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NOVEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 2019

Helping People Create the Lives the Desire and Deserve

Chapter 4 of Fifteen Minutes to Freedom

Interview with Eugenia E. Karahalias

Eugenia Karahalias is s Licensed Clinical Social Worker and healing arts practitioner in private practice in Suffolk County, NewYork.

Harry: Eugenia, how did you first discover Havening?

Eugenia: Through a colleague, Bill Solz. Bill was passionate and excited about it. He’s a social worker, like me, who I’ve known for several years. We travel in a lot of the same circles and sit on clinical committees together. I saw him do a couple of demonstrations and he invited me to his office for a more thorough explanation of how Havening worked. I was hooked immediately.

H: You’re a social worker but you’re also use a number of complimentary modalities. Tell me about some of those other modalities and how you integrate them into your work.


E: I am trained in Hypnotherapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Energy/Emotional Balancing, Havening Technique® and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). I am a Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner and Magnified Healing Teacher and Practitioner. I use these different modalities and techniques in addition to psychotherapy to assist individuals in removing blocks so that they can unleash their full potential. 

H: Who are your typical clients? Do you have a specialty?


E: I work with clients from adolescence to mature adults and from all backgrounds. I specialize in the treatment of addictions, anxiety, bereavement, depression, improving performance, PTSD, pain management, phobias, relaxation & stress release. This includes a lot of trauma work. I find that I am seeing younger and younger clients who are dealing with trauma related anxiety. I’m also a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor and have worked in this area for about 20 years. I find that the high rate of recidivism with substances is because they are using drugs and alcohol in order to escape the trauma from their earlier years. When these individuals stop using, the trauma is right back in their face again. So you have to address that. You have to help these folks so that they don’t continue to go back to drugs and alcohol to escape.

H: I was just in a conversation earlier today with a group of people who work with new young mothers in recovery from some kind of addiction. We were discussing how often the addiction is a way to escape the feelings stemming from the trauma. And only when you heal the trauma does the urge for the substance begin to fade. That’s your experience as well?


E: Yes, more often than not. I’m talking about the individuals who have a chronic relapse history. They just keep relapsing over and over again. I believe it’s a huge disservice to leave recovering addicts in such a vulnerable state.  Better to address the core issues behind their substance abuse.  That’s an area where the Havening Techniques® can be utilized for a much greater outcome.


H: That makes sense. Eugenia, many people are skeptical when they first hear about Havening because it seems too good to be true. Were you skeptical at first when Bill told you about it? If so, what changed your mind?


E: I wasn’t skeptical about the method or the science behind it. What I was skeptical about, if you can believe it, was the name Havening. Now I understand that Dr. Ruden is using it as a verb and it’s to create a safe environment, a safe haven, but initially the name put me off.  So I probably could’ve been involved with Havening a few months earlier, but it took time for me to get over my association with that word. And now, of course, I embrace it completely and I can’t think of any better way to help folks feel better. The results are tremendous.


H: I’m remembering that Dr. Ruden originally called it Amygdala Depotentiation Technique, which is a much more scientific term but not quite as simple or user friendly as Havening. Once you did experience Havening Techniques, why do you choose to use them so frequently since you have all these other tools at your disposal? What advantages does Havening offer your clients?


E: Many. First of all, the client is not re-traumatized as they’re going through the healing process by using Havening. You can also work with clients content free. And that’s what I love about it. The other thing that I like so much about it is that it’s quick, effective, and long lasting. I’m going to give you an example from my own life. Just recently, I was helping facilitate at the training in Vancouver that Dr. Steve Ruden led. He asked for a volunteer, somebody who had a phobia. I shot my hand up in the air and he chose me. I’ve had claustrophobia over the years, sometimes more intense than at other times. By the end of our 20 minutes of Havening it was completely eradicated. In the past I had used hypnotherapy and EMDR with some success. Havening was the one technique that eradicated it finally and completely. I love the other modalities and I continue to use them. But for some reason, it was Havening that completed the shift.


H: How has Havening transformed your practice? Do you use it with every client?


E: Just about. I would say in 95% of my case load, I use Havening. Another way that Havening has transformed my practice is that I am able, at the very first session, to teach my clients how to self haven. So now they go home with a tool that they can begin using immediately.


