Havening: A New Psychosensory Therapy for Relief and Resilience

Updated: Oct 12


Havening is a simple, natural, safe, and efficient tool for relieving distress and enhancing resilience that can be done alone or with a practitioner. It is flexible and adaptable, and as natural as rubbing your palms together.


Resolve Emotional Distress With Havening


We often think that our reactions to current stressors and triggers are unchangeable, and we need to find ways to manage them. Havening alters this reality. It gives us a clear method to resolve emotional distress so that we simply don’t have the reactions we’ve been fearing and structuring our lives to avoid.


Distressing events are stored in the amygdala with the result that similar

experiences reactivate it. Havening changes the brain’s encoding of these events so that the amygdala is no longer activated. This change occurs because Havening catalyzes a cascade of slow brain waves and soothing neurotransmitters that deactivate the amygdala’s response connected to that event and related experiences.


How to Do Havening


Havening begins with the use of three different locations of touch. Rubbing the palms, brushing the arms downward from shoulder to elbow, and massaging the face. These three locations of touch have been shown to produce considerable delta waves ---- our slowest brain waves. Additionally, lateral eye movement ---- moving the eyes right to left- also produces delta waves.


When doing Havening we notice our distress level pertaining to an event, give it a score on a scale 0 to 10, and then let go of the distress and begin Havening Touch. We focus on the feeling of soothing touch and engage the working memory in neutral or pleasant distractions so that it is no longer thinking about the event.


These distractions engage multiple senses and ways of thinking so that they absorb our attention. Examples are naming words in categories, spelling words, counting by multiples, counting movements like walking, and describing a hobby, book, or show.


Havening Results


After a few minutes of Havening Touch with distractions as well as eye movement, the distress level associated with the event will typically diminish. We then can use Havening to change the way we view the experience and ourselves through other Havening techniques such as Outcome Havening, Iffirmational Havening, and Affirmational Havening.


Havening pairs a feeling of safety with experiences that previously felt stressful and overwhelming. It also provides a feeling of mastery.


One form of Havening----- Transpirational Havening ----- helps us feel safe and resilient in the presence of various emotions. Havening builds overall resilience in ourselves and in clients because it gives an experience of unconditional well-being and agency.


Havening Honors You


Havening honors the ideas, sensations, and creativity of the person doing it - to help that person view and store experiences in a way that feels comfortable and positive.


It is a body and brain-based therapy that addresses all aspects of experience- cognitive, emotional, autonomic, and somatosensory. When we investigate feelings and resolve them with Havening we include our and our clients’ whole selves and invite all aspects to be soothed and empowered.


Examples of Conditions Havening Can Help With


Many conditions can be improved and treated using Havening including PTSD, panic, phobias, chronic pain, somatic issues, and prolonged emotions like grief, shame, and worry. There are several research studies documenting Havening’s beneficial effects. It can be done with toddlers to the elderly, with or without language, naming or not naming the trauma, on past events or current states, and in numerous settings including hospitals, classrooms, recreation centers, clinics, and even workplaces. Havening is a flexible, portable, and person-centered method with many uses and applications.


How to Learn More

Here is a video description of how to do Havening:

https://youtu.be/Ab9E6OIZDzc

And an interview about Havening: https://youtu.be/u4ZC9E92keU

More information is available at:

https://www.erikaneil.com/havening and https://www.havening.org/

59 views1 comment