The Havening Techniques are comprised of protocols and methods that rely on the electrochemical makeup of our body to create healing. Utilizing similar functional mechanisms as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), they include the newest advancements neuroscience. Havening Techniques provide a gentle, client centered approach to the rapid release of encoded traumatic memories. This allows for fast and effective healing from posttraumatic stress disorder and other fear-based disorders such as anxiety, panic disorder, and phobias.

How it works:
When an individual is exposed to a traumatic event the brain activates a neurochemical cascade which decides how the individual is going to react or respond to the experience. Exposure can occur via first person experiencing such as the individual being the victim of a burglary or assault, second person such as an individual witnessing a violent act occurring, or third person such as an individual hearing about the telling of a horrifying or traumatic event. This third person exposure is what clinicians often experience as secondary, or vicarious, traumatization and is it one of the primary causes of clinician burnout in the trauma treatment field. Numerous specific conditions must be met for the brain to encode a traumatic experience in such a way that the individual is traumatized. But, once these conditions are met and a trauma is encoded, the neurons that encoded the trauma will stay permanently activated until they are intentionally deactivated through trauma treatment.

To date, trauma treatment has relied on exposure and talk therapy techniques to address the symptoms of PTSD and other co-occurring disorders. The goal has been increasing exposure to the fear based stimuli in order to decrease sensitization to the trauma triggers thus reducing, and hopefully removing, the symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, and other phobic responses. Unfortunately, these techniques, while effective, are extremely painful not only for the client but also for the clinician to administer. These treatment techniques may inadvertently re-traumatize the client or result in vicarious traumatization of the clinician.

Many trauma treatments have historically focused on executive processing centers of the brain in order to use language, logic, and rational thought processes to reduce the trauma response. The most recent treatment, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), began the development of a new form of trauma treatment. This type of treatment works with electrochemical activity in the central nervous system to shift the brain’s electrochemical response to stimuli which would have led to the presentation of PTSD and/or other fear based responses. Newer advancements in brain science have highlighted the role of the amygdala and specific glutamate receptors in maintaining the activation of the receptors that encoded the traumatic experience. Based on these new advancements, we now know how to depotentiate these receptors . Havening Techniques relies on the principles of neuroscience to deactivate the trauma in the limbic system which results in a significantly decreased presentation of trauma and other fear-based disorder symptoms.

As practitioners we know the effects of living with the experience of trauma are profuse. Untreated, these symptoms seep into every area of our clients lives, leading to disruptions in their personal relationships, emotional outbursts (anger, uncontrollable crying, etc.), a sense of being out of control, feelings of constant and irrational fear (anxiety, panic attacks, hyper vigilance), sleep disruption (nightmares, insomnia, etc.), and so much more. Come learn how to safely and effectively support your clients in being freed from their painful past and start building their envisioned future.

Explore some of the latest research on the Havening Techniques here:

  • Hodgson, K., Carmi, L. H., Ruden, R. A., Carmi, M. A., & Cameron, D. (2023, May 14). Augmenting resilience to trauma: A parallel-group controlled trial of a psychosensory intervention.
  • Sumich, A., Heym, N., Sarkar, M., Burgess, T., French, J., Hatch, L., & Hunter, K. (2022). The power of touch: The effects of havening touch on subjective distress, mood, brain function, and psychological health. Psychology & Neuroscience. Advance online publication.
  • Hodgson, K.L., Clayton, D.A., Carmi, M.A., Carmi, L.H., Ruden, R.A., Fraser, W.D. and Cameron, D. (2020). A Psychophysiological Examination of the Mutability of Type D Personality in a Therapeutic Trial, Journal of Psychophysiology.
  • Ruden, R. (2018). Harnessing Electroceuticals To Treat Disorders Arising From Traumatic Stress: Theoretical Considerations Using A Psychosensory Model. EXPLORE. 10.1016/j.explore.2018.05.005.
  • Thandi, G., Tom, D., Gould, M., McKenna, P., & Greenberg, N. (2015). Impact of a Single Session of Havening. Health Science Journal, 9(5). Link.