H: Yes. And you mentioned that you use Havening with 95% of your clients now. It’s become one of the most frequent tools you’ve used. I’ve heard that from almost everyone I’ve spoken to who has become a Havening practitioner, no matter where they started modality-wise. They may have started out as hypnotherapists, as trauma therapists, as psychologists or social workers or whatever, but they end up using Havening more and more often. I have a good friend, now a Havening practitioner who is one of the top EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioners in the US and she also now uses Havening almost exclusively. Why do you suppose that is?


E: Because it’s so quick. You know, we live in a quick fix society. People want to see immediate results. And you get immediate results from Havening.


H: That’s for sure. And although everything can’t be solved immediately, there’s nothing like walking in with a big problem that seems insurmountable, like you with your claustrophobia, and then 20 minutes, an hour later, you’re good to go. Or even if you’re not good to go you feel significantly better and you have a sense of possibility that you didn’t have before.


E: That’s correct.


H: Was anything particularly challenging for you as you integrated Havening into your own work?


E: Explaining the science, because the neuroscience is intricate, and I like to keep things simple. But the good news is that we have so many skilled and talented people who are a part of this Havening journey. And Tam Johnston is one of them.


H: Yes, I love her video — What Is Havening And How Does It Work? She helped all of us by creating that. I’m so grateful to her.

E: Absolutely. So when I see somebody for a first session, I do my in depth psychosocial interview and get a good history, plus I teach them a little bit of self-havening so they can start utilizing it for self-soothing and emotion regulation immediately. Then I send them home and I follow up with an e-mail so they can see some of these wonderful videos that our folks have come up with. In that way, they get a better understanding of it. Tam’s video is 20 minutes long, and so thorough. You could watch it a couple times and really get a great understanding about how Havening works. Then they come back and they’re ready to do the deeper work.


H: And do you find that them having the scientific understanding makes it easier for the client to do the work?


E: No, not necessarily. I don’t think that they need an in-depth scientific understanding. I do think it makes them feel a little bit more comfortable. I choose which clients would benefit from it. I deal with a lot of people in the medical field, so it’s nice for them to understand the science because they’re a nurse, they’re a doctor, they’re a physical therapist or an acupuncturist.

H: Thank you. As a clinical social worker with your own therapeutic training, what are your reflections on the use and issue of touch? It hasn’t been standard practice to use touch in this way with clients and patients. How do you discuss it? How do you introduce it? How do your clients respond?


E: I refrain from touch. It’s all self-administered.


H: Is that your preference or client preference? Your thoughts about that?


E: Well, I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York and it’s taboo to touch our clients and therefore I don’t. I will be doing Havening on myself (mirroring) as they’re doing Havening on themselves at the same time. And it works just as well.


H: What are some of the conditions you’ve been able to successfully address in your practice with Havening? You mentioned depression and anxiety earlier.


E: I’ve had several people come to me through no fault cases from automobile accidents who were really in a diminished capacity; very fearful of driving, very anxious and jumpy even as a passenger, if they were a driver during the accident. And Havening worked remarkably well in those cases. I've had much success with rape survivors. Early trauma from neglectful childhoods, adult children of alcoholics where there was a lot of chaos growing up in the family. A lot of healing resulted with those clients as well.


H: What are some of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as you’ve used the tool with your clients? Are there any case studies or stories or examples you’d like to share?


E: There are so many. I had five women in a row who came to me after their second motor vehicle accident. They were pretty much fine after the first one, but the second one was the straw that broke the camel's back. As a result, a lot of stuff surfaced from their childhoods and we were able to go back and address those events that were causing them to feel powerless and helpless. All five were very powerful women, professional women with high-powered careers, functioning at a very high level. When that second accident happened, it was as if the rug was pulled out from under them. They could not understand why they were crumbling. And that’s why Dr. Ruden always talks about doing a very thorough history taking, and this is exactly why it’s so important. In each of those cases we uncovered early childhood trauma. We went back, did the work, cleaned it up, and now these women are functioning well. They’re back out there living their lives.


H: That’s remarkable and encouraging. I remember Dr. Ruden discussing the importance of going back to the originating trauma. He said, “Everything downstream will get cleared, but until you get to that originating trauma, you’re not going to completely eliminate the problem.”


