The Havening Techniques Interview Part 1

In this two part blog Anne Jirsch the creator of Future Life Progression interviews me on her show called ‘Time Slip’.  I discuss why I am such a huge advocate of the Havening Techniques.

In Part 2 which will be the next blog post after this, I teach a technique I developed that you can use immediately called ‘From Stress to Success with Havening’. This technique will help you feel less stressed and more positive about yourself and the future.

Lets begin…

the havening

Anne Jirsch: Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us on Time Slip Show where we slip around in time. Today we have an amazing guest, Stephen Travers, he’s one of the leading lights of Havening. I have said for some time if I wanted to train in Havening, I would jump on a plane, pop over to Dublin and do it with Stephen.

Although I do get the feeling he’s going to be doing it in many other places as well. Haven’t told him that yet. I would appreciate you liking this and sharing it. Let’s spread the word because, you know there are so many training’s out there and a lot of them are a bit half-baked and I know Havening is one of the most credible out there. Stephen, welcome.

Stephen Travers: Hi, Anne. How are you keeping?

AJ: I’m really good. One of the things I wanted to ask you–jumping right in–before Havening, what were you doing?

ST: Essentially, I used hypnosis and hypnotherapy in private practice in Dublin for just under 15 years, and I was very much into personal development. I trained in lots of different areas, a bit like yourself I imagine. For example Hypnotherapy, NLP, EFT, TFT, the Demartini Method and various types of psychotherapy. That’s what I’ve been doing over the last 15 years, running my private practice in Dublin and doing some other training events as well.

AJ: You’re really focusing on Havening. Why are you doing so much with Havening as opposed to the others… I know you still incorporate them and use them, but Havening seems to be a real biggie for you. What drew you to Havening and made you make it such a focal point in your work?

ST: First of all, I was reading an interview about six years ago with Paul Mc Kenna. Paul said he had discovered this new therapy that he believes is going to change the face of therapies  across the world, especially in the area of anxiety-based disorders and trauma.That drew my attention when he came out with that.

I then started researching Havening and I came across the Rudens, Dr Ronald and Steven Ruden. I got in contact with them and they were just starting the Havening Trainings. I ended up doing one of the very first training’s. But the big thing that grabbed me was the remarkable results Havening was producing.

The Havening session, the first one!

I remember doing my first Havening, my first one ever. I had this young lady come in, she was 18 years of age and she was doing her Leaving Certs, that’d be like an A’ Level in the UK. She was suffering really severe panic attacks. She’d had a really bad panic attack in the exam and she was having problems going back in to do exams, so the school was trying to accommodate her, put her into a room by herself, in a smaller group, but it wasn’t working. She kept having anxiety and panic attacks in those exam environments.

She came in for her first session, I’d just learnt Havening and there were many things I could have done with her. Obviously, I decided I’m going to use the Havening. We identified quite quickly why she had the very first panic attack in the exam. I ‘Havened’ that memory the event, she was really distressed about it and within under 10 minutes, the anxiety and panic had completely disappeared.

There was a big transformation from someone who’s sitting there completely distressed to someone who’s completely calm and relaxed within 10 minutes. After that one session, she was absolutely fine. She could go and do the exams and everything was great for her.

I’ve been seeing those results consistently with Havening. I suppose that was one of the main things that drew me to it was the results and then the neuroscience behind it as well impressed me.

AJ: I know obviously Dr Ronald Ruden. I’ve never met Steven Ruden but Ron Ruden I was dealing with him a few years back.  He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met but he’s also really credible. He’s a New York medical doctor, he’s qualified up to the hilt and the science has been verified from what I gather. From what I gather it’s been taken into universities, it’s been tested out. But as you say when you use it on somebody, you see a dramatic change. I saw you work on somebody at Karl Smith’s event and the woman with anxiety  and it was like, “It’s gone. It is not there” after the Havening.

The bit that gets to me is when you can see they’re looking for it the anxiety and they can’t find it anymore. There’s this point where they’re not just saying oh yeah, I feel better because they’re in front people. They’re kind of looking for it and it’s not there–does that makes sense?

ST: Yes. When they’re looking for the feeling or even the memory, there’s often significant changes at that stage. They can’t get the negative feeling back any more. It’s gone, and the memory will often seem more distant or faded away.

Also in NLP, one of the techniques they use is sub modalities. They aim to get pictures and images and sounds and they push them further away in the distance to disassociate. After you haven someone successfully, those sub modalities shift automatically. The client can’t bring the image and the feeling back the same way, no matter how hard they try.

AJ: That’s interesting because I didn’t know it changed sub modalities but I could see that woman couldn’t find it. I could see she was sort of like, “No.” I could see her doing that, trying to see where it was.

Christopher is asking what is the sign behind my head? It says, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I like that because I know a lot of wanderers; I know a lot of people who wander through life and they don’t care and it’s good fun.

