Havening therapy is a method for treating anxiety that incorporates touch, eye movements and distractions. When working with a trauma healing center offering havening therapy for PTSD, the goal is to minimize anxiety and stress that’s linked with negative memories. The havening therapy technique was developed by Dr. Ronald Ruden and Dr. Steven Ruden and uses therapeutic touch to treat mental symptoms and anxiety by altering pathways in the brain that are connected to emotional distress. The theory is that serotonin production is increased in the brain when the patient is touched in a manner that relaxes the individual and enables them to detach from painful or upsetting experiences and memories.
How does Havening Therapy Work?
Havening therapy, hence its name, is designed to create a “safe haven” in short sessions for people suffering from anxiety and a number of other problems and symptoms. The technique releases serotonin in the brain, and studies suggest that serotonin has a soothing effect that helps relieve painful mental health symptoms while preventing painful memories from having adverse effects on the patient.
What Typically Happens in a Havening Therapy Session?
When you benefit from havening therapy at Serenity Trauma, a trained therapist will run the sessions in which the following steps usually take place:
Rating Your Emotional Distress – Your therapist will begin by asking you what your current emotional distress level is. This can be conveyed by using a numeric scale that you and your therapist will establish together, or you may express your emotional state with a few select words such as “very scared”, “mildly nervous” or “extremely angry”.
Clearing Thoughts – Your havening therapist will help you clear your thoughts or focus on something that promotes a feeling of calm and positive energy.
Tapping – Your therapist will instruct you to begin lightly tapping a specific part of your body (usually the collarbone) as you slowly blink.
Countdown – As you continue to talk, your therapist will guide you to close your eyes and slowly countdown from 10 or 20. While doing this, your havening therapist will ask you to visualize yourself doing a task such as walking down flights of stairs or removing objects from a box. As each number is being counted, you will visualize yourself taking one more step, or removing one more object from the box.
Eye Movements – As you lay down with your arms crossed, your havening therapist will ask you to perform a series of eye movements. For example, you may be asked to look up, then down, then left to right, then roll your eyes counterclockwise, and then clockwise. The movements will be determined by the therapist.
Touch and Sound – While using gentle touch, usually on the arms or forehead, your therapist will ask you to hum. One is usually asked to hum a familiar tune they know, such as ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ or ‘Happy Birthday’. But if you wish to hum a familiar tune by the Rolling Stones or David Bowie, it will likely be fine.
Rating Your Emotional Distress – At this point you will once again be asked to rate your emotional distress. By now this level will have hopefully gone down.
After the second emotional check-in, this process will repeat itself though your havening therapist may ask you to hum a different song or use a different visualization technique. You will also be asked to perform another series of eye movements as the havening therapist strokes your arms, and this time the therapist may use different coaching phrases or change your breathing pattern. The idea is to repeat this process, while adjusting until your distress level is at a zero or until it remains stable after three sessions. You will be fully conscious through the process, as it requires no hypnosis making you a vital part of the healing process.
What Types of Anxiety does the Havening Approach Treat?
Havening therapy has been used to treat a wide range traumas and types of anxiety that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Addiction trauma
- Family trauma
- Family scapegoat PTSD
- Survivor guilt PTSD
- Violent crime PTSD
- PTSD from an illness
- Grief anxiety
- Complex PTSD
- First responder / combat PTSD
Once you have a consultation with a havening therapist at Serenity Trauma, the counselor will be able to determine if the approach is the right one for you. However, the psychosensory therapy in the havening approach is used to address deep-rooted anxiety that stems from several places, and, while taking instinctive negative responses and rumination into account, the approach has improved the lives of thousands of people spanning a wide variety of traumas.
Is the Havening Therapy for Anxiety the Right Treatment for You?
Your first step to living the best version of your true self is to book a consultation with one of our therapists with an expertise in the havening approach. Because every person is a unique individual the havening approach may be recommended, with several other treatment methods integrated into the best treatment approach. Once you have a consultation with a therapist, they will be able to carve out a treatment plan for you that best resonates with your needs. Call Serenity Trauma today and begin that exciting new chapter in your life towards a happier, healthier you.