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.
The Hakomi Method, a somatic (mind-body) approach integrates traditional and evidence-based psychotherapeutic techniques with awareness of the body and present-moment experience. In session, you spend a little less time talking and a little more time focusing your awareness on your feelings (emotional and physical sensations), which are gateways to the subconscious. Here we are able to go beneath your thoughts and work more deeply.
Somatic therapists take a holistic approach, recognizing that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are inextricably linked into what I refer to as the bodymind. Together we explore, in a mindful state, your nonverbal language, posture, and the way you carry yourself in order to understand the deep-down core beliefs that drive your moods and the behaviors that have helped you to cope with stress, adversity, and pain over the years.
My approach is directive but gentle, as I facilitate an environment of compassion and non-judgment for the places where you’ve felt stuck. In fact, we honor your body’s wisdom in the ways it has protected you. I offer tools to help you feel safer in your body and regard it as an ally and a container to help hold, process, and release (or clear out) old hurts, repressed emotions, and unhelpful thought forms.
Recent studies in neuroscience demonstrate that few approaches to healing, including The Hakomi Method, facilitate deeper personal transformation so that we do not have to cope with mental anguish for the entirety of our lives. Similar to the process of a shamanic soul retrieval, you and I will use the portal of the now-moment to access memories of experiences that shaped your sense of who you are today and the way you show up in the world. Working with the brain’s neuroplasticity, we’ll update the “data”, so to speak, allowing for reconsolidation of memories and rewiring of neural pathways in a manner that can support you in opening to new and more satisfying behaviors and interpersonal experiences.
In and outside of sessions, I emphasize safety and facilitate an environment where healing can unfold organically. Adhering to a nonviolent approach, we do not force change or “push through” fears. The bodymind has an innate propensity towards wholeness and an ability to heal and grow in the same way a plant grows taller and leans toward the light when allowed a nourishing environment of sunshine, rain, and fertile soil. Your eventual trust in me and the healing process, our slow but steady pacing, and my ability to see you in the most positive light and witness your journey, will offer the environment your bodymind seeks to expand into wholeness and thrive in the world as your true self.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.
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 below 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.)
Copyright of The Hakomi Institute, 2015
Deep healing work requires a commitment to yourself and to the process. Clients who prefer to engage in mostly “talk” without slowing down for self-study or who are not ready for change may not be best served by my approach and specialization. Contact me to schedule a free consultation and screening by phone. Together we will determine whether somatic (body-centered), mindfulness-based healing is a good fit for your needs. Sessions may be in-person or online (FaceTime or Skype). me with any questions.