You’re teaching this now. Where do you teach?

The Havening Trainings

ST: We’ve been running training’s in the UK, Ireland, then we’ve trainers in the US, so I do a lot of my training’s in Dublin. We run the two-day Havening Techniques training and I’ve been doing them for the last five years. I do at least one or two a year.

AJ: Brilliant. In my head, I’m seeing you take it to other places, I’m seeing you crossing water. Are you planning that or is that something still to come?

ST: Interestingly, there are a couple of projects in the pipeline. There’s a book in the background and obviously Havening is constantly expanding, growing and evolving, so there’s a few things in place. Those intentions are already set..

AJ: Okay so you’re setting it up, well I’m seeing it. If I see it, it happens–if I get the image in my head. What are the main things you use Havening for?

ST: Many things. First of all, anxiety-based disorders, things like panic attacks, post- traumatic stress disorder, phobias, people with built up accumulations of stress from just day to day living.

Unresolved negative emotions like unresolved anger, rage, guilt, shame. We also use Havening to help people overcome compulsions, cravings, addictive behaviours. To build resourceful states of confidence, calmness, resiliency.

There’s many things we use it for and we can even combine this and integrate it into various different therapies and coaching models also.

AJ: Do the Rudens mind you incorporating into other things?

ST:   They’re all for it. Havening has evolved a lot in the last five-six years. We’re finding new ways of using it, new ways of integrating it in with other modalities. Obviously, what we want is to achieve even better outcomes and results for our clients and the people we’re working with.

The Havening Community

There’s a lot going on within the Havening community and we’ve a lot of different people from medical doctors, EMDR trainers, NLP people, hypnotherapists, psychotherapists, counsellors involved. They’re all helping to naturally evolve Havening with all their background,  knowledge and experience.

AJ: That’s interesting because most people who’ve got a modality don’t like any other modality near it. They’re quite precious. I’ve not ever come across anybody being open that way before. Maybe I should have a chat with them at some point, but that’s really interesting because that doesn’t usually happen. People are usually quite precious or nervous about anything coming near their modality.

That’s good because I think most therapists do use several things when they work on somebody and it’s that synergy effect. You can create something really, really powerful with it.

ST: Havening works great as a standalone set of techniques but we can also integrate it. We often say that Havening, if you add it to other modalities, it will enhance the other modalities. Like Paul McKenna for example he uses it quite a bit where he uses NLP and hypnotic techniques too.

He’s finding what I’m finding is that it’s actually enhancing those techniques. We go into more detail why that happens within the training’s we do. We teach people what’s actually happening in the brain, we go more into the neuroscience to explain why that can be so effective.

AJ: What is the science behind Havening? Because I know there is science but I’ve never really looked into that. What is the science behind it?

A Better Life Through Neuroscience

ST: First of all, there’s a lot of science behind Havening. To give you a snap shot of one of the reasons why it’s so successful with helping people overcome anxiety-based disorders is that when someone develops an anxiety-based disorder, there’s generally been at least one very distressful event.

They’re going to have a sense or perception that they’re trapped. They can’t escape in some way, a sense of inescapable stress. At that moment and this is the science part, something called AMPA receptors gets stuck on little neurons in the amygdala. Think of my hands as a little neuron, my fingers are the spikes or receptors getting stuck down. They download everything that you’re seeing, hearing, emotionally and physically feeling in that moment. Anxiety, stress, heart palpitations, sweating, all that gets downloaded into these AMPA receptors.

The event’s over then you’re fine for a while. Everything’s okay but these receptors are stuck and they’re set inside the neurons. If something reminds you of that original distressful event, it could be a smell, it could be something that looks similar it has the potential to trigger these receptors off again. Once these receptors trigger, they release cortisol and adrenalin and bring back some if not all of the distressful anxiety symptoms.

In Havening what we’re doing is we teach people how to pinpoint and identify these key events. We get them to think about it and  remember them to trigger the receptors off.  Then we apply the Havening.

Havening is a psycho-sensory approach which means we use sensory touch and pleasant psychological distraction. Essentially what makes it really effective is the delta waves from the sensory touch that go into the neurons with the receptors. This removes the receptors off. Once that happens, it switches off that stressful feeling to the body. It’s delinking the feeling from the thought or  from the memory or the triggers.

What Havening can help with

AJ: I know a friend of mine, her sister walked in the room. My friend was quite a strong character and her elder sister walked in the room and you saw her start to shake because the sister bullied her as a child and it stayed in her all those years. Y

Years later, she’s 30 years old, but she was quaking when her sister walked in the room. That was that sort of reaction; it’s embedded somewhere in her and fired off the minute her sister… Her sister couldn’t hurt her, she couldn’t bully her now but she still had that reaction. We could have done Havening on her. She could have released that for the next time she saw her sister, she wouldn’t have had that reaction. Is that kind of an example?

