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Havening, is an [1] alternative therapy developed by Ronald Ruden and popularized in part by hypnotist Paul McKenna; it is marketed as an "amygdala depotentiation" technique that purportedly can help people with psychological problems, particularly those related to phobias, post-traumatic stress and anxiety.[2][3]

Havening involves instructing the patient to recall emotionally disturbing events while the practitioner gently touches the patient's palms, arms and face.[1][4] Havening shares features in common with another controversial alternative therapy method, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.[5][1][6]

Assessments of Claims[edit]

The official "Havening" website includes a listing of testimonials about Havening's effectiveness,[7] however, the "Havening Research" page does not link to any research studies assessing the claim that Havening is an effective therapy for any of the disorders listed on the site.[8] One study has been published designed to assess that claim.[4] In that study, 27 participants completed self-report measures of depression, anxiety, and social adjustment before, and 1-week and 2-months after, a Havening intervention. Scores on the different measures were better after the intervention than before. The authors note that the study is limited by "its small sample size" and "lack of control group". Because of the lack of a control group, there is no way to know if the change in scores on the self-report measures is a result of the Havening intervention, a placebo effect, or some other factor related to the passage of time[6][5][1]

Proponents claim that Havening "increases the levels of serotonin which can disrupt reconsolidation of the link between the traumatic memory of the event and the distress it causes."[4]. Although Ruden and McKenna each make this claim, neither provides any direct evidence for the validity of the claim.


  1. ^ a b c d Jarrett, Christian (May 9, 2013). "Can The New Havening Technique Really Cure Trauma and Fear?". Psychology Today.
  2. ^ Ruden, Ronald. "About Havening". Havening Techniques. The Havening Techniques. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  3. ^ Iley, Chrissy (January 15, 2012). "Paul McKenna: 'I'm not built for relationships'". The Telegraph. United Kingdom. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Gursimran, T.; Deborah, T.; Gould, M.; McKenna, P.; Greensberg, N. (2015). "Impact of a Single-Session of Havening". Health Science Journal. 9 (5): 1–5.
  5. ^ a b Herbert, J.; Lilienfeld, S.; Lohr, J.; Montgomery, R.; O'Donohue, W.; Rosen, G.; Tolin, D. (2000). "Science and pseudoscience in the development of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: implications for clinical psychology". Clinical Psychology Review. 20 (8): 945–71. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b Arkowitz, H.; Lilienfeld, S. (2012). "EMDR: Taking a Closer Look". Scientific American. SA Special Editions 17 (4S): 10–11. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1207-10sp.
  7. ^ Ruden, Ronald. "Havening testimonial". Havening Techniques. The Havening Techniques. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  8. ^ Ruden, Ronald. "Havening Research". Havening Techniques. The Havening Techniques. Retrieved 31 January 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ruden, Ronald (August 23, 2010). When the Past Is Always Present: Emotional Traumatization, Causes, and Cures. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415875646.
  • Pickens, Harry (2017). Fifteen Minutes to Freedom.