VIP award for HG-inspired work
Valerie Hillen has won an award for her invaluable work with job seekers. Here she tells us how she discovered and incorporated human givens ideas into her work.
I work for a private company in Northern Ireland on a Government funded employability programme, which helps people on benefits overcome barriers to employment and make improvements in their lives. This can range from practical issues as simple as completing a CV to more problematic barriers such as suboptimal health and wellbeing.
I discovered the Human Givens approach in 2008, when I received help to overcome and move on from a major trauma in my own life. My GP had recommended a visiting HG therapist and, even though we only had one session, it made a remarkable difference for me.
I was fascinated by this common sense approach to living your life
I was fascinated by this common sense approach to living your life in a healthy way, getting needs met and focusing on resources, solutions, and the future. I also liked the human givens explanation of how human reactions such as anxiety and depression can develop when needs are not being met and the fight or flight mechanism is activated, as well as the information about the vital role sleep plays in our health.
At that time I was working in the finance and sales sector of a large company and my request for professional leave to attend HG courses was turned down. Thankfully, the courses came to Dublin and I managed to attend a few during annual leave days. But, with young children and full time employment, it was hard and a few years slipped by.
Later, I moved into a training and development role and subsequently became an employment advisor. Even at the interview for this I was aware that I was using the HG ideas within my replies to questions about how best to help people. I feel sure that’s what helped me to get the job.
I found the human givens approach invaluable in my work
I found the human givens approach invaluable in my work. The skills such as building rapport meant my members (on the programme) were treated with dignity and respect and were at ease during our interviews. This resulted in more co-operation, more “buy in” to the programme and more change in their outlook and attitude, which resulted in positive job outcomes.
For most of the unemployed this is a mandatory programme, which makes them feel threatened, and a high proportion consistently present with anxiety and depression. Change in government policy, social changes and unemployment difficulties has meant it can be challenging for members to deal with, and overcome, mental and physical health issues.
After two years in the business I progressed to delivering and facilitating “Health and Wellbeing” training. Having reviewed the available training, I worked with the Learning and Development department to develop an Anxiety Management session.
I also decided to resume my studies with Human Givens and achieved Part 1 and 2 of the Diploma in 2018. As I brought more of the Human Givens approach to my training classes, it was obvious the members loved the information they were receiving, which made them feel at ease, normalised their worries in relation to anxiety and depression and gave them the tools to cope better with stress. Simply teaching 7–11 breathing empowered them to help themselves.
I am proud of the fact that I am bringing some simple techniques to those most in need and with the least chance of being able to afford it. Many of the people on the programme struggle with difficult lives, whether through trauma, addiction, abuse or social problems, and all with the backdrop of “The Troubles” (the Northern Ireland conflict of the late 20th century) from which many people continue to suffer PTSD flashbacks.
The service is now being piloted in another branch of the company
I have extended this service to include 1:1 sessions, where I use the Human Givens Therapy model to support members in a confidential setting, and the service is now also being piloted in another branch of the company. In addition, I am building a private practice to extend this help into the community, and to this end I am now working toward completion of Part 3 and full registration as an HG practitioner.
For my efforts within the company, I was recently nominated for – and won – a VIP Award, with an invitation to dine at the Savoy Grill in London. This was the decision of the Board of Directors, who choose a staff member who “has gone that extra mile” as it was put to me! I felt privileged to have been one of nineteen staff members nominated across the 48 programs in UK and Ireland employing between 200–500 people.