Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Blog




The problem with Havening

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The problem with Havening and touching

Havening is a brand new therapy that can show some amazing results. Paul Mckenna is perhaps the most high profile practitioner of the therapy. There is no doubt that it can have some remarkable changes for people.

You can read more about havening here: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/myblog/read_75789/paul-mckenna-havening-technique-how-does-it-work.html

The problems with havening.

There are some issues around why havening is unlikely to become more widespread and used by other practitioners though. It is a shame because research is showing good responses. However, what could be seen as its strength is also something that may be limiting too.

The issue of havening touch.

Havening touch is an integral part of the therapy. The connection between the bad experience/thought/memory and touching is the most important part.

This means that the therapist is using their touch sometimes on the face and arms of the client. Many therapists see this is a problem. As part of their professional practice they would never touch a patient as this can put them in an awkward and uncomfortable position and cause more issues than it solves. Someone with problems related to sexual abuse for instance, would most likely be very uncomfortable with being touched, and for this reason would most likely not even ask for help in the first place. It is possible to teach people to self-haven but the teachers of the therapy do say that it is more effective and works better when you do it for someone. We can all benefit from touch in our personal lives, but is it appropriate in a therapeutic situation?

As one respected therapist put it to me “The problem is that the world of psychology will never accept havening, unfortunately because of that touch. However effective it is or isn’t they will never even look at it. In my opinion you cannot have a situation where a therapist starts cupping a client’s face in his hands. I cringe at the thought. I don’t want to touch people.”

“I can imagine some squaddie who has been blown up in Afghanistan going to see havening person who suddenly starts cupping his face in their hands. I think he might get a little bit angry at that!” As PTSD is seen as one of the things that can be helped this is a shame.

Of course for many people this will be comfortable and they will be happy, but sadly the touch can also put others off. There are many other types of therapy and because of this you can choose someone to work with who has the right training can techniques to help you. Never be afraid to ask for help. We all need a little help sometimes and we will all find the right way for us. 

You can email me via my contact page.

Update September 2018:  Since this blog post was written in 2015 I have been lucky enough to work with a Havening trainer and learn much more about how Havening works as it was something that I thought my practice could benefit from. This original blog post was written after discussion with others who make a valid point that touch can be inappropriate in a therapist session to many people. The idea that this could be a reason why it is not as widespread as other techniques is still a possibility. What I have learned about how the Havening technique works is that it is possible to use techniques on yourself and this self-havening way of working with people can therefore even by undertaken with Skype as well as in the practice clinic where demonstrating the technique can then lead to the client being able to use them on themselves. It is another very useful techniques that stands amongst many others in helping people to overcome trauma and move forward with their lives. I am grateful to the people who have reached out to me to talk about their experiences which led me to learn much more about putting havening into practice for myself.

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  1. Jane

    Hi Mark, I read your blog with interest. As a Havening Practitioner, and someone also about to train in Hypnotherapy, I am interested to read your opinion of how Havening fits in as a therapuetic model. Perhaps you are not aware that Havening can be done with no touch at all? This is called Self-Havening, a very powerful tool which I have used successfully with clients, face-to-face and over Skype. Touch is not always appropriate or welcome, and sometimes not possible due to geography, - but it is not necessary for Havening to work, so the client can choose how the session is done. Thank you and best wishes, Janie ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark responds...Thanks Janie. I have actually now updated this blog to reflect that fact that I have worked with a Havening practitioner and trainer to learn all about how anyone you are working with can use this self-havening touch and so I hope that the update reflects that. As I work with many clients on Skype I was interested to learn more and so hopefully the update clears up some of the thoughts from the original blog and makes them clearer with the new information I have learned. Thanks again for your comment, fingers crossed it all makes more sense in the blog now! Mark

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  2. Sonya

    I have had sexual trauma in my past, and although I haven't yet tried the havening technique, other forms of physical touch can be very healing for me. I would not assume that it can't help sexual abuse survivors. It would, of course, need to be done within a therapeutic relationship of trust, and with the therapist asking permission and proceeding at a pace the client is comfortable with. I'm sure it will seem awkward to most people at first, but what I've found over the last 10 years of therapy is that the more in touch with my body I am, and the more I am able to open up and express myself and deal with the shame that inevitably arises, the more open I am to things that might seem strange at first. Yoga had helped me with that, as does the constant processing of physical sensations and shame in therapy. It doesn't seem like this is a technique you would want to do outside of a well-established therapy relationship. But I would think that touch done properly could be very healing to anyone who has experienced unwanted and traumatic touch in their past.

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