Schermafbeelding 2021 03 12 Om 15.10.04

What is Havening?

What is Havening?

Havening Techniques® or Havening is a new, groundbreaking neuroscience technique developed by physician and neuroscientist Dr. Ronald Ruden, with which a wide range of stress-related symptoms and conditions and trauma can be solved quickly, easily and effectively. In addition, this method can be used to stimulate personal and professional growth. It is a psychosensory therapy that uses touch on the arms, palms and face, and psychological distraction. The treatment itself is relaxing and calming, and can provide immediate positive healing results.

The word ‘Havening’ comes from the English word ‘haven’; a safe place where recovery can begin. In the Nederlands Havening (or Havening Techniques) is not yet well-known, because it is a relatively new technique. I was in the second group of people that were trained in the Havening Techniques in the Netherlands.

Scientific basis

Dr. Ruden has conducted 15 years of research, which originally began as an investigation into the biological effects of Energy Psychology (EP), a technique derived from Chinese Traditional Medicine, which works by touching acupoints on meridians in the body to heal both physical and emotional problems. Because so many results were achieved with EP, it aroused the interest of neuroscientists.
Through his research, Ruden has developed a wonderful new system that has a solid foundation in neuroscience and clinical observation: the Havening Techniques.


Coding of a trauma

Four factors play an important role in the development of a trauma in someone. First, there is an event. This can be something that someone experiences directly, but it can also be something that someone experiences ‘second or third hand’: seeing it happen to someone else, or hearing/reading about something that happened to someone else. Second, the event must have meaning for someone and evoke an emotional response. A third factor is when the ‘landscape’ of the brain is more sensitive than usual. For example, when someone is already in a stressful period, or in a mourning period. Or when someone’s hormones are disrupted, such as during puberty or menopause. The fourth factor is that the event has a component of inescapability.
‘Traumatization is the process that permanently establishes and consolidates connections between emotional, cognitive, autonomic, and somatosensory components during the traumatic event. Each of these components in and of itself can cause us to relive some or all of these components as if it were the first time we experienced it’ (Ruden, 2010).


During a Havening session, we first activate the memory briefly (by remembering it). Then the Havening touch is applied, which stimulates the brain to start emitting delta waves. These delta waves release chemical substances. This disconnects the emotion from the event (see further on in the article how this exactly happens).
At the same time, we work with psychological distraction, so that the bad memory disappears from the working memory. The delta waves have pleasant positive side effects: they increase the amount of ‘happy substances’ in the brain, such as serotonin and oxytocin.
Tensions, phobias, fears and traumas that have been present for years can completely disappear in a few sessions, usually three to four sessions are enough.


In a Havening session, the therapist touches the client, but the client can also make the movements themselves (see image). That is why Havening can also be done online.
A Havening session always ends with a positive affirmation, so that the nerve cells in the brain start making new, positive connections, making you more resilient and more relaxed. The great thing about this technique is that you can apply it yourself in all kinds of situations, because with the movements over the arms, palms and face the delta waves are generated, which releases the ‘happiness substances’ such as serotonin and oxytocin. For example, it also helps to fall asleep more easily, and it also works very well with children. But also in stressful situations; are you having problems at work? See if you can retreat for a while, even if it’s a few minutes, and apply the Havening to yourself. You will find that it helps you to calm down and feel stronger.
Just sitting down for a few minutes a day and making the movements can make a huge difference. But it is even more powerful when you speak out positive affirmations during the Havening, for example: ‘I open myself to learn’ / ‘I open my heart to friendship’ / ‘I feel safe, peaceful and calm’.


People who are continuously triggered by a traumatic experience or by stressful events experience that after a treatment the emotion is disconnected from the memory. Peace returns, and physical complaints that have arisen over time as a result of continuous stress begin to disappear or disappear immediately.

