On 13th October 2012 thirty cyclists left Axminster in Devon and rode 769 miles to the Slow Food Salone del Gusto festival in Turin, Italy, in memory of Philippa Corbin. We rode to raise awareness of depression and raise funds for two charities.

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Human Givens

Not long after Philippa died, Sue Beckers, a family friend and Doctor visited us at home. Sue told us of an approach that she had learnt to use on patients that were showing symptoms of depression and anxiety called The Human Givens Approach.

Details of the Human Givens Approach are set out below.
We (my mum & dad and I) were very taken by the ideas behind the approach; it doesn’t push people to delve into the past and discuss problems which they have probably already been over hundreds of times, rather it encourages them to move forward and look positively into the future.

The approach is taught at seminars which are run by a not-for-profit organization, The Human Givens Institute, and the associated charity, The Human Givens Foundation was set up to help fund it.
With part of the money we raise through SLOW RIDE TO TURIN, we hope to subsidize courses for healthcare professionals who will be able to make good use of the approach in their career. We would also like some money to go towards research into the approach in order for the it to become more wideley used and understood.

Maddy Corbin

The Human Givens Approach


The Human Givens approach is a set of organizing ideas that provides a holistic, scientific framework for understanding the way that individuals and society work. This framework encompasses the latest scientific understandings from neurobiology and psychology, as well as ancient wisdom and original new insights. The approach has been developed over the last twenty-five years or so by clinical psychologist Joe Griffin and psychotherapist Ivan Tyrrell.

At its core is a highly empowering idea – that human beings, like all organic beings, come into this world with a set of needs. If those needs are met appropriately, it is not possible to be mentally ill.
To get our physical and emotional needs met, nature has gifted us our very own internal ‘guidance programme’ – this, together with our needs, makes up what we call the human givens. We come into the world with an instinctive knowledge of what we need and with a set of inner resources that can help us get our needs met, provided we use them properly and are living in a healthy environment.

For more detail see: The Human Givens Foundation archive.

The Human Givens Foundation

The Human Givens Foundation (HGF) was set up by a group of people who believe that the knowledge of how best to meet the challenge of increasing levels of emotional distress and mental illness is already available to us. This knowledge, however, is frequently ignored, which creates grave problems for society.

The Human Givens Foundation was set up to support a psychological/social regeneration programme using the ‘givens’ of human nature. It fosters initiatives by those endeavouring to use up-to-date knowledge about the givens of human nature in practical ways, particularly in fields where developing life skills is vital, such as in education, psychotherapy, health, social work, industrial relations and diplomacy.

The work of the Foundation is directed at the following main areas:
The HGF has three charitable objects:

Object 1:
“To promote research into the givens of human nature and how the health of persons suffering mental illness of any kind can be improved and to publish the results of such research.”

Object 2:
“The relief of persons suffering from mental illness by providing, or assisting in the provision of, facilities, equipment and/or services for the care of persons suffering from mental illness of any description; to support projects aimed at improving mental health and/or the treatment of mental illness.”

Object 3:
“To advance the education of the public in mental health care by the provision of lectures, fora, the publication of newsletters and other means; to support projects aimed at improving children’s education by including the human givens perspective.”

For more detail see: http://www.hgfoundation.com/

Trevor Bailey, Trustee for Human Givens Foundation

From Dr Sue Beckers, GP in Charmouth, Dorset…

I have been working as a GP for over 20 years in Dorset, and have been using the techniques I learnt with the Human Givens organisation for at least the last 12 years. I can definitely say that the Human Givens approach has transformed the way I work and enabled me to be helpful and supportive to my patients even when they find themselves at a very low point in their lives.

Through Human Givens training I have learnt various short contact therapies many of which can be used during a 10-15 minute consultation with quick and simple ways of helping people to focus positively on moving forward rather than encouraging them to go over their problems and “rehearse their failures”. The Human Givens refer to those resources we all have within us and which we can learn to access and use to help ourselves. When we understand how the brain works to protect us and how it may inadvertently keep us in a “fight or flight” mode then we can also learn how to turn these alarms down and allow ourselves to think calmly and problem solve again. Something as simple as counting 7 to breathe in and 11 to breathe out with muscle relaxation has given many of my patients an effective tool they can use to help themselves whenever they feel they need it. To gain control over your own stress reaction is very empowering for us all and in itself significantly reduces the stress and distress we can go through at difficult and challenging times in our lives. The Human Givens guided imagery and relaxation CD’s and self help books are also excellent and I find I am constantly loaning out my copies although many people ultimately buy a copy for themselves.

I can whole heartedly recommend this approach to others working with low, distressed and anxious people of all ages as I found the techniques so good that I have happily funded myself for the various seminars and workshops I have attended over the years. It would be great to see these messages spread far and wide. We need this type of positive, self empowering help available in the health service, schools, caring services and the community at large and so it is very good to hear that the Slow Ride to Turin may be able to fund some bursaries to train individuals or help to support the Human Givens Foundation.

The Human Givens Foundation is a registered charity – no. 1108432