Paul McKenna approaches severe trauma with the ‘Havening Technique’
Celebrity hypnotist Paul McKenna has recently launched his most ambitious project to date: a therapy designed to heal the minds of those who have experienced severe trauma.
Going from Topshop in-store DJ to TV hypnotist, Paul McKenna has made an incredible transformation to become one of the world’s most recognised hypnotists. His new technique boasts impressive results – but will it work on James Moore, writer for the Independent?
Two years ago James very nearly lost his life when a tanker ran him over while cycling in London. The psychological trauma from this event was profound, not only from the accident but from the coma he was in for three weeks and subsequent hallucinations.
After five months of therapy, James continues to be haunted by the memories, especially at night. McKenna became an advocate of the Havening technique after it helped him get over a particularly hard break-up. The hypnotist and the creator of the technique (Dr Ron Ruden) are looking for the credibility academic verification Havening would bring by submitting research for peer review.
In a nutshell, the technique is performed like this:
You think of a traumatic memory, visualizing it clearly and then rate its intensity. You then close your eyes and tap your fingers on your collarbone. Now you open your eyes, clear your mind and think of something more pleasant. After this you follow the hypnotist’s finger which moves rapidly from side to side.
Then, you relax as he/she rubs the top of your arms while you imagine tapping a keyboard while counting from one to 20. Now you hum a few bars of a well know tune (such as happy birthday) and close your eyes while the therapist rubs your arms again. Then you rate your trauma’s impact before the processed is repeated.
The general aim is to separate the thought from the feeling; Havening endeavours to change the chemistry of the brain to reduce ‘over-signalling’ caused by uncomfortable emotions.
So did it work for James?
“Up to a point. Some of the more traumatic memories, which I thought had been addressed by therapy but which have been leaking back in, are again in abeyance … all the same, I’m sleeping better, I’m a shade more relaxed and, interestingly, I feel more confident driving. So while I’d say the jury is out, and I’m sceptical of the 90 per cent success rate claimed given that it was only partially successful with me, I’m not quite ready to stand with McKenna’s critics.”
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