ST: Yes. That’s a very good example. If you can imagine looking inside someone’s brain at the amygdala, there’s a very high probability that she obviously had at least one distressful event  if not many distressful memories or events about her sister and the bullying. These receptors are encoded in the amygdala and the sister is associated in that.

If we go back to those memories with that lady. And we clear them and we delink that emotional charge from those memories. That anxiety when she sees her sister again will be at least significantly reduce, if not completely disappear.

AJ: Would it work, say, somebody’s got a compulsion to eat chocolate. Is that the same sort of thing, the compulsion’s embedded in and the Havening will take away the compulsion. Is that that how it works?

ST: Not exactly. It depends. Sometimes there’s a lot of unresolved accumulated stress that the person’s holding on to and then they’re self-medicating through over-eating, having cravings, they’re self-medicating essentially. We often ask the question, “What is driving that addiction or that craving?”

Sometimes at the beginning, we look at unresolved trauma and other issues in their life and we’ll start clearing all that away  first.  What that does it produces a resiliency that then makes it easier for the person to take control of that behaviour or to stop it.

Saying that, we can directly Haven the craving or the compulsion. Someone, say, gets a really strong compulsion for chocolate, we can rate their craving on the scale from zero to 10.

10 being the most, zero being the least, trigger off that compulsion and haven their compulsion for chocolate directly. That also can significantly reduce the craving and in some cases, completely clear it away. It depends what’s driving the craving.

AJ: Yes, but you don’t always know, do you? You don’t always know. I suppose if you get that compulsion and work with the compulsions. Sometimes you don’t need to know the origin or something. You can work the compulsion or the feeling of it.

ST: Yes. Sometimes It’s partly habit or it’s more of a mild compulsion you could say. It depends what’s driving it because before some people quit smoking they’ll go to see a hypnotist. Or they quit smoking themselves. And then three-six months later, they’re two or three stone overweight.

Its because of unresolved stress and anxiety and other stressful triggers. So they substitute food instead. So, we want to really address at that deeper level what’s driving these behaviours and gather more information to completely resolve it.

AJ: I also wanted to ask, I don’t know if you can answer it. I’ve had Havening done on me several times and I’ve seen you Havening at Karl Smith’s training and I had a session with Louise–hi, Louise, Louise Baker’s here– and with Louise it was interesting because it was as if there was more. I don’t know even know how to explain it. When she was working on me, she had this really… Guys, have a session with Louise if she’s up for doing that, I know she’s been stepping back lately for study.

As she was doing it, she was working and she’s kind of doing something more with energy. I don’t even know if you guys know you’re doing it. I mean, you were working, it’s almost as if you went into some sort of a state yourself. I’ve noticed that with Louise.

I’ve had the same with a couple of people and I didn’t really feel much. But it’s almost as if you guys go into a bit of a state. Is there something going on there or am I imagining things?

ST: You’re not imagining it. There are a couple of things going on. When we train people to do Havening, we teach them about coming from a healing place, from a positive intention. That can be very useful, that you’re coming from that place of positive intention and healing.

Secondly, when the person is doing the Havening, the Certified Havening Techniques practitioner, when they’re applying the Havening touch, they’re also getting delta waves produced.

AJ: That makes sense. I could see something happening with the person doing it. Oh, yes, Louise is saying the power of delta waves–intense focus. Because I can see the person do it. Not all of them: some of them there’s nothing and I don’t feel anything and they’ve done it.

When I had a session with Louise, I could really feel there’s something coming from her more than the technique. I saw that when you worked on that lady at the KS event. It’s interesting. You bring in some sort of intention and that’s gorgeous. I love that.

ST: Can I also say: a lot of therapies out there, they talk about intention and belief and expectation. You hear those words a lot around hypnotherapy. I’m doing Havening now six years. I’ve done thousands and thousands of Havenings.  And I have done Havenings where I’ve been very mechanical about it and I have still gotten the same excellent results.

AJ: Wow! From what I’ve had, there is consistently amazing results with Havening. But I’ve seen both of you two work where I’m aware of energy. I’m thinking you guys change. It’s almost as if like you at the KS event it’s almost as if your energy just got so much bigger. I could just feel it. It’s almost as if you went into some really–I don’t know how to put it.

As if you’d created this bubble of great energy. It’s almost as if I could feel you’d created something. Really, really, nice. When Louise worked on me it’s like whoa, there was something else going on which.

Anyway, guys, do you want to experience this? Because Stephen is going to kind of take us through something. What was it you’re going to do for us, Stephen?

This interview will continue in my blog post were I will be teaching you how to apply the ‘ From Stress tom Success Havening Techniques and sharing the full video interview itself.

In meantime you check out how the following link about out upcoming Havening Techniques or Change Your Life with Havening Training this April in Dublin. There are a few places left if you wish to book a place. See

the havening