ACCREDITED TRAINING IN THE
NOVEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 2019
THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE
Chapter 25 of Fifteen Minutes to Freedom
Interview with Ira Scott
Ira Scott is a Social Emotional Life Coach and
founder of LEAN INTO LIFE ™ Inc., based on Long Island, NY.
Harry: Ira, how did you first discover Havening?
Ira: It’s an interesting story. I was in the corporate world for fifteen years. When the market imploded in 2008, it was time to make a decision in terms of what I wanted to do.
I decided, instead of chasing after the next big commission check, that I would pursue something that I have a passion for. For many years, I felt a life calling to help people, to do something that was more psychology-based. I also had an interest in self-realization and human behavior. I had studied NLP on my own, then decided to formally train in NLP, hypnosis, Strategic Intervention and other modalities.
So, my dentist of over thirty years knew what I was doing and knew about some of the changes in my life. He used to drop hints that one day we might be working together. That always confused me because I had no plans to go to dental school. Little did I know what was going on behind the scenes! Lo and behold, Dr. Steven Ruden later would tell me and share with me about what is now referred to as the Havening Techniques.
H: So Steven Ruden was your dentist?
I: Yes. He invited me to a very small group presentation on Long Island, out near where his dental office is.
H: So this was before he and his brother led the training in London and formally introduced it to the world.
I: That’s correct. There were maybe ten people there. I attended and met his brother for the first time. Steve Ruden did a demo with Kris Murphy who is now, as you know, a certified Havening practitioner. The transformation I witnessed was just unbelievable. From there I became really curious to understand more about it, in particular how and why it worked. I’m the why guy; I’m very analytical. I want to know the why behind the what.
Then in the Fall of 2013, I attended my first formal two-day training in New York City. Ron, Steve and Paul McKenna were there. I became a certified practitioner in the summer of 2014 and a certified trainer in the summer of 2015.
H: Who are your typical clients?
I: There really is no typical client. I don’t limit myself by having a certain demographic that I target because I think that ultimately if we follow an orthodoxy, we limit who we can help. I once heard Tony Robbins say that whenever he runs into a therapist or a coach who says that they have a very difficult client what he’s really hearing is a coach or a therapist who has run up against their own limitations.
H: So you serve a wide range of people.
H: How has learning and using Havening transformed your practice?
I: It has expanded it. It’s another modality, another tool, another resource. It is very rare that I will start a client with Havening. Yet, I almost always end with it.
H: You mean in a single session or in a series of sessions?
I: In a series of sessions. I would say with probably seventy-five to eighty percent of my clients, I end up using Havening at some point.
H: So considering you have this really wide range of tools at your disposal, why and how do you specifically integrate Havening? What purpose does it serve within the larger context of your practice?
I: I’m trained in NLP, Strategic Intervention and Neo-Ericksonian Hypnosis, based on the work of Milton Erickson. It involves indirect suggestion and conversational hypnosis. Havening as a bolt-on has been very useful. It reinforces the work that I’m already doing.
H: A bolt on to the other tools that you already use.
I: Right. Also vice versa. When I’m working with clients (we don’t do this in trainings because we want to keep the process pure and clean, sticking to the protocols) within the Havening process, I may integrate conversational hypnosis. Or I may integrate some aspects of NLP into the Havening process which also makes it, in my opinion even more powerful. So it works both ways.
H: In terms of this kind of integration, I really appreciate how powerful Havening, either self-havening or facilitated Havening, can be in evoking that state that you might define as trance or deep relaxation or greater receptivity to whatever else you want to do. Whether or not you’re using Event Havening or one of the other Havening protocols, the touch alone is a powerful tool for state elicitation.
I: Yes, absolutely. I teach my clients to self haven and also invite them to devote five to ten minutes to Affirmational Havening. I think the other types of Havening are better experienced with a skilled practitioner.
Ideally, this will be the first thing they do in the morning when they wake up and the last thing they do before their head hits the pillow, instead of watching the TV or news. People report great results from that.
H: So many people are skeptical when they first hear about Havening. You were introduced to it in an interesting way from someone you knew for a long time. Were you skeptical at first and if so what changed your mind?
I: I don’t think I was skeptical. I approach life with an open mind and an open heart. I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Ruden and thought if this is something that he wants me to witness and potentially be a part of, I should take a look at it.
I understand the skepticism of others, though. It almost seems like you can’t believe it unless you witness it for yourself. I understand that, because there have been so many miracles within Havening so many stories that have been told about how people’s lives have been transformed in just one session.
But for me, initially, I just had an open mind and open heart, loved what I saw and was hungry for more.
H: Any Havening stories you’d care to share?
I: Yes. More often than not the presenting problem is not the problem. It’s typically a symptom of something else. Here’s an example. This happened at a Havening intro at a wellness center on Long Island, with maybe ten people attending.
I did an intro to Havening, a bit of the history, a bit of the science and then asked for a volunteer to do a demo. Of course, I also mentioned that we can do this content free (another great attribute of Havening). The woman who volunteered was very eager. She sat down and I asked what was it that she wanted to work on.
