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In the Wild

It is common in our daily lives when a toddler has a tumble that we wipe the tears from their face, open their palms, brush away the gravel, and give them a hug. At the same time, we also employ engaging them in working memory activities. If we know they like birds, we might say, 'Hey, was that a hawk that flew past, or was it a seagull?', If we know they like their aunt and having ice cream, we might say, 'Weren't we going to visit Aunty? What's the name of that ice cream shop near her house? Or we might evoke empathy and oxytocin and some nonsense games and say, 'Gosh, look at what you did to the road, poor road, what a bump!!". Very soon, they are smiling again, and all is well. If we think of biology, we can understand how this works so well. We can imagine how, as they tumbled and were frightened, their amygdala and survival system activated. Then, when we stroked cheeks, forehead, palms and arms, a 'signal-safe' was electrically transduced. As we engaged their attention in working memory activities and distracted them from the pain in their palms and knees, any receptors being created most likely were reabsorbed.  As a Havener, you will recognise the three stages of Event Havening: activation of the amygdala, psychosensory input (touch) and working memory activities, and then moving forward feeling fine. It differs from Event Havening because the tumble has happened in the here and now. Whereas in Event Havening, we are working with receptors that were made (potentiated) in the amygdala in the past during a moment where the four elements of EMLI came together.

Havening Project

Project: How many examples of using touch and distraction can you observe 'in the Wild'?


  • Identify a key early experience where the four requirements of EMLI came together and fast one-time learning took place. We could think of this as a 'seed event'. Identify a cue that starts the person recalling that experience. Choose a non-emotive cue*.

  • Use this cue and activate receptors in the amygdala that were potentiated during that experience that we could consider a key EMLI. The individual Questions, Observes, Calibrates, Tracks and Utilises (QOCTU)  their response (CASE) to the cue at this moment. Paying particular attention to the Content and Complex Content that they are accessing. This information is mapped either through measuring emotional distress (E of CASE) using SUDS, or mapping any element of CASE using the V Scale, or some other method.

  • Invite the individual to move position and note out loud that 'now we will do something different'.

  • Begin using Havening Touch and 'Distractions' involving using working memory activities (WMA).

  • Rest for a moment and then check the results. 

  • Use the chosen cue once more and provide time for the individual to Question, Observe, Calibrate, Track and Utilise (QOCTU) their new responses in this moment. The difference is noted; changes to the content and complex content usually occur, and other alterations to C, A, S, and E of CASE can be noted. This information is mapped either through measuring emotional distress (E of CASE) using SUDS or mapping any element of CASE using the V Scale or some other method.


  •  Provide time and support to the individual as they consider what this change may enable now or how they might use this comfortable process again for other previous survival learning experiences.


Consider the biological basis. Receptors will most likely be based in the amygdala. 

*An example of a non-emotive cue. The client presented with some chronic pain and fear of going out. He had suffered a heart attack at 'his friend's cake counter at Tesco' and was embarrassed and also fearful to return.  The cue 'At the cake counter at Tesco' activated the receptors he made during that EMLI, and therefore, he experienced a powerful survival response and some aspects of the CASE he had experienced in that past experience. The cue 'going shopping' generated a similar response but was less emotive. We used this cue for the Havening process, both to start the activation of those specific receptors (that engram if you like). Later, he talked a lot about his experience at the cake counter and also expressed a desire to return ASAP to see his friend and buy some cakes. In these conversations, we could observe that the response to all the cues was altered, and he felt fine now and was able to return to one of his favourite habits again.

Swipe or click to turn the pages

Principles compared to what Event Havening looks like.

Someone recently asked me what does 'Event Havening' look like, and I thought this was such as great question because often, when someone is looking on in a session and sees us very engaged with each other, doing fun working memory activities, they think we are having too much ease and pleasure. We might be following each others Havening Touch and movements and trying to remember complicated patterns we have made up, doing quizzes together, making up funny stories, singing songs, or giving directions. Usually, these activities cause a brain jam, which can result in giggling, especially when the individual knows this is the aim. For example, a worried parent may want to interrupt and say, 'But this is a serious matter' because they think we should be serious and distressed. We are, of course, signaling-safe to the brain by using the psychosensory input of the Havening Touch and using working memory activities as a 'distraction'. When we look at the graph, we can see that the percentage of upbeat CASEs, which are healthy and helpful, is over 90%.

I find it's really helpful to be able to explain to onlookers and the individual who is using Havening how the principles work before we start, so they can make sense of the steps we use. Dr Ruden explains it beautifully in the Primer.

Event Havening

Event Havening

When we use Event Havening, we utilise


  • Speedily accessing long-term memory related to experiencing a moment in time when the four requirements of EMLI came together, our survival system was activated, and a long-term memory was created (in the amygdala).

  • Observing our response as we activate these receptors now

  • Working memory activities


Therefore, it's important for a Havening practitioner to be able to recognise the differences between these types of brain activity. Let's explore working memory.


Working Memory

It's widely thought that working memory is a gateway into long-term storage. For example, scientists explain that if we rehearse new information in working memory enough, the memory can become more permanent, and we can recall it at a later date. And they make a clear distinction between working memory and long-term memory. Working memory is related to the temporary activation of neurons in the brain, whereas long-term memory is thought to be related to physical changes to neurons and their connections, i.e. receptors are absorbed and made (depotentiation and potentiation). For example, we use our long-term memory for


  • recalling an event that we experienced in the past

  • recalling names for things

  • recognising and identifying/naming known objects around us

  • identifying objects around us and remembering associated information

  • imagining something occurring (and imagining when - in the past, now or in the future)

  • making a list


Understanding the difference in how our brain works helps us understand the reason that working memory is short-term. For example, we don't remember all the details (WM) on our many shopping lists. We can, however, recall what our shopping lists generally look like, and we can imagine creating a future shopping list (use of long-term memory).


Event Havening Booklet

Swipe or click to turn the pages of the booklet. As you turn the pages, links will show as yellow flashes.

Project - preparing for EH
What did you discover?

I hope this inspires you to explore Event Havening. I would love to know what you discovered. Let's connect in our Messenger group and share.

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