ACCREDITED TRAINING IN THE
NOVEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 2019
TOUCHING THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE
Chapter 9 of Fifteen Minutes to Freedom
Interview with Kimberly Ann Davis
Kimberly Ann Davis is a registered nurse, Medical Device Sales Manager, and founder and CEO, Endless Evolution LLC.
Harry: Kimberly, how did you discover Havening?
Kimberly: I was first introduced to Havening through a NLP class I attended. One of my fellow students had become interested in Havening because he was working in the criminal justice system, dealing with some highly emotional cases involving children’s issues as well as child pornography. He'd made inroads with some of the criminal justice people regarding applications of Havening and after I spoke with him he introduced me to Dr. Ruden’s book, When The Past Is Always Present.
The book intrigued me so much that I immediately sought out the training and purchased a ticket to attend. I felt that this was a tool that many nurses didn’t know about; a tool that could be highly valuable to patients in their treatment regimen. I found that because of my work in nursing that there was a high level of interest.
H: Yes, that immediacy is familiar to me. You heard about it from your friend in criminal justice; you got the book; you signed up for the training almost immediately. That’s what happened to me.
Tell me about your nursing background and your current work.
K: I have worked as a nurse in the hospital, in the ER and in trauma care. I currently work in sales with a medical device that people can use at home for self-treatment. Much of my day-to-day routine involves interacting with doctors, nurses, and patients. My work focuses on education to increase patients’ level of wellness and outcomes.
H: In your daily work environment, who are the people who you interact with that you use Havening to help or who you teach Havening to as a self-care tool?
K: I have close contact with patients. My specialty is nephrology. A lot of patients that I come into contact with are people who no longer have sustaining kidney function and are now reliant on a machine to keep them alive. Often they’ve had a lot of underlying trauma.
H: So they’re in dialysis?
K: Correct. When patients go through this experience the nurses did not always understand that this patient has undergone this underlying trauma.
From what we’ve learned in Havening, a lot of people have a vulnerable neurochemical landscape which is impacted by the person’s history. Their history now includes going through this very traumatic medical experience, next transitioning from a hospital environment where they’ve learned that their kidneys have failed, and finally, transitioning into their new lifestyle, which includes their chronic need for treatment.
It’s an interesting process because many people who undergo a lot of hospital experiences are traumatized by the news they’re given, by their medical condition, and by the way they’re feeling.
Part of the challenge is also in the way they personalize it and react. We know that some of the underlying trauma they’ve had in their earlier stages in life impacts whether or not they are able to follow a healthy life plan.
We also want to enable the patient to become empowered to pursue other methods of treatment which are better for their quality of life and help them live longer.
So I’ve worked with the nurses to help them understand why someone may be resistant to self-care. Also I’ve worked to help them understand more about this process and how far back in the patient’s history this traumatization may have occurred.
I’ve also worked with nurses to help them understand their own history and landscape so that they can see how they may not be effective with patients because of their own underlying unaddressed issues. And that’s where I found a high level of interest, working with the nurses, because they were taking care of the patients, but I identified early on that they weren’t necessarily taking care of themselves.
H: So you’re comprehensively educating both the nurses and the patient about their role of traumatization in their symptoms and their well-being.
H: That’s beautiful. This educational aspect allows people to become more aware of the possible causative factors. How do you go from educating the nurses and patients to actually doing the Havening? Do you Haven them? Do you teach them how to use basic Havening processes? How specifically do you integrate Havening, beyond education, into your work?
K: Because I have the nursing license, it allows me to be able to touch someone. So we have the ability to talk about Havening and demonstrate its impact.
In some instances I’ve demonstrated some of the techniques with the healthcare provider staff. We’ve had fun during a time when I’ve been in the clinic. Once they’ve experienced Havening, I’ve commented: ‘since this is impactful for you, now do you want to do this with one of your patients?’
I have a patient who works with me who requested, after she learned that I had been through the Havening training, that I haven her. Now she shares her story with the nurses and doctors that I work with. She tells them how impactful the trauma of this physical experience was, shares the experience she had with me with Havening, and demonstrates how it’s possible to do more for people without so much medication.
You know, in the medical community, because it’s very research-based, sometimes there is some skepticism with physicians and nurses. They wonder if this is something that can really be impactful. So with them I’ve responded, ‘well if you don’t believe it, that it will work with a patient, I think the best way to try it is on you’. So the rapport I’ve built with some of my customers in the sales environment has allowed me access to working directly with the nurses.
H: So you’re leveraging the position you have and the trust you have with your clients and customers to bring this innovation into an environment that otherwise might not be as open to it. This brings me to my next question.
Many people, for good reason, are skeptical when they first hear about Havening. The possibilities seem to be too good to be true plus it seems so simple. Were you skeptical at first? If so, what changed your mind?
