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Are Dreams Real? Insights from Human Givens Research

Dreams have always been a subject of fascination and intrigue. They are a universal human experience, yet their nature and purpose remain largely a mystery. Some people believe that dreams are real, while others see them as mere reflections of our daily lives. This blog post delves into the question, “Are dreams real?” and explores insights from the Human Givens research.

Sleeping & dreaming

The Reality of Dreams

Contrary to the rationalist view that dreams aren’t real (“You’re just dreaming”), dreams convey real information, real impact, real emotions, and have real consequences if ignored. Dreams are expressed in the form of sensory metaphors. They tell you what you really know about something, what you really feel. They point you toward what you need for growth, integration, expression, and the health of your relationships.

Who are the Human Givens?

The term “Human Givens” refers to a practical, holistic, and scientific approach focusing on what individuals need to live mentally healthy and fulfilling lives. This approach was first outlined by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell in the late 1990s. They synthesized brain and social research in such a way that they provided new templates for understanding how to unlock the best in human nature.

The Human Givens model proposes that human beings come into the world with a set of innate needs, together with innate resources to support them to get those needs met. These needs are both physical, such as the need for nutritious food, clean water, air, and sleep, and emotional. The approach asserts that when these needs go unmet, individuals may be more likely to experience stress and other emotional and mental health concerns.

The Human Givens approach has been revolutionizing the effective treatment of mental health and behavioral problems for over two decades. It draws on several psychotherapeutic models, such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, interpersonal therapy, imaginal exposure therapy, and NLP.

Human Givens Research on Dreams

The Human Givens approach to understanding dreams is rooted in the belief that dreaming is a biological function with a specific purpose. Joe Griffin, one of the founders of Human Givens psychology, was the first person to review all the available scientific evidence and conduct research that resulted in the discovery of why we evolved to dream.

Griffin’s research showed that all dreams are expressed in the form of sensory metaphors. This is found in the biology of dreaming and the REM state itself, which all mammals go into. His expectation fulfillment theory of dreaming suggests that dreaming serves to deactivate emotional arousal generated from unfulfilled expectations during the day.

Are Dreams Real - Conclusion

Dreams, according to the Human Givens research, are not just figments of our imagination but are real in the sense that they convey real information and have real consequences. They are a vital part of our mental and emotional health, helping us navigate our needs and expectations. So, next time you wake up from a dream, remember - it’s more than just a dream, it’s a glimpse into your subconscious mind.


Dreams Don’t Come True, They Are True | Psychology Today: Do Dreams Have Meaning? What the Experts Believe - Healthline: Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking: Are Dreams Real? Why Do We Get Dreams & What Dreams Mean? - The Easy Wisdom: Why we Dream | Why we dream to forget (I don’t dream) | “Why we evolved to dream |

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