She said, “I have this behavioral issue that I really need help with.” For her it was what she called procrastination. She also seemed to imply that she would prefer to work content free.
I asked some questions, including asking her how long has this been going on. She said, “my whole life.” She’s probably in her fifties, and I’m in rapport with her, so I exaggerated her response. I said, “Your whole life! Really, you mean, from the moment you were born, you’ve been procrastinating? Oh my god; that’s amazing.” That did two things. It changed her state because she started laughing. It also was a pattern interrupt, interrupting the story she was telling herself, because of course she had not been procrastinating for her whole life.
After the laughter died down, I said, “Seriously, take a moment and think about when it started in your life.” “When I was sixteen.” “Okay. I know you want to go content free and that’s absolutely fine. So tell me as much as you are willing or want to share as to what occurred when you were sixteen.”
She took a few minutes to come up with an answer; I actually think she was thinking of a way to say it without directly saying it. Her answer was, “When I was sixteen there was something I wanted and needed to talk about, and my mother said no.” Now I have a specific event.
I did Event Havening on her mom saying no to her at sixteen. Her physiology completely shifted. By the time we were done, she was in a relaxed state. She looked completely different. When we came back to the whole procrastination issue, it was almost as if that word had no meaning to her.
Afterwards, everyone left except for this woman and the person who owns the wellness center. We were talking amongst ourselves, and very matter-of-factly she comes out and says, “When I was a child I was abused.” Of course, that was ultimately what she wanted to talk about when she was sixteen and she wasn’t allowed to.
What is so interesting about this case is that not only did we de-encode a trauma from childhood, which enabled her to talk about something she’d been wanting to talk about for forty years, we also shifted her “behavioral problem.”
What’s really interesting is when she first volunteered, sat down and talked about this thing called procrastination, she had no clue (in her conscious awareness) that her procrastination as an adult had anything to do with something that happened to her in childhood.
That insight only came out through the Havening process and it was because she subconsciously was afraid. She lived in this fear that if she did something wrong, she would experience pain. Her past experience and current ‘problem’ were connected, but she had no conscious awareness of the connection.
With Havening we learn to listen both for what’s being said and for what’s not being said. We pay attention. We develop the sensory acuity to notice if what the person is saying is congruent with their physiology. We also consider that whatever they’re presenting as a problem likely is a symptom of something else.
H: I love that story because it illuminates something I’ve noticed, as I’ve learned about Havening, worked with more and more clients, and refined my capacity for history taking. I start to see so-called problems and behaviors very differently than I did before. I’m automatically looking for that traumatically encoded memory or that event or that other experience in the past that’s showing up in the present in a way that’s most likely completely unconscious to the person. They don’t know where it came from, but they have this pattern of behavior that doesn’t serve them. And for me, this ability to help a person liberate themselves from such a pattern is one of the greatest things on Earth.
Any other stories or cases that you’d like to share?
I: Yes. This next story also took place at an intro, in New York City. We had a small group of five or six, and we’re up on the third floor of a building - by New York City standards not very high up.
We cover a little bit of the history of Havening, a bit of the science and it’s time for a demo.I was actually with a fellow trainer, Doug O’Bryen, and when we do intros we generally take turns doing the demo. This night it was my turn.
A woman volunteered. Her issue was claustrophobia. She said, “I have to be in a room with windows.” Luckily, we were. She said, “I can’t go in an elevator, I don’t like confined spaces.” So subways were also out of the question.
Before I continue the story, a bit of an aside. One of my trainers years ago said that in therapy and coaching work, it is best to remain as deductive as possible throughout the process. Only go inductive when absolutely necessary and if the client is stuck. And, if you are going to go inductive, to always do it in the form of a question.
One thing I tend to see with people in the therapeutic world is that they can tend to go inductive and they’re doing it in the form of statements, introducing their own beliefs, their own values, their own opinions. Obviously, they can be way off base.
With this in mind, I stay deductive as best I can when I work with clients. However, on this particular night, I violated my own rule. In the back of my mind, as she was explaining her story of claustrophobia, I heard the voice of Dr. Steven Ruden say that often times people who experience claustrophobia have had drowning experiences.
So I went inductive in the form of a statement. I looked at her and said, “So, tell me about the time in your life when you almost drowned.” She burst into tears, looked at me and could barely speak. I got her a Kleenex, calming her down and staying connected with her.
She was awestruck and looked at me, through her tears, saying, “How do you know about that?” I said, “Some very good training” (chuckles). And that also added humor and changed her state a bit.
Then she told her story. When she was seven years old, she was at the beach with her dad. Her dad would pick her up as a little kid, walk out into the ocean waves and swing her through the water. There was a moment when he dropped her, and she went under the water. She wasn’t tall enough to be able to stand so the water was over her head. He was searching to grab her and pick her up, but in that brief moment she was traumatized.
So we did event Havening on this incident that happened forty-five plus years ago. When we were done, her physiology had shifted and she was in a relaxed state. When she went back and revisited that memory, it was like just another day at the beach. It didn’t have the emotional charge any more. The best part of the story - when we left, she actually went down in the elevator.
