Your innate needs and resources -
the Human Givens 

What are the ‘human givens’?

The ‘givens’ of human nature are your innate physical and emotional needs, as well as the resources nature gave you to help you meet these needs.

They are our genetic inheritance: templates ‘downloaded’ from our genes into the brain of the foetus and later the neonate. These templates form into patterns, which continue to be adapted by the circumstances and the environments we find ourselves in.


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Your essential emotional needs

I've listed below our essential emotional needs, all of which we should try to meet in balance:

  • Security, which includes a stable home life and a safe environment in which to grow and fulfil our potential
  • Giving and receiving attention
  • Friendships, fun, love, and physical intimacy
  • A sense of autonomy and control over our environment
  • Being part of a wider community to create a sense of belonging and a feeling of being connected with others
  • Meaning and purpose

Meaning makes a great many things endurable - perhaps everything."


C.G Jung
  • Self-esteem, which results from having our basic needs met and...
  • ... A sense of achievement which comes from stretching ourselves to achieve meaningful goals (no matter how 'small' these might be)
  • A sense of status within social groupings

Have a look at this fascinating animated video. Career analyst Dan Pink explains clearly the workplace benefits of ensuring that people are able to meet the basic emotional needs of autonomy, mastery and purpose....

Our innate resources

We've been given all of the resources necessary to allow us to meet our most essential needs. Some of the most important needs are...

8 Of our most important inborn resources

  1. Curiosity: an innate desire to learn more
  2. Memory: the ability to develop long-term memory patterns for learning
  3. Imagination: to help us focus away from problems and towards creative solutions
  4. A dreaming brain: to metaphorically diffuse emotional arousal left over from the day
  5. The ability to understand the world and people unconsciously through metaphorical pattern matching
  6. An observing self: that part of us that can look in on ourselves and is separate from intellect, emotions and conditioning
  7. The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others
  8. A conscious rational mind

Are your emotional needs being met?

Want to find out where you stand with regards to meeting your essential emotional needs?

A great way forward! You'll be able to direct all your energy into making sure that you are feeling your best. So much better than arguing with your partner about who is right and who is wrong.

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What happens when things go awry?

You're at risk of becoming unwell and unhappy when your needs are not being met in balance or when you misuse your resources.  

As an example of this, you might use your imagination to constantly worry, rather than for solving problems.

What can be done about that?

A human givens therapist is trained to identify imbalances in your emotional needs. He or she will also help you learn how to make the best use of your innate resources.

I promise you this - whatever problems you're facing, improvement is possible by bringing about positive changes in either or both sets of human givens.

Essentially, this means that Human Givens Therapy is uniquely tailored to fit you personally, and to help you address and re-balance your own specific issues and needs.

Related Articles

Other Helpful Links

The Human Givens Institute
The Human Givens Foundation

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Elly Prior

Hello! :-)
It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

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