ACCREDITED TRAINING IN THE
NOVEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 2019
VIGILANCE, VETERANS, AND "VOODOO"
Chapter 13 of Fifteen Minutes to Freedom
Interview with Malika Stephenson
Malika Stephenson is owner of Positive Change Work, International Veteran’s Coordinator for Havening Techniques®, and developer of Colour Havening.
Harry: Malika, how did you first discover Havening?
Malika: I’d had chronic Lyme disease. I was bed-bound for a number of months, and disabled for a number of years. I lost my hair. On a physical level I couldn’t speak or talk. It was a horrendous time in my life and I had to find the resolve to find a way through it because the doctors in the UK were not able to help me.
Part of the journey to restore my health was to realize I needed to let go of a lot of things. As I came out of the chronic phase of the illness, I experienced my own variant of post-traumatic stress, becoming hypervigilant about my health. I started to become preoccupied and worried that my Lyme disease was coming back. I became extremely frightened and was in a state of lockdown terror.
I’d seen some Havening videos with Paul McKenna. So I havened myself. I hadn’t been taught any specific protocol; I just copied what Paul McKenna did. The terror lifted.
This was a real defining moment for me. I wrote about it on Facebook and sent a friend request to Ron and Steve Ruden. And shortly afterwards I went to the training in 2013. That was my journey.
H: Thank you. Tell me about your current work — who do you serve?
M: I have three jobs. I have my private client work where I do incorporate Havening; I see veterans in that practice. With my private clients I work particularly with PTSD or PTSI. There’s some controversy at the moment about the terminology for it, describing is as an injury, not as a disorder. Although symptomatically we’re talking about pretty much the same thing.
Second, I’m a senior social worker, working directly with the military on base. I haven’t introduced Havening in this context yet. I’m seeking permission, which takes some time. I’m also waiting for the next clinical research to be published in the UK, research involving 20 veterans I worked with who experienced Havening.
Third, I train people, not in Havening, but in other techniques that blend with Havening.
I’m also the Veteran’s Coordinator for Havening and I’ve appointed two chairs, Donna Ryen in the USA and Louise Carmi in the UK.
H: Why do you choose to use Havening Techniques? What specific benefits do they offer your clients?
M: Havening is swift and I believe if you know what you’re doing it’s really an all-encompassing therapy that can really reach the heart of people’s issues.
For some people it facilitates an instant shift; for others it takes a while. I believe the process is so acute on various levels, creating biological, neurological, psychological, physiological changes that can take time to process and adjust to.
H: What place does Havening occupy in your full array of tools and interventions in helping your clients heal?
M: I would say Havening is one of the top three in my tool kit. I’m trained in so many different modalities and it’s become my go to along with a couple of other things, depending on what we’re working on at the time.
I tend to get very extreme cases of PTSD and trauma, for example, people who have been stalked for years.
I also tend to get professionals that work in the field, often who are dealing with very confidential and difficult issues, who know that I do and have developed a particular form of Havening myself using color. In working this way, we don’t activate the traumatic memory in the standard manner, and I also don’t actually need to know what the issue is. It’s very confidential on many different levels.
Havening is one of my most essential tools these days.
H: I think that’s significant. With all of the modalities you’ve been trained in, Havening occupies a pretty major role in your work, especially with those patients who are experiencing high levels of stress and trauma.
M: Absolutely. Havening allows people to process and build their own resilience and find their own solutions.
H: Malika, most people are skeptical when they first hear about Havening because the possibilities seem too good to be true. They are skeptical that things can actually change so fast — and permanently, where the problem or issue does not not come back. Were you skeptical at first? If so, what changed your mind?
M: No, I wasn’t skeptical at all. I’m a bit of a believer that once you start seeking then things come to you and you find what you need. Once I used Havening for myself to release the fear associated with my illness, I knew there was something there.
I’m like most people. I like to see what a process is and what it does for myself before I try it on anyone else. And it was successful. If it was successful for me and I didn’t really know what I was doing, then there must be something to it!