K: I wasn't skeptical. I was intrigued by the technique and I volunteered for the demonstration for a specific reason. I wanted to feel the experience for myself. It was a perfect opportunity.
Havening intrigued me and I wanted to go through the physical experience myself. You know, you can understand the science behind it, but actually feeling it is a completely different experience. And during the volunteer experience that I had, I wasn’t sure what would happen before I went in, but I was completely open to experiencing it. It intrigued me that something so simple could have a significant impact.
I have also found these tools very valuable with my children.
H: How so? How many kids do you have?
K: I have two. My children are 11 and 14. One of my children, the 11-year old, is very receptive to things that I learn. Around the time I learned Havening she would from time to time have periods of insomnia. She was very receptive to Havening and immediately grabbed onto it. She allowed me to Haven her and within 5 minutes she was completely asleep.
My older child has a diagnosis of Asperger's and has had difficulty with self-expression. He was not so receptive at first. My daughter would rave about it and say, “You should try this.” He was a little more cautious.
However, over time, we slowly started integrating it and from what I saw, he was actually able to start expressing himself more. Havening touch is actually very similar to a brushing technique that is used with children with Asperger's and autism.
H: That’s remarkable.
K: His anxiety about expressing himself went down to the point where he is now receptive to more of the technique. This has made a profound impact on his life. We did Havening prior to him parasailing over the Summer. He had a tremendous fear of heights. A half-hour before he went parasailing we havened him. I noticed a tremendous decrease in his fear and anxiety level. I saw more relaxation and I saw his success. We have the whole thing on HD video! Amazing.
H: I imagine it gives you a sense of pride and delight as a mother to be able to share that gift with your own children.
K: It does. It’s a learning experience for them and I can give this to them even at their ages of 11 and 14. We learned during the Havening training about the impact of early trauma. My son was born with a cord around his neck. And he had a sensitivity, although he didn’t have a diagnosed medical condition, where his body postures himself to protect his neck. The Havening Techniques, along with that insight, allowed me to go all the way back to his infancy and help him address this.
H: That reminds me of a client I worked with whose son was exhibiting lots and lots of unprovoked anger and rage directed towards his mom. And what we discovered is that when he was born he had a particular medical condition that required separation from his mother. It also required various procedures that were very painful and his mother was there when these procedures were happening.
And so as an infant, we’re talking 2 or 3 days to a week old, he took on this traumatization and associated his mother with the others who were doing this procedure. Of course the baby was angry; he perceived that these supposed caregivers, including his mother, were causing his pain and suffering.
Once we havened that experience, the anger and rage against mom completely dissolved. And this wasn’t anything he had been conscious of. His mom just told me, these were the conditions of his birth. Literally at age three or four days this memory had become traumatically encoded and then twenty-something years later that unconscious traumatically encoded memory was activating this rage, this anger response. And then after one session of Havening, this issue simply dissolved. I spoke with his mom a few days ago. It’s been a year since we worked, and that anger/rage response is gone. It’s remarkable.
K: It is remarkable. It’s amazing how you can help people.
H: Yes, and once you understand the science, the neurobiology behind it, then I find that the questions I ask the client are very different. The intake interview is very different. The things that I look for in a conversation are very different, because you’re constantly scanning like Sherlock Holmes, not only for these individual traumatizations, but also for the larger patterns, the different occasions in the person’s life where traumatic encoding might have occurred.
I’m fascinated with how you have implemented what I would call 360-degree application. You’ve used Havening for your own healing, you’re using it with your kids, you’re helping your friends, you’re using Havening within the work context to help the nurses, the doctors, your colleagues and patients.
Do you have any other stories that you’d be willing to share about some of your experiences using Havening to help others?
K: The one story that really stands out to me was the opportunity to be with someone who was on a ventilator. And what happened with her and her response from the intervention which utilized the techniques, was so amazing because you were looking at someone who couldn’t talk.
H: What exactly did you do with this person?
K: She was on the ventilator, receiving a dialysis treatment at the same time. That’s how I gained access to her. The ventilator was alarming frequently. They were saying that she was agitated, they had mitts on her, saying that she was pulling at things. I asked, “Can I sit with her? I want to demonstrate something that could help.” They said okay. And as I was working with her she started responding. Within a five-minute period of time she relaxed, and the ventilator stopped alarming.
I used some other communication techniques with her, certain words, because you now have to speak for them because she can’t speak since she has a ventilator. And she would respond through hand cueing. She’d start tapping my arm, when I’d hit the right button with her. There was an intuitive process that occurred along with the Havening.
