Self-havening, this technique for comforting yourself

Self-havening, this technique for comforting yourself

If you have followed the various calming and relaxation recommendations made by Internet users on social networks as well as by many psychologists, you may have spotted the “self-havening” trend. This self-soothing practice is gaining visibility and is even the subject of a new book.

Self-havening was created in the 2000s by American physician and researcher Dr. Ronald Ruden. This technique, which you may never have heard of, involves reducing the emotional impact of past trauma. Based on advances in neuroscience, it presents itself as a healing method that uses touch to promote mental and emotional well-being.

Its growing popularity is explained by its effectiveness and simplicity in managing stress. Gentle touch on different parts of the body could indeed reduce anxiety, negative emotional states such as anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, OCD, depression.

A simple technique to heal better

According to its followers, self-havening also helps relieve disorders such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). To do this, simply rub the palms of your hands against your arms, the left hand on the right shoulder and vice versa, like a hug you would give to yourself. Other techniques such as running your hands from your nose to your cheekbones, as if to wipe away a tear, or even gently moving your hands across your forehead are just as effective.

When trauma occurs, information is first captured by our senses, then transmitted to our brain where it is stored in visual, auditory and semantic form. This encoding process represents the first step in the brain's memorization of information. “The goal is to activate the specific memory while in a state of deep, touch-induced relaxation, allowing the memory to be reprocessed and re-encoded in a less traumatic manner“, explains Jean-Michel Gurret.

Remember to better control

Kate Truitt, an American clinical psychologist and certified self-havening trainer, has been practicing this technique since 2014, following an intense trauma in 2009. She explains that self-havening acts on the encoding of the trauma in the amygdala, the area of ​​the brain associated with emotions. “During the encoding of a traumatic moment, the brain enters hyper gamma mode, which allows the amygdala, our brain, to survive, but to firmly attach itself to this traumatic event and to say to itself: 'I am' will remember it forever, because it threatened my life”, she explains to journalist Sophie Madoun in the online daily Santécool.

In her new book “Self-Havening” published on April 10, Kate Truitt guides us step-by-step in the discovery of this extraordinary self-healing tool. She draws on numerous testimonies and offers exercises of application for various psychological situations.

However, self-havening is not the only self-soothing technique: these methods are not new and have been very popular for several years. We think in particular of “brain tapping”, which consists of tapping the face and body while repeating kinds of mantras with the aim of reducing stress and anxiety levels.