The Hakomi Method & Session
"Hakomi is a method for helping people change their way of being in the world through working with core material and changing core beliefs. It is a transformational method and it follows a general outline. First, we work to build a relationship which maximises safety and the cooperation of the unconscious. With that relationship, we help the client focus on and study how he or she organizes experience. Most behaviour is habit, automatically organised by core material. Thus, when we study the organization of experience, we are studying the influence of this core material. It is usually a simple step from that to direct contact with core feelings, beliefs and memories."
Ron Kurtz, Body Centred Psychotherapy , The Hakomi Method
Let us briefly look at the Hakomi Principles in order to understand the Hakomi session a little better....
- Loving Presence - The therapist practices in Loving Presence, this means they giving priority to being present and compassionate towards the client.
- Mindfulness - Hakomi is active in it's use of mindfulness . When staying in the here and now the client can pay attention to the flow of their experience in the session.
- Non Violence - Hakomi practitioners work with an attitude of acceptance and attention to the way the client's process naturally unfolds in the session. It helps the therapist to understand the client without interfering.
- Mind-Body Holism - the mind and the body interact and influence each other.The body manifests our core beliefs and how we see ourselves in the world.
- Unity - We are living organic systems that are integrally whole, made up of parts that are then a part of a larger system where interdependency exists on all levels.
- Organicity - This principal is about the natural unfolding of our inner experience within the session.
PLEASE NOTE THIS HAKOMI SESSION IS SET IN A TRAINING ENVIRONMENT HENCE THE OBSERVATION OF THE CLIENT
Did you notice the constant checking by the therapist around the client's sense of safety at the beginning and throughout the session? Did you get a sense of the Loving Presence of the therapist? The client had a 'felt sense' of tightness in her throat. This is the doorway to the core material. The client then notices something about speaking. The therapist reflects back and discusses experiments around how to move forward and refers to a choice point moment.
The therapist notices the client's tears and more information surfaces about speaking the truth and the voice being pushed down. The therapist observes more feelings coming up and the client recognises pushing her voice down to keep the peace. Core material has been accessed. Client experiences her core tightening and a flash of a felt sense of images of her ex-husband and parents. The therapist has become aware of the client repeating the word 'knowing' throughout the session and the client decides to work around her parents divorce when she was five years old. She experiences heavy energy now and begins to become upset and cries. She had no say or was never asked for her opinion. She wanted her parents to stay together. Her core and throat have a jagged quality and she experiences anger. The therapist facilitates her to get mad about that situation and re-experience with a voice. The client feels relieved and calmer and it feels good to be mad with her parents. It's interesting how the therapist begins to end the session about possibly there being more work to do and as she puts it "tags' future work. The client is no longer feeling angry and it "feels good to sit in here", and the therapist mentions that it feels good for her to sit with her and comforts her by saying it is ok to feel angry. The client smiles and says "I can't not speak it anymore".
We have looked at the importance of the therapeutic relationship in relation to client safety and support and also the principles of the Hakomi Method. I believe watching a video of a Hakomi session is more informative due to its visual impact and experiential quality. I have witnessed and personally experienced Hakomi in practice and the shifting of self-limiting core material facilitated in Loving Presence has had a profound affect on me. It was the witnessing and experiencing such therapeutic movement that has encouraged me to incorporate somatic psychotherapy using the Hakomi Method in to my private practice.