Hakomi is a form of guided self-study that relies on the power of present emotional and somatic experience to access and study core material: the memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns, and emotional dispositions that shape how we experience ourselves in the world. A defining characteristic of core material is that it is unconscious. Hakomi provides a method for becoming conscious of and exploring this material, as well as for integrating new, more nourishing experiences. Hakomi is guided by several principles:
Unity assumes that we are integrated wholes, composed of parts. In therapy, each aspect of your experience is embraced as a reflection of this wholeness and brought into harmony with other parts. Unity also shows up in therapy through the resonance that grows between you and me over time.
Organicity refers to the process of self-organization and the natural intelligence of life. I will support your unfolding and pursuing your own direction, without trying to take control. This principle asserts respect for life and faith in the healing power of the individual.
Mind-Body Integration affirms that mind and body influence and interact with one another, that they are indeed one system. We explore these interactions to help foster your awareness of how core material expresses itself in your life and how, once contacted, it can be processed, updated, and transformed.
Presence with our moment-to-moment experiences; an exploratory, nonjudgmental, but intentional state of consciousness, which through