water, nutritious food and sufficient sleep. These are our primary physical needs and wiithout them we would quickly die. In addition we also need the freedom to stimulate our senses and exercise our muscles. We instinctively look for secure shelter where we can grow and reproduce ourselves and bring up our young. These physical needs are intimately bound up with our emotional needs - the main focus of the Human Givens psychology.

Emotional needs: Emotions create distinctive psycho-biological states in us and drive us to take action. The emotional needs that Nature has programmed into us are there to connect us to our external world, and to survive it. Our expression of that distress, in whatever form it takes, impacts on us and those people around us. If those needs are met appropriately and in balance, and the innate resources we possess have not been damaged or are being misused, it is not possible to be mentally ill. To get our physical and emotional needs met, Nature has gifted us our very own 'guidance system' - this together with our needs, make for what we call 'The Human Givens'.

Our emotional needs include:

Attention - The need for attention (to give and receive it)

The need for autonomy and control

Emotional intimacy

Feeling part of a wider community

Privacy – the ability to reflect and consolidate experience

Sense of status within social groups

Sense of competence and achievement

Meaning & purpose – from being stretched in what we do and think

Our resources include



Memory and the ability to forget

The ability to problem solve

Understanding through metaphor



A rational as well as an emotional brain

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

I am located at:

 Formotion Clinics

 3 Littlemoor Road



 DT3 6LA

If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact me on:

07875 160068 or click here to send an email

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John Bayley HG. Dip. P MHGI