Have you ever noticed that when you feel upset emotionally, your body feels it too? When we’re sad, for example, we typically feel it in or hearts, abdomen, or in our throats. When we’re angry, we may clench our jaw, ball our fists, or experience tightness in our chest.
In psychotherapy, you may personally notice your body’s response to your emotions but ignore it. You or your therapist may continue talking and seeking solutions to your “problems,” analyzing your past, or examining the validity of your thoughts. Doing so ignores a rich language, key indicators to what lies beneath your thoughts, and an opportunity to experience profound shifts and deeper healing.
Using The Hakomi Method, I track your body’s nonverbal cues and invite you to enter a state of mindfulness and notice the physical sensations associated with your emotions, any muscle tension, or even your posture or the way you hold your body. These are gateways to your unconscious where memories and outdated or limiting beliefs about yourself and the world are stored.
As a Hakomi bodyworker, I may employ, with your permission, the use of appropriate therapeutic touch. For a client with chronic tension in his shoulders, for example, I match the tension by pressing his shoulders so that he may notice the hidden memories, beliefs, or emotions associated with the physical symptoms.
For a client with a pattern of “pushing people away,” I may assist her in pushing a mountain of pillows against a wall to reenact consciously and in a mindful state the behaviors in which she engages unconsciously in her life. With a client who avoids eye contact, we conduct experiments in which he hides or averts his eyes or peeks out at me momentarily. These are only a few examples of how we can work with your bodymind to explore your experience more deeply.
Listening to and honoring your bodymind’s signals and progressing at a pace that feels safe to you, we access the unconscious then facilitate emotional healing in the present moment. This may include compassionately addressing a part of yourself that was wounded in youth or integrating a part of you that is fragmented or out of alignment with your true self. These parts may have held beliefs that you were unlovable, unworthy, or unsafe.
Through this work, we create new neural pathways in your brain so that the past has less influence over you. Thus, you begin to live more fully in the present, seeing a range of new possibilities, experiencing greater choice in how to think and act, and embodying who you truly are in the heart of yourself.The Hakomi Method Video
*Please note that should you choose to engage in body work with me, it is not the same as nor a replacement for psychotherapy. Please call or e-mail me with any questions.
Copyright of The Hakomi Institute, 2015
I completed a two-year training in The Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy with The Hakomi Institute in Princeton, New Jersey (2005 to 2007), and now practice the bodyworker's version.
The video above is a mini-demonstration of the psychotherapeutic approach with a student, facilitated by one of The Hakomi Institute's trainers, Melissa Grace, M.A., L.M.F.T. (Video is a copyright of The Hakomi Institute, 2015.)