Supporting a post-16 student with learning difficulties using human givens therapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Supporting children and young people who develop mental health difficulties is a central aim of government policy, with statistics suggesting that those with learning difficulties are particularly vulnerable. Educational psychologists (EPs) are well-positioned to offer therapeutic support to post-16 students. This paper provides an example of using human givens (HG) therapy to promote the emotional health and well-being of one post-16 student.

Method: Within a single case study design, a HG-based intervention was offered to a self-referred, 17-year-old, male student, attending a specialist setting. Qualitative data was collected from multiple sources, including a process transcript of the sessions and researcher field notes, and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Within this single case study, data suggested that the HG- based intervention had a positive impact on the student. Specifically, adaptation of the approach helped make achieving the student’s self-set goal more accessible within the school context and supported his self-efficacy and motivation. Facilitators identified as supportive in delivering interventions included: use of tangible resources; clear steps to a goal; and embracing silence within sessions.

Limitations: This is a single case study design, with one 17-year old participant. The needs of other students, as well as their response to intervention, may vary. The fact that the lead author was the facilitator might engender positive bias.

Conclusion: The HG approach used in this paper could provide a template for EPs offering therapeutic support to students with learning difficulties.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational & Child Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Feb 2020