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NOVEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 2019

Seeing Miracles Every Day

Chapter 23 of Fifteen Minutes to Freedom

Interview with Donna Ryen

Donna Ryen is Veterans-Havening Chair for the United States and maintains a private coaching practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Harry: Donna, how did you discover Havening in the first place?

Donna: A colleague in the UK, who is a therapist and coach was familiar with Dr. Ruden’s work.


H: Who are your typical clients?


D: My clients vary. I have worked for about 25 years as a corporate coach and life coach. I have an office here in Ann Arbor, working with various and quite diverse individuals and professional groups that are interested in Havening. So clients span from individuals seeking personal change to mental health professionals who are open to learning new techniques and business executives working with their teams.


H: Since you’ve learned about Havening, how has it shifted or transformed the work that you do?


D: As a coach, I’ve used, and still use, many different models for facilitating change in the people who come to work with me but Havening has become the core of my practice now. I’ve trained in TFT, EFT, NLP, and other modalities but, in my opinion, there hasn’t been anything as elegant as Havening transforming the unconscious often negative, emotional drivers people are struggling with. We can work on metaphorical, behavioral, psychological, practical levels, but there’s always that emotional piece that can remain as a strong, unconscious driver for the individual.

So once the emotional/neurochemical responses shift through Havening, clients can experience a real change, make new choices and attract those things they’ve been wanting in their lives more effectively. This, in turn influences the client’s fundamental ability to act from a more authentic sense of self and move toward a more productive future.


H: Yes. That’s really interesting. Adam Vane, one of our colleagues who’s an executive coach, talks about the distinction between outside-in and inside-out coaching, and how so many of the models are based on an outside-in approach. And Havening is one of these tools that allows you to really change things from the inside-out.


D: Yes. Adam is wonderful. That’s always been my approach as well, I call it ‘Leadership from the Core.’ However, when you interview a lot of business leaders, their focus is how to change employee behavior by imposing rules from the outside without the consideration of what it really takes to change individuals, cultures and organizations.  Corporate structure and expectations are important, but if you have a block inside yourself, it’s very difficult.


H: What do you like most about Havening?


D: I see myself as a facilitator of the client’s self-healing and staying present with them as they release long-held beliefs and memories is incredibly exciting and rewarding. I’m literally watching the rewiring of their personal story and it’s the science of it that makes all the difference. Having insight and understanding of the neurological functioning that keeps people circling around the same issues means we can go deeper faster and the impact is greater. With this work, we break the cycle. For good. It’s a creative process, it’s about listening deeply and guiding, but it’s backed up by this incredible scientific insight into the brain and how it works.


H: Yes. Whether you’re facilitating the Havening touch, or whether they’re self-facilitating, it does tend to bring you really into the present moment. You can’t drift or go anywhere else.


D: When I’m teaching Havening, I often discuss the PC’S: Practitioner Preparation, Client-Centric and Safe Space.  Before a practitioner engages with a client, they should ask themselves: Are you physically and emotionally well enough to see a client? Can you stay client-centric, putting their needs first for the whole session? Can you create a safe or sacred space to help facilitate a deep and far-reaching process?


H: Yes. When you think about all of the different tools and techniques and interventions and everything that you’ve learned in a quarter century of coaching and empowering people from different walks of life, what place does Havening currently occupy in that larger repertoire? Is it one of your primary go-to tools? Do you work with Havening with most clients? What role does it play in the larger picture?


D: It plays a major role, more and more. Other techniques began falling away, and Havening came more to the forefront of my practice. And it’s something that you integrate, as well. So, it’s not that I don’t use my coaching skills. But Havening is integrated into the majority of everything that I do.


H: This is something I am hearing over and over again. Whether the person starts out as a coach, or a psychologist, or a counselor, or whatever their focus, once they begin to integrate and use havening and really understand its power, it becomes one of their top three modalities or tools.


D: Yes, absolutely. It’s up there. It’s not that I don’t use other things, but it’s definitely in the top. I remember when I put on my first Havening training here in Ann Arbor, one psychologist said to me, “I’m getting used to seeing miracles every day.” And for me, that’s really was such a key phrase. Another one said, “This is the missing link. This is what I’ve been looking for to help people change,” and I thought, yeah, I agree.


H: I love that. Seeing miracles every day. What are some of the most remarkable things you’ve seen and experienced in your own application of Havening, either with your clients, or in your personal journey?


D: I’ve seen dramatic change happen, but in an integrated way. That is what is so key. It’s not like the client has a quick and temporary high, feeling good and then two weeks later they’re depressed. One client came to me to work on issues in attracting more money and getting a business off the ground. She was continually broke and fearful about making money. In one session, we ended up uncovering a traumatic event with a life-threatening link to money issues. After clearing the trauma through Havening, I was able to coach her on setting up a successful career and her business is thriving today. It’s jaw-dropping to witness sometimes. And as facilitator, you walk away changed by that, as well. What’s most incredible to me is how people are able to clear issues they’ve been working on for years and years.


It amazes me how creative people are, how we share a fundamental drive toward wellness. So often what people will come up with themselves to solve the problem is far better than I could ever interject or think of. That’s a beautiful thing to see.


H: Yes. I love that, when the client has that look on their face and their own answer comes, and it’s a far superior answer than I would have ever been able to give them, because it’s right for them, bubbling up from their own inner wisdom.


