Depressed people wake up tired. This suggests disturbed sleep patterns and the likelihood of a mental and physical unpreparedness for the new day.

A better understanding of this disturbed sleep and what causes it followed the 1997 publication explaining the function of dreaming, or more especially the phase of sleep when most dreaming occurs, rapid eye movement or REM sleep. The explanation has led to new insights into depression and simple and effective ways to lift it.

The Human Givens therapeutic technique deals with the depression triggers - excessive worrying - and models effective sleep cycles to restore a better balance between the high-energy REM sleep and restorative slow wave sleep.

A typical session follows these steps:

  1. The therapist will lower emotional arousal to allow the depressed person to access his or her higher cortex instead of the limbic or emotional brain. Detailed history-taking is not necessary, and indeed can prolong the anxious emotional state. The therapist will focus on what emotional needs are not being met, or what resources are not being used effectively, to get to the real cause of the worry.
  2. The therapist will help the patient create new positive expectations to break the worry cycle. Exploration of past achievements, useful qualities, and what previously brought pleasure to the person will assist in setting positive achievable and needs-oriented goals. Goals or expectations that can be fulfilled in the waking state rather than adding pressure on the REM sleep phase.
  3. The depressed person will be encouraged to re-focus attention away from negative unfulfilled expectations toward getting emotional needs met. Physical activity, doing things that once gave the person pleasure and fulfillment, building relationships, and the development of problem solving skills are crucial dimensions of a healthy emotional state.
  4. The therapist will use guided imagery to model an effective dream process that discharges unfulfilled expectations (worry) and replaces ineffective patterns of thinking with hope. The patient will metaphorically rehearse new behaviours and feel motivated because this process deals with worry at its emotional pre-conscious source.

Variations of this approach for lifting depression have been found to be equally effective for reducing anxiety, freeing people from post traumatic stress, and overcoming compulsive and addictive behaviours.

A more complete description of the Human Givens approach to depression, from the American Family Therapy Magazine (December 2008) can be viewed here.

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Members of Professional Associations who have completed the Certificate of Applied Psychotherapy (Human Givens) are now available for consultation:

Linda Black,
0413 313 440
The Knox Health and Sports Clinic
Wantirna VIC 3152
Insighting Peace
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Maureen Bracken
02 6686 8687
Ballina Natural Medicine Clinic
Ballina NSW 2478
Ballina Natural Medicine
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Belinda Hulstrom
0419331457
Williamstown VIC 3016
Belinda Hulstrom
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Simone Power
0425 560 039
Sacred Willow Hypnotherapy
Frankston VIC 3199
Sacred Willow Hypnotherapy
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Christine Priestly
0405 220 658
Connection Therapies
Suffolk Park NSW 2481
Connection Therapies
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Glenn Trigg
04 0663 9734
Epipsyche
Emerald VIC 3782
Epipsyche
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Christine Bell
0421 179 221
Sandringham Vic 3191
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Julie Begg
03 9432 1468
Effective Kinesiology
Greensborough Vic 3088
Effective Kinesiology
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Dr Portia Reading
03 5944 4464
Dewhurst Vic 3808
Dr Portia Reading
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Also, two UK-trained Human Givens Therapists in Australia:

Annie Gurton
0423 632 657
Sydney NSW
Annie Gurton
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Fiona Edmonds
0404 401 691
Brisbane QLD
Mind Life Balance
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