You could see the relaxation and you could reinforce it. You could, through suggestion, find a path to relieve this patient of whatever she was going through at the time. I continued to work with her, and I said, “You know what? I’m not going to leave this woman until she’s better”. “Are you okay with me continuing to sit with her?” I kept asking the staff because they saw her continuing to relax.
I could see her respond. I didn’t want to leave her because I knew I was getting through to her. So after working with her for about forty-five minutes, she fell asleep. Everyone in the room said, "We have never seen her sleep before."
During that time I was explaining the Havening process, including the neurobiology of the technique. For some nurses, who had a ‘you need to show me to believe it’ attitude, it was so significant for the patient to be cueing me in on certain things.
We actually did the humming; she couldn’t speak but she could hum. I was looking for certain things that she could hum and I said have you gone to church? Do you dance? And there were certain things with her that just cued in, she said yes. And when she tapped ‘yes’ to church, I said, "Amazing Grace, is this something you like?" and she kept tapping and tapping and tapping. And that’s what we did.
This was a person who was physically restrained. She not only has had this traumatic experience, which now required a breathing tube beyond her control, but also the nurses were misunderstanding why she was moving around and possibly at risk for dislodging this device. And they thought she was pulling at everything. I’m saying, ‘no, she’s trying to communicate with you’.
For the nurses who were there, I spent time with them showing them when she’s on treatment how to reinforce what I did with her. And I came back and did the technique again. The administrator for the nursing home was there and said you need to teach all of my staff how to do this. There were fifty patients on ventilators in the unit. So I was able to train the respiratory therapist how to do this first because he had the most context.
H: Now what exactly did you train them? Did you teach them Event Havening or basic Havening touch?
K: Just Havening touch. And he’d call me on a weekly basis and say “I can’t believe how amazing this is!” It’s something so simple with such a profound effect.
H: The fact that you could do this and this impact could happen with someone who is in such a significant degree of physical restraint where communication is blocked, where they’re experiencing these physical challenges is beautiful. As well as the fact that this simple tool, plus your skill in communicating, your sensory acuity, your attentiveness, your compassion and your love could open up a gateway of healing that had been previously closed.
K: It’s been so much fun to get out there with the Havening because it actually opens pathways and possibilities for people that you never thought would have existed.
H: What’s your vision for how Havening could impact healthcare practices in general in the next decade or so? What do you see happening in terms of how Havening could impact how we take care of ourselves, how doctors and nurses and hospitals and healthcare professionals care for their patients?
K: There’s several different components. Nurses have the ability to apply the physical touch; it’s part of their care. We’ve used massage and things like that for a significant period of time, but if they moved forward with learning some of the Havening Techniques with patients, they could have many different applications depending on the specialty they work in. Depending on the goal.
Many times there’s a big disconnect between what healthcare providers think and what patients feel they need. Patients have a very different perspective. They want more care from healthcare providers. They want more attention. They don’t have a desire to particularly go in the direction of medication, of pharmaceuticals anymore.
In certain groups and support groups that I worked in, they’re very receptive to learning about simple ways that they could help or heal themselves. Havening provides an avenue to help in many different ways, whether it’s for pain relief, anxiety relief, drug and alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s somewhat overwhelming at first because you realize you can help everyone!
H: When I was on my way back from New York, after my first Havening workshop, I was sitting in the airport, looking around at people. Everybody I put my eyes on, I’m thinking, “I can help you. I can help you. I can help you."
K: It does become like that. You just want to be able to apply your hands to people and help them. I can tell you even in some of the environments I’m in, it may not be a frequent contact but it might be someone I see from time to time, and just a few seconds of some Havening touch has an impact on that person.
I don’t think it always needs to be 15 to 30 to 45 minutes. Of course, there are different techniques that you could apply. But when you do the same technique on everyone in a short period of time, you leave the residual benefits behind. That’s what I love about Havening.
In a sales environment it’s been profound. You know you’re having a positive impact on their brain chemistry because you can see them relax.
H: I have this image of you. It’s like the Disney cartoons with the fairy godmother who has a magic wand and when she waves her wand you see all this sparkling fairy dust! And it changes people. I’m imagining your hands are like her magic wand. You’re going all over the place and everywhere you go this light comes out of your hands and then people are transformed!
K: It’s my goal and my passion now. Now that I’ve learned this technique from Dr. Ruden, I think that there’s so much opportunity to educate healthcare providers. I think nurses are very receptive, as well as nurse practitioners because they spend so much more time with people in an office environment; they have more time to do this. And it’s particularly important now because there’s concern in the healthcare environment about patient re-hospitalization. About our need to re-treat and re-treat and re-treat. This all needs to change because it just seems like they’re not using something that is so valuable — human touch.
H: Yes, and as you also mentioned, nurses are licensed to touch, which is a huge advantage.
K: Yes. Use your hands!
