For the past several months, I’ve been traveling to Austin, Texas for a comprehensive 2-year training in Hakomi therapy. Hakomi is an Native American word that means, “where do you stand in relation to these many realms?” I learned about Hakomi when I was 25-years-old in my Master’s program when we had a guest speaker introduce us to the modality. I immediately started therapy with a Hakomi therapist because she said she felt it “worked like magic”. After the first session I decided, “This is REAL therapy”. It seemed slow, graceful even, and I noticed things about myself that I had never seen before.
So what is Hakomi? What does it entail and how is it different from traditional therapy?
To answer the question, I wouldn’t say that is is entirely different from traditional therapy. The first 20 minutes or so of each session are what we call the “download”. You come in and we talk about how things have been going during the week. At this point in the session, we may choose to “go into mindfulness”. Going into mindfulness is very simple. It involves slowing things down and taking a closer look at the thoughts, emotions, memories or images that are happening in this moment. We do mindfulness experiments in relation to the theme you’ve have been discussing. For example, I might say a sentence and have you notice how you react to that sentence. This helps you learn how you are organizing your experience of the moment.
Mindfulness is easy and natural. I’ve found that once we do mindfulness in a session, my clients want to do mindfulness during any subsequent sessions. That’s because it’s just so interesting! It also leads to results more quickly than just regular talk therapy does. Of course, every person has different needs and some individuals really need to process things in ordinary consciousness. When that is the case, that is what we do. In fact, some people may need to take some time to get used to coming into therapy before they want to go into mindfulness. That’s perfectly fine and normal.
If you want to learn more about Hakomi, check out the following resources:
Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Ron Kurtz
Hakomi Mindfulness Centered Somatic Psychotherapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice, Halko Weiss and Greg Johanson
Experiential Psychotherapy for Couples, Rob Fisher