H: The symptom of claustrophobia had been healed at the root.
I: That’s right.
H: I think that’s the value of Dr. Ruden’s emphasis on understanding the science behind traumatic encoding. The science behind unconditioned threat stimuli. The science behind how the amygdala fight/flight/freeze system works in the first place. When you understand this, it gives you a kind of X-Ray vision. It allows me to see things that I otherwise wouldn’t see as a result of it.
I: Absolutely. One more point. We were only on the third floor, but when she arrived she walked upstairs. When she left she took the elevator and said, “I don’t even remember the list time I was in an elevator.”
H: It’s tough to be claustrophobic - especially in Manhattan!
H: Let’s talk about the issue of touch. It hasn’t been standard practice in the United States to use touch in this way. Any issues around that?
I: No. We discuss it. By the time we get to that conversation we’re already in rapport and there’s already a certain level of comfort with the client. When I first meet and start working with somebody, ultimately it’s about creating rapport and establishing trust. So when I get to Havening, we just have an open discussion about it . We discuss the fact that this technique does involve touch. I explain to them that I can apply the touch or you can apply the touch yourself. I demonstrate on myself what the touch involves so they can see it’s non-threatening. We’re simply using the face, the arms, and the palms of the hands.
In the hundreds upon hundreds of people I’ve worked with, I have only ever had one person who said that they would prefer to apply the touch themselves. So we went forward with them self-havening and it was very effective and got the results.
H: Any other reflections on this issue of touch?
I: Yes. At its core, Havening is bringing to the therapeutic community this element of touch that is so fundamental to our well-being.A newborn baby has to be physically stimulated - touched — in order to live. We all know that if a newborn child is not physically stimulated the child will not survive, the child will die. This need to be touched is hard wired at birth.
H: I think it’s beautiful how this technique has been developed based on solid science that reinforces what human beings do naturally.
How do you see Havening impacting the world in the next decade or two?
I: I think as it grows and expands and more and more people become aware of it, it’s going to take on a greater role in the therapeutic community. I think we’ll be moving away from the dominant medical model, because we both know, for the most part, pharmaceuticals are a band-aid. You put somebody on medications. They have all different side effects, some of which can be life threatening. And, frankly, you’re managing symptoms and you never get to the root.
That’s what I love about everything that I’m trained in, because whether it’s NLP, hypnosis, Strategic Intervention and of course Havening, it’s not symptom management, it’s getting to the core cause, it’s getting to the root of the issue and dealing with that, and then the symptoms go away on their own.
As Havening becomes more mainstream, which it will over time, I think there will be less emphasis on drugs and people will begin to realize that there’s a better way. And we’ll be able to more readily get people the help that they truly need that really serves them.
H: What are you noticing as you’re spreading the word about Havening within the professional community of therapists and coaches and others? How are people responding?
I: In the therapeutic community, I think that you’re going to come across people who were like me in the beginning. They have an open mind, they have an open heart, they’re curious.
I think if you can just get people curious and get them exposed to it, Havening will speak for itself. And for those that are resistant, I think that they will come around in their own time. They may have a set of beliefs that limit their ability to be open to the possibility of something so seemingly miraculous. With those people, I’m very gentle in my approach. I don’t really attempt to force things on people; I think that people figure it out in their own time, their own space and their own way when they’re ready.
H: I think it’s clear that many of the folks who are engaged in Havening right now are people who are open minded, curious, early adopters. Particularly because it hasn’t been around for so long. Anything else you’re noticing as you’re conducting trainings and you’re sharing this tool with people who will use it to serve others?
I: The people who attend are people who have embraced the idea of something that can help them get results with their clients. They’re curious by nature and they really want to have an additional tool to be able to help their clients and get the results.
It’s ultimately all about getting results and impacting people’s lives. What’s even more valuable is that when you hear these amazing success stories and it seems like you’ve changed a life, the fact of the matter is that we haven’t just changed a life, we’ve changed many lives. This person has family, they may have siblings, they have parents, they may have kids, they may have a spouse, they have friends, they have neighbors, they have co-workers, they have bosses.
It’s the ripple effect. Others will experience transformation because this one person’s been transformed. That’s often overlooked. So the reach to one is ultimately the reach to many. That’s another amazing feature of something like Havening.
H: What advice would you give somebody who’s looking into the possibility of taking the training and adding Havening Techniques to their tool kit?
I: Do it. One of the greatest ways we learn is by experience. That’s also something that’s different with Havening: it goes beyond talk therapy. In my coaching work, I don’t give people advice. What I do is I get them out of their own way. I get them to the place where they realize they don’t really need me. Often it’s about assisting them to have the experience of discovering their own answer. The same applies with Havening.
If someone was considering taking the training, I would give them a Havening session so that they could actually experience it within their own life and feel the power of it. Because ultimately, and I don’t like to use the word sell, but for the lack of a better word, it sells itself.
H: Thank you so much. As we’re talking, I’m having this visceral sense of this ripple effect, one person touching another, touching another, until we one heart at a time help to heal the heart of this world.