E: And it’s not just the big "T" traumas that we’re going after. It’s cumulative small "t" traumas that really have the deleterious impact on people’s spiritual, emotional, mental and psychological well-being. It’s the body, mind and spirit connection. You’ve got to be in alignment. I also think having a spiritual connection is very important. When you allow yourself the ability to become still, you connect to your higher source. You connect to your own higher self and to a universal collective consciousness. I think that spiritual piece is an integral component of Havening because Havening can soothe and calm you and allow you to be still so you can hear that inner voice.


H: So in your experience Havening becomes a tool, not only to assist in emotional healing and psychological development, but also a tool to clear out the fog that gets in the way of really listening to your inner wisdom.


E: Yes, exactly.


H: Eugenia, how about the impact of Havening on physical appearance and energy?


E: I remember being at a training and hearing Dr. Ron Ruden say it’s like an instant face lift (laughs). And I do see that with my clients. Wrinkles automatically disappear, along with the furrow between their brows. I have experienced seeing client’s faces relax so much, it’s like wiping 10 years away in just one session. That’s because the huge burden that they’ve been carrying has been lifted. And one after the other of my clients tell me, “I feel lighter, I feel lighter!” They say that over and over again. And it’s so wonderful to see that after they open their eyes, that their sparkle is back. They absolutely DO look younger!


H: That’s so true. I have on two or three occasions told clients after a session to get up and go look at themselves in a mirror. They come back and they’re astonished! They’re astonished because of the releasing of that cumulative stress or the stress of whatever incident they came in with. And then there is the soothing, calming power of touch, whether you’re administering it or the person is self-havening. Our body and brain is hardwired to respond to loving touch with relaxation and ease. And we’re enjoying this simple, soothing touch for up to an hour during a typical Havening session. It’s beautiful.


E: It certainly is…and most of the time it’s occurring in less than an hour.


H: Exactly. How do you see Havening impacting mental health practice, particularly in terms of trauma, 10 to 20 years in the future? We’re just in the infancy of this getting out into the world.


E: Well I see it becoming an evidence-based practice that will be insurance reimbursable down the road. With all the research that’s being accumulated now, I think we’re heading in the right direction. This could happen within the next five years or less.


H: Please say more about how Havening can be learned and used by people who are not counselors, therapists, psychologists, coaches. Tell me more about how regular people can use Havening or learn it to help themselves, like parents or teachers.


E: Well I think it’s similar to the way people are going into schools now and teaching mindfulness to children. We want to teach children how to self-regulate their emotions and Havening is an excellent tool for this. I think this is probably the number one problem that we have here in the United States, the lack of self-regulation skills. What if we could start teaching kids how to skillfully regulate and manage their emotions at a young age? On a global level, everyone says, we want peace, we want peace. THIS is the way to achieve it.


H: Thank you. What advice would you give somebody who’s looking into the possibility of learning Havening?


E: I have a hypnotist friend on the West Coast. She’s also an NLP practitioner. I showed her a little bit of Havening. She sees that it works. She told me there was no way that she was taking any more trainings because she’s had it up to here with trainings. She also has a mentor that she’s studying under that takes up a lot of her schedule. No, no, no, no more trainings. I was on the phone last night with her. And guess what?


H: She decided to take the training?


E: She’ll be at the April training in New York. That’s what happens. Anybody who experiences Havening gets hooked. You’re hooked because you get immediate results. And my own passion when I’m speaking to people about it comes across. They see my face light up.


H: So your advice to somebody considering learning it is — ‘try it, you’ll see’?


E: Yes. It’s going to enhance their career, their business. I recently did a presentation for social workers who are in their Master’s program now or who have recently graduated. I told them you want learn tools that you can pass on to your clients that are going to help them heal and get out there to live the life that they deserve. I tell people who come into my office this all the time. I do not want to see you week after week, month after month, year after year. There are plenty of people out there hurting. Let’s make room for them to come in. I want you out there living the life that you desire and you deserve. And we’re going to help you get there in the most efficacious manner, the most non re-traumatizing manner, quickly, effectively, and permanently.


H: I love the way you put that — helping people live the life they desire and deserve. That’s a wonderful way for us to bring our conversation to an end for now. It’s always a delight to see you, to hear you, to collaborate with you. And thank you for shining your light so brightly and for sharing Havening with the world.

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