Someone described it as follows: ‘Before the treatment, it was as if I continuously saw a movie playing right before my eyes, it was as if I was continuously re-experiencing the event. That could be triggered by all kinds of factors, there were more and more. After the treatment it was no longer a movie, but it was more like a frozen picture somewhere at the bottom of the screen, which I can look at but which I no longer feel any emotion with. I know it happened, but it doesn’t affect me anymore.”

People do not always know where exactly their problem started. In that case it is possible to work with the symptoms or conditions that the client experiences. During the treatment it becomes more clear where it comes from. That’s why I sometimes combine Hypnotherapy with Havening; when it is not clear exactly where a problem origins, hypnosis can help to find the cause, and vice versa, when a trauma unfolds itself during a hypnotherapy session, it can then (also) be treated with Havening.

Very good results are achieved with Havening in PTSD, phobias, traumas, panic attacks, stress-related complaints, burnout, depression, fears, addictions, and chronic pain.

Neurobiological theory behind Havening, in short

Traumatic memories are stored encoded in our brains. Normally, memories are stored in the hippocampus. The emotional components of traumatic or stressful memories are also encoded in the limbic system, a center in the brain where emotions are processed. Traumatic encoding begins with activation of a neuron or neurons in the amygdala, a small nucleus in the limbic system, by signals entering it through nerve cells. There are many receptors on the amygdala, but during traumatic events specific receptors are activated, the AMPA receptors. When a threat is sensed, these AMPA receptors are potentiated (they multiply and they become permanent). These receptors attach themselves to more nerve cells and stay there. Research has shown that after exposure to a threatening stimulus, the concentration of these receptors is much higher (Yeh, 2006).
Once potentiated, these receptors can be reactivated over and over.
dr. Ruden started studying what exactly happens on a neuro-biological/chemical level in the nerve cells when the AMPA receptors are potentiated, and discovered that these receptors can also be depotentiated and even broken down and removed.
During a stressful event, our brain emits gamma waves, which are high frequency brain waves. The nerve cell then pushes many receptors to the surface and anchors them (with phosphorus). The function of this is that from then on we are always warned when new danger threatens.
When the brain sends out delta waves, tiny channels in the nerve cells open, releasing a chemical that can dissolve the phosphorus (which attaches the receptors to the nerve cells).

With Havening we generate delta waves in the brain. That is why Havening is also called ‘Delta Wave Technique’ (DWT). Delta waves have a very low frequency, it is the frequency of the waves our brain emits when we are in the deep sleep phase. There are sensors in our upper arms, palms and in our face that, when touched, send signals to the brain, causing delta waves to be emitted. During a Havening session, we first briefly activate the memory of the traumatic event, which activates the nerve cells encoded with the trauma. Then the Havening touch is applied, which stimulates the brain to start emitting delta waves. These delta waves release chemical substances that weaken the receptors loose from the nerve cells, after which they are cleaned up by the cell or recycled. The emotion is thus disconnected from the event.
Working memory (Baddeley, 2008) is located in the prefrontal cortex, where conscious memory begins its journey to the amygdala. It can only contain 1 item at a time. Psychological distraction ensures that the emotionally charged memory disappears from the working memory and now the receptors can be disconnected from the nerve cells in the amygdala and removed or recycled.

In addition to remove the receptors, the delta waves also have other positive effects: they increase the amount of ‘happy substances’ in the brain, such as serotonin and oxytocin.

Want to read more about Havening?

Look at and Havening

Curious how Havening can help you?

I am very grateful for the special session with Inez. Her loving guidance and her pleasant voice helped me into a deep hypnosis: it turned out to be an opening to the awareness of many layers in my inner being. Wherever I ended up in the history of my emotional existence, Inez always knew which course was the right one for that moment.


I had a session and it was great!! I immediately felt 'safe', trusted. Havening done and this effect was felt right away; what I came for was gone immediately. I felt really euphoric after the session. In my opinion everyone should have at least one session, it will never have a negative effect! That's impossible just because you really go to the core that's bothering you and take it away. I wish everyone this great experience!!