H: Suppose you were talking to somebody who’s a nurse or a nurse practitioner or a nurse’s aide or somebody in this healthcare field who was considering taking the Havening training and adding Havening to their toolkit, what would you tell them?
K: In my career, I’ve used all of the nursing tools that I’ve learned over the last 22 years, but when I learned Havening
it was the tool that I wish I had from the beginning.
For the nurses, it helps you as much as the patient, because when you’re utilizing the touch technique, you’re also shifting your own neurobiology. So there’s a mutual benefit.
Nursing can be very stressful. In the nursing environment there have been documented cases of nurses who have stolen narcotics to cope with their own stress. I worked with a nurse who did this. Sometimes nurses have substance abuse issues themselves. If you employed this technique all day long you would be self-medicating in a natural way. What could be a better opportunity? It’s a win for you, it’s a win for the patient. So, you both could be doing this all day long.
H: I was speaking to another Havening practitioner, a psychologist who works with chronic complex-PTSD patients, and one of the things that she said is the most powerful for clinicians who would be interested in Havening is that fact that when you haven all day you don’t take on any of the client’s stress.
Very often nurses or counselors or social workers feel exhausted at the end of the day because they’ve dealt with people who are in such intense physical or emotional pain. And when you’re Havening all day, you don’t take it on. So you can have a day of working with people who are suffering greatly and having difficult times and when you walk out the door at the end of the day you still feel better than you did that morning. And you’ve helped all those people! This self-protective aspect of Havening is one of the most remarkable side benefits.
K: It is. Before I worked in nephrology, I worked in emergency room and trauma nursing. When I was working in trauma nursing we would be riding on the helicopter, going to a scene of whatever trauma had occurred and you’re going in there to save someone’s life. Very similar to what an Army or a Navy combat medic might do.
That’s why I know people can use some of the Havening Techniques® with policemen and also ambulance personnel and others in similar situations because what you see is quite shocking.
I think Havening should be part of the curriculum in nursing schools and emergency responder training, because you need to be able to self-heal or not take on that kind of work. It really impacts you to be in that environment every single day. It impacts you to deal with people who are dying. It impacts you to be with people who feel hopeless. You’re constantly exposed to suffering. In these traumatic situations, there’s no tool available to manage that vicarious trauma, and most people in that situation simply disconnect. How do you maintain a healthy sense of self without absorbing everything that you are exposed to? This is where Havening comes in.
H: It’s as though the Havening process inoculates you against the impact of the vicarious trauma that you’re witnessing.
K: It can. Sometimes when I’m exposed to something negative, I’ll just use a little Havening while I’m driving the car and rubbing my fingertips together. Within five minutes it’s gone. The negative experience doesn’t exist anymore. It’s no longer part of my realm.
K: It is remarkable. I love it. It is like your fairy godmother metaphor. I do use Havening everywhere - if the person is receptive to it, we’ll just spend five minutes, outside of what I’m doing within my work. I want to make you feel good. I want to keep you healthy in your environment. I care about you as a person. And it becomes a simple gift that I can give you.
H: Kimberly, since you attended this workshop in March 2016, which was eight months ago, how many people have you touched literally or figuratively with Havening? Do you have an estimate of the number?
K: 329! I have a ticker sheet.
H: Wow! You’ve probably set a record there in terms of the greatest number of people reached within a few months of the training. That is beautiful.
K: 329. I have the actual hashmarks. It was a distraction to my work as well because I asked myself, ”What could be fun in this environment?" and then I started putting hashmarks on my calendar. And then I started thinking, ‘I’m going to four places, can I haven five or six people today’? And it was a fun activity to do along with everything else. I just get absolutely giddy about Havening.
H: Do you have a goal for reaching a specific number by the end of the year? 400, 500?
K: I didn't really set a goal to the end of the year. I just wanted to continue the momentum and consider that I could be touching five, six, seven, eight people a day.
H: Fabulous. I think we need to inspire everybody in the Havening community to do that. Imagine all of those hands touching all those other people all over the world. I’m just imagining the fairy dust spreading all over the planet.
K: If you have the rapport, you can touch anyone.
H: That’s true. And you can touch them in many ways. You’re touching them with your hands, but you’re also touching them with your heart. And I think that’s also one of the beautiful things about Havening; it combines the head - intellectual knowledge, the heart - love and caring, and the hands - touch - all together. Any final comments you’d like to share for those who will be reading what we’ve shared today?
K: I would say to other people that hopefully my experience and what I’ve shared here leads you to take a look at Havening. I think that we are on the brink of something amazing for many people and all over the world. And I would highly encourage people to do it because of my experience. I know how much it’s changed my life and how I can be of service to other people in my mission. So I would highly recommend Havening. Learning and using it can be a life-changing experience.
H: Thank you.