What is Havening?
The Havening Techniques® (“Havening”) form an innovative, psychosensory tool based on the fields of neuroscience and neurobiology. Developed by Ronald Ruden, MD, PhD, Havening uses sensory input in order to alter thought, mood, and behavior. It is believed that when you perceive an event or experience as traumatic or stressful, it becomes immutably encoded in your brain and body, often with life-changing consequences. Havening is designed to de-traumatize your nervous system by removing or altering the emotional memory of your traumatic or stressful life event and its negative effects. Therefore, Havening is a modality that is designed to help overcome problems caused by traumatic or stressful encoding, and it uses touch as a tool. My experience is that even when clients understand what Havening is, they do not believe it will actually work and are sometimes shocked by their metamorphosis!
Although Havening appears to have promising emotional and physical health benefits, and although Havening was developed by a medical doctor, it is still important to understand that Havening has yet to be fully researched by the Western academic, medical, and psychological communities; therefore, Havening could be considered experimental. Havening is self-regulated and is considered an alternative or complementary modality. If you have questions or concerns about Havening, please visit www.havening.org or contact Metamorphosis Havening LLC for more information.
Haven't heard of Havening before? You are not alone. But Havening recently went "mainstream" after Justin Bieber released this video about using Havening as his "go to" technique for anxiety.
Can Havening Help Me?
Havening can address emotional distress in connection with...
This is amazing. I did some havening last night in bed. This morning I woke up refreshed and smiling. Smiling! I tried to conjure the hideousness that I [worked on] during the [session], and I could see it far away—like it was contained to being a snapshot on a postcard under five feet of water. I was in this visual, but I couldn't make the still image into the "movie" that used to replay in my mind all the time and used to make me cry. It's just been reduced to this harmless underwater piece of paper. I am challenging myself to recall the night in all its horrific detail, but I can't. Each time there’s a block that just won’t allow me to. Thank you!
One Havening session to reduce emotional burnout from facing her son's mental health crisis, followed by Self-Havening “homework”
What if I feel uncomfortable being touched?
Havening involves a simple touch of the hands, upper arm, and face while you sit in a chair, fully clothed. I find that the Havening Touch works best when you wear a thin short or long sleeve shirt, rather than a bulky sweater or jacket, or a sleeveless shirt. The touch is professional, and most clients find it very relaxing and soothing. However, not everyone likes to be touched! This is not a problem at all because you can apply the Havening Touch yourself while I guide the verbal component of the Havening session. For Havening sessions with children, it is also possible in certain circumstances for a parent or caregiver to apply the Havening Touch during the session. Do not hesitate to discuss options for Havening Touch with me so you can feel in control and comfortable with the entire Havening process.
What can I expect at my first Havening session?
Initial Havening sessions typically last between 60-90 minutes so that we can discuss in detail the issue you would like to work on and have the time to develop a rapport with each other. The office setting is soothing and private, and the process is not rushed or limited in duration, like in some allopathic health practices. We will go over the Client Agreement for Havening Services, and you will have time to ask all your questions, fully understand the process, and work with me in planning the session. When it is time to begin Havening, you will decide who you would like to apply the Havening Touch. The Havening session will last until a good stopping point is reached. After the session is complete, we will sit for a few more minutes to discuss your feelings about the session and answer any questions that may have come up for you. Then, if needed, we may schedule and make a plan for another session.
Is Havening a form of hypnosis?
No. Havening does not involve a hypnotic trance. During a Havening session, you are aware of your feelings, thoughts, and surroundings, and you participate in the process. You are able to feel in control of the Havening session.
Is Havening dangerous?
Every method has side effects, and it is possible to experience negative side effects with Havening, too. Potential risks include in-session abreactions (crying, anger, physical movements, etc.), post-Havening lightheadedness or mild disorientation, and rarely, a worsening of symptoms or emotional numbing. These last two effects can be a consequence of bringing to awareness forgotten but biologically-active memories. Should this occur, these effects should be treated by a qualified mental health care practitioner. In addition, highly traumatized individuals who use anger as a defense may become agitated by the premature removal of their protective anger, and this may increase their distress. If you choose to use Havening as a self-help tool, it is possible to experience some emotional distress and/or physical discomfort, and additional unresolved memories may surface during or after Havening that can be perceived as negative. Emotional material may continue to surface after Havening, indicating other issues may need to be addressed. If you experience any distressing reactions or negative side effects from a Havening session, you are strongly advised to stop Havening and seek appropriate professional help. In addition, if you have experienced a serious trauma or have a psychological disorder, you are advised to undergo Havening only with a professional mental health care provider who has been fully trained and certified in Havening. For more information about potential risks, please click the disclaimer button above and review the Client Agreement for Havening Services.
Is Havening just a distraction method?
No, but distraction can play a role in certain Havening Techniques. Each distraction component has a biological correlate. This means there is a purpose to the distraction. In my experience, if distraction techniques are used, clients typically find them curious but fun!
Are the results of a Havening session permanent?
While Havening is a relatively new method and it has yet to be fully researched, I've observed that after a successful Havening session, the results appear to be permanent in most cases. This is because Havening is designed to alter the biological structure of the brain. The occasional return of symptoms implies either that the traumatic core has not yet been found or the problem has been encoded in a different way. In particular, addictive and compulsive behaviors and certain physical discomfort issues often need reinforcement and cannot be permanently removed at the present time. Unfortunately, Havening cannot bring lasting results for all problems or all clients.
Where can I learn more about Havening?
For more information about Havening, please visit the official Havening website at www.havening.org, where you can learn more about the neuroscience of Havening and current Havening research. You can also watch Havening videos, read more client testimonials, learn about the developers of the Havening Techniques, and more.
Meet Elena Kindler
Certified Havening Techniques® Practitioner
I first learned about Havening when Dr. Ronald Ruden, its founder, asked me to be a demo for his first Havening training in NYC in 2013. He knew I had escaped from Tower I on 9/11 (while I was pregnant) and thought Havening me would be a compelling demonstration of the Havening process. I was skeptical about these techniques but went in with an open mind. In front of a room full of trainees, I relived my harrowing experience. But, at the end of the short Havening session, my 9/11 experience felt very far away. I was shocked, surprised, and euphoric, I couldn't believe how much lighter I felt from under an hour of Havening. Needless to say, I was more than intrigued by how quickly and profoundly the Havening Techniques changed how I viewed my 9/11 experience.
I ended my 25-year legal career and began to study the Havening Techniques in 2018. Since then, I have worked with clients with myriad struggles -- worrying, everyday stress, violent and sexual assaults, death of loved ones, suicides, abandonment and insecurity issues, relationship struggles, fears, physical discomfort due to stress, body image issues, career frustration, and more -- and each Havening session is unique. It gives my life tremendous purpose and meaning to be able to help clients on their individual journeys to let go of their suffering, get unstuck, move forward, and lead more positive and resilient lives.
I was honored to be a facilitator of the April 2020 worldwide Havening Techniques training with Dr. Ruden. Watch my video introduction here to get to know me a little better.