H: And what a gift to the world that you discovered Havening. It helped you heal and now you’re well and sharing and helping so many other people change their lives. That’s beautiful.
M: Thank you.
H: What was most difficult for you as you integrated Havening into your work with your clients? Any challenges there?
M: I had to get over being looked at in a very strange way when I’m starting to describe it! And even that kind of reaction became an aid to spreading the word, because the veterans that I work with, and please pardon the expression, they call Havening “voodoo sh*t”. And that’s how the word has gotten around, particularly in veterans circles.
We can talk about the science. We can talk about how it works. But they don’t want to know. They just say to each other, ‘this voodoo sh*t works, have a go’. Even some of the veterans got t-shirts printed with “Havening, it’s voodoo sh*t.” on them.
H: How about the issue of touch? Here in the United States, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, and social workers are not supposed to touch clients. How do you discuss this? Do you have them self-haven? Do you facilitate the touch?
M: I usually just facilitate self-havening because then you’re giving them tools to do it anyway. I find that it’s easier, because we’re attempting to get people to suspend their disbelief on so many levels.
I’ve been a social worker for about 17 years now and I’ve worked in many different specialized fields. Some of the issues I’ve worked with have been around child protection. Here in the UK, we are now having once again huge investigations going on about child abuse, particularly from people in places of trust.
So I believe the way forward is facilitated self-havening. And it’s less taxing on me, physically.
H: Yes, and it works.
M: It does.
H: What are some of the most remarkable things you’ve seen and discovered in your application of Havening with your clients?
M: There are many. Clients have freed themselves from chronic issues that have dogged them for years, things they just could not get rid of. Afterwards, it’s wonderful to see the delight on people’s faces when they check in on themselves and they’re free from whatever it is. Whether it’s fear, phobia, belief systems that prevented action, or pain, physical pain diminishing quite rapidly and swiftly, people are quite incredulous.
And you can see the lifting, visually, on the clients’ faces; they’re free of whatever it is that was their issue. It’s giving people their lives back. I’ve also done demonstrations in front of people and observed the audience’s shock at the swiftness of the shift.
H: Yes. It’s inspiring to observe that process when they release the pain, when they become more present, when their faces light up, when they look around with that quizzical look that this burden is actually gone. It may have been something that they held for 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years.
Any specific stories that you’d like to share?
M: Where to start? Many! I’ve been able to help veterans become free of their PTSD in a very swift amount of time, so that they are able to think clearly and with clarity, without fear. I see them becoming more calm and being able to then start to tackle other behaviors that are what I would describe as painkilling, like over drinking or over medicating. I’ve observed their pain diminishing, going away. That in itself gives people space to think and plan and move forward.
I’ve worked with some quite elderly members of the community who were dealing with chronic pain under the chronic pain clinic health service. I’ve seen their pain that they would describe as agonizing, rating it a thousand out of ten in agony on the scale, reducing significantly.
I’ve seen a patient with chronic rheumatoid arthritis actually un-stiffen within an hour after Havening. This is someone who had to use two walking sticks because they were unable to walk. Afterwards, they are pain free, not having to use the aid of the walking stick, with the nurses and doctors that treat them being absolutely incredulous.
There’s so many. People who are suicidal starting to plan the future. People looking significantly younger, finally and completely released from their emotional burdens. People who have lost loved ones being able to recall their loved ones with love and clarity and smiling and laughter, not being in the overwhelm of grief. There are a thousand stories I could tell you, Harry. There have been so many.
H: What advice would you give someone, it could be a counselor, therapist, a professional or a coach or parent or teacher, somebody who’s looking into the possibility of adding Havening Techniques® to their own tools. What advice would you give them?
M: I would say that I would research who the trainers are and find out and specifically if that trainer has a background that interests you. Research the training, have a look. And, have a go at Self-havening! See where you get.
H: Thank you.