D: When I was going through my certification, I called up Dr. Ruden. I had worked successfully with my first 20 clients, and on the 21st, I was puzzled, because the client didn’t change in the first session.


I asked, “What am I doing wrong? I mean, everybody else did really great. What happened?” It seems funny now, and of course that was a powerful experience. I found it important to communicate, as a trainer, the appreciation of pacing and readiness of the client. Of course, sometimes you don’t see immediate results. We joke about it now, but at the time, I was just getting very comfortable with things shifting in one session.


H: You get used to the miracles.


D: When you first learn the technique, you begin seeing things in a different way and you’re inclined to embrace the bigger picture of helping the world by letting everyone know about Havening because the results can be so remarkable. That’s just immediate impulse and you don’t want to come across selling something as ‘too good to be true’. And a remarkable as Havening is; being careful to communicate respectfully with your audience is and not making unrealistic promises. Having said that, I’m incredibly passionate about what is possible with this.


H: Many people are skeptical when they first hear about Havening. It sounds too good to be true. It also looks kind of silly. You’re touching your face, your arms, your palms. You’re counting from 20 to zero, humming a tune, and then, all of a sudden, your trauma goes away. So, were you skeptical at first? If so, what changed your mind?


D: I don’t think I was skeptical at first. I’ve used a broad range of different techniques over my career. So, I was more fascinated with learning and testing. I was definitely curious about whether the change could be permanent and really last. So, if there was any skepticism, it would be not that an immediate change couldn’t happen, but that the change would really last.


H: Yes. You are also a trainer. What have you discovered as you’ve been spreading the word about Havening within the professional community? How are people responding? What are you noticing?


D: People respond much the same way as I did. They are very excited to learn any methods that will help them further their understanding and results. As a trainer, I can reach out to groups of people or professionals who have overlapping concerns with clients. For example, I just gave an introduction to a group of nurses from the Healing Touch Community. I’ll be speaking in another week with a local practice of ten psychologists who are excited and interested in learning more about Havening.


I initially present Havening as an add-on technique to what they’re already skilled at doing with the idea of enhancing or deepening their results. More often than not, Havening will become an invaluable resource in their tool-kit. For me, it went to the forefront. For others, maybe it will remain more of a powerful adjunct.


H: How do you see Havening impacting the future of coaching, of mental health practice, of healthcare, and so forth, in the future? Ten, twenty years from now, what do you see happening?


D: Well, I have my ideal, personal vision that as Havening grows and that more and more people become familiar with it, that it’s widely accepted into, not just the alternative community, but also the mainstream mental health community. In time, studies more will be available that prove its effectiveness to a less receptive mainstream audience. As we know, there is suffering worldwide from events in the past that negatively affect so many aspects of our lives.  And when you find something like Havening that is so effective with a relatively small downside risk, you can help so many people. But, I believe it represents a radical shift in how we think about healing.


And don’t forget, there’s much we’re still learning about Havening. Collectively, we’re learning from one another and the body of knowledge is being broadened. There’s still more to learn and understand about how the brain works.

H: Yes. And I think there’s a place for that wildly expansive vision as well as the realistic pragmatism. My dream is Havening for humanity. Where every human being from cradle to grave has access to the tools both for themselves and for others.


D: In the most basic sense, Havening has been biologically with us from the cradle. We comfort ourselves with touch, we rub our foreheads when we’re worried, we comfort our children with soothing hugs. Now we begin to understanding more deeply and scientifically how important sensory input our health and well-being. So Havening humanity and reminding people of the God-given gift that we already have these tools as part of our natural biology and now we can expand this to help our mind-body and brain connection .


H: Yes. One of the ways that I talk about it is that Havening integrates these three elements that are commonplace on their own, but haven’t been integrated in a specific way. There’s the element of touch. There’s the element of focused attention. There’s the element of imagination. And all of these are innate to who we are as human beings and there are tools and techniques in each area. There’s Reiki or healing touch or massage for touch. There’s meditation and mindfulness for focused attention and there are also so many creative imagination tools. But it’s Dr. Ruden’s unique synthesis of these three for the purpose of healing emotional and physical pain that is groundbreaking.


D: Well said; exactly spot on.


H: I was speaking to a practitioner earlier today who had a conversation with a prenatal nurse who had attended a

Havening intro. The nurse told her that she had observed babies, preemies, using three areas for self-soothing: the face, the arms, and the palms. How much more evidence do we need that this kind of touch is absolutely primal? I mean, imagine a tiny, little premature baby intuitively, reflexively soothing themselves through touching their face, the sides of their arms, and their palms.


D: Yes. Brilliant.


H: What advice, Donna, would you give somebody who is—maybe they’re a coach, maybe they’re a pastor or a counselor, maybe they’re a therapist, maybe they’re a nurse, maybe they’re a doctor, — who is just looking into the possibility of Havening and adding it to their toolkit? What would you say to them?


D: I’m not sure about advice, I may say or ask - Have you ever worked with people who seem to be repetitively triggered by a particular stimulus and pattern that doesn’t change? Who have undesirable beliefs, emotions and behaviors that leave your clients feeling hopeless? How would it be for you to gain an understanding and technique that is consistently effective in these areas? Imagine giving them a tool that they can use with themselves, when stress and trauma arises to prevent undesired outcomes and strengthen resilience ? It’s all possible.

H: Thank you, Donna.

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