Human Social Functioning


Module 1 – Therapeutic Perspective

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Download the PDF ‘Therapeutic Perspectives’ for background reading on the definitions and dimensions of the range of therapeutic models linked with HSF.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download” color=”primary” link=”||target:%20_blank”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row u_row_style=”0″ u_row_paralax=”0″ u_row_scheme=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1460637287931{padding-top: 40px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]HSF has strong links with the European existential dimension. Heimler underwent extreme suffering in the camps and witnessed daily the horror of human cruelty. Yet from these depths he also discovered strengths that potentially can transcend almost anything − so long as life has a sense of purpose and meaning.

The concept of energy links with much from the analytical model. This is particularly true of Jung’s psychic energy, which has a wider context than Freud’s libido, and Janet’s viewpoint, which seeks to join our human energy with meaningful activity. Heimler’s concept of our energies having biological links and social/environmental ones touches both biotherapy and sociotherapy. And through his model of human development HSF also embraces (as Jung and others) the cultural sphere.

In its practice, HSF shares with the more humanistic Rogerian counselling, but applies a firmer structure. The stance taken by the counsellor is largely that which a Rogerian would seek to employ – empathy, positive regard etc. Note however, that while HSF is often compared to Rogerian counselling, it developed independently. There are indeed many similarities, but also important distinctions between the approaches. Heimler saw HSF as having a greater degree of involvement, a different form of mirroring/summarising, and greater emphasis on action.

The firmer structure would put HSF more in company with Psychodrama and Gestalt where certain objectives are paramount. But the concept of peer relationships would make it less directive of the content and more directive in holding the structuring.

As with Psychodrama there is “a beginning”, “a middle” and “an end”. These, within the interviewing structure, can be clearly spelt out. And, as with Gestalt therapy, there is a form of confrontation between positives and negatives. (Although in terms of using the pain, HSF takes a different stance.)

The view of man as a social being and the effects of environment on human energy forges links with the systems approach as well as the more radical European existential perspectives.

HSF is action orientated. What matters is what a person does out in the real world. Here there is some affinity with the more Behavioural approach (though its definition of action would cover a wider canvas than concrete actions).

More recently links have been made between HSF and Cognitive Therapy, most especially in the development of the 15 Maladaptive Schemas. There are some parallels with the results of Fragmenta Vitae or Slice of Life whereby actions, feelings and attitudes in the present are traced back to their roots in earlier life, whilst using a markedly different methodology. In CBT, an individual may be encouraged to keep a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviours, question and test cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic and be encouraged to gradually face previously avoided activities and to try out new ways of behaving and reacting.

The Fragmentae Vitae (FV) which uses heightened emotion attaching to a present event to find the trigger and antecedents, has some similarity with EDMR protocol where, with the use of eye movement to stimulate brain activity, current traumatic events are traced back to earlier issues that may have caused a block in processing. Unlike EMDR the FV encourages active imagination to recreate the past scenes in order to facilitate meaningful dialogue and uniquely to project forward to the future.

Many years after Heimler developed the FV and in particular its impact upon the future, psychologists, mentor and sports coaches now use this imaginative/fantasy work to empower individuals and teams to function better in their work or sport.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row u_row_style=”0″ u_row_paralax=”0″ u_row_scheme=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1460636873618{background-color: #f7f7f7 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Download the PDF ‘Heimler on HSF Philosophy’ to read first hand accounts from Heimler about his development of HSF, before completing the QUIZ at the end of this module.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download” color=”primary” link=”||target:%20_blank”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row u_row_style=”0″ u_row_paralax=”0″ u_row_scheme=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1460637152835{padding-top: 40px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_message style=”square” message_box_color=”grey” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check-circle” css=”.vc_custom_1461149164330{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]


  • HSF methodology developed from Heimler’s personal experiences of the depths of pain in the holocaust camps – His quote ‘pain is the spur’ relates to pain creating the motivation for the flow of usable energy and positive action.
  • HSF is about helping people to understand life’s frustrations and turn them into satisfaction, meaningful and purposeful action.
  • HSF has strong links with the European existential dimension and the concept of energy links with much from the analytical model, but it does not use analytical interpretation.
  • HSF shares much with humanistic Rogerian counselling but with a firmer structure, which also links it with Gestalt.
  • There is a beginning, middle and end, as with Psychodrama.
  • HSF is action orientated, linking it with the Behavioural approach.

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