What is Havening Techniques ®
Taken from havening.org website.
Havening Techniques ® are a new and evolving form of scientific therapy that helps permanently treat and heal traumas, anxiety and phobias as well as to create positive alterations in our brain to enhance wellness and resilience.
They are a type of psycho-sensory therapy, meaning applying a sensory touch to produce a response (electro-chemical) that literally heals and positively alters our mind (psyche).
Past experiences can stay with us in our lives, resulting in unwanted responses and emotions to similar situations. These past experiences can be significant traumatic events that are producing PTSD symptoms, or equally seemingly insignificant experiences that our brain has stored in a way that produces a disproportionate emotional response.
Our mammalian brain is very literal and doesn’t have our ability to rationally gauge what should be traumatic or not, so due to the way the experience was perceived at the time, it sometimes stores past experiences in a way that means they set off our primitive emotions such as anger, anxiety, or fear whenever something reminds us of them again, even if they seem insignificant when we think about them objectively now.
Havening techniques ® uses a way that has been found to correct the way these memories are stored in our neurology, so that they have no further emotional impact and other responses and symptoms can be altered for the better, or completely eradicated.
How does Havening work?
It is useful to have a brief understanding of how we come to create ‘traumas’ to appreciate how Havening works in eradicating traumas.
How we create ‘traumatic memories’
In order for an event to be traumatic, no matter how significant or insignificant it seemed at the time, it has key components that cause the memory of the event to become stored, or as the neuro-scientists call it, ‘encoded’ in the brain as a trauma.
What makes up a ‘traumatic memory?
These tend to be highly emotional events or experiences that in the moment we have taken to mean something threatens us. They tend to also be experiences that for whatever reason we perceive we can’t get away from. This can be literal, as in there is no means of escape in traumatic events such as violent abuse, being trapped, war zones etc.
It is can equally be about how we perceive the situation is not being able to control the situation or get out of it because the consequences would be too terrifying, which is of course just as real in a different way.
Examples such as losing our job, a threat to a relationship, being abandoned by a parent etc. are just as real as being in a car accident and not being able to get out, or some other literal traumatic event
The other component that means that we encoded these as traumatic experiences is to do with what is known as our ‘emotional landscape’ at the time. Simply put, this is what state our brain is in at the time of the event, formed by previous and current experiences, our temperament and how sensitive or vulnerable we currently are to stressors in our lives.
Due to all of this, the memory ends up being permanently encoded in this way in the fight or flight region of our brain known as the amygdala, meaning recollection or new, similar events occurring will reactivate a significant, emotional response often is though you’re reliving the initial experience for the first time.
What Havening therapy ® does
A memory is made up of lots of different sensory and cognitive information that is stored in the brain with it, including the emotions felt and the effect that they have on the body.
Every time the traumatic memory or experience is re-accessed through recalling it, or experiencing another event that is similar enough in its stimulus, there are certain receptors in the area in which the memory is stored that become activated (known as potentiated), a bit like a vigilant meerkat popping up in high alert from behind the rock if it smells a threat in the air.
It is these receptors that are responsible for linking any similar event to the extreme emotional response of the initial memory, by allowing fast conduction down that memory pathway in the brain straight to the emotional response.
These activated (potentiated) receptors are like the vital link in the chain between the stimulus of the traumatic memory and the emotional response.
The therapy, through Havening touch ®, sets off an electrochemical chain reaction leading to the permanent removal (in medical terms, ‘depotentiation’ or internalisation) of these receptors.
It is this removal that permanently disconnects the recalled memory from its emotional content, therefore detaching you from the event, and the memory being encoded in a different, non-traumatic way. After the process, you may remember the memory or the event, however the emotional response is no longer there.
This means you may still be able to recall the memory, perhaps with some extra or different information that you didn’t have access to before. Or it may seem more distant or harder to recall, but most importantly it will no longer have any negative emotional impact. It will be just like your normal memories.
Havening is not just for isolated traumatic memories. There are other types of Havening techniques ® that can be successfully used for repetitive negative emotional experiences that have led to unwanted or unhelpful emotions as adults.
It can also be used as a great tool for anxiety and stress as well as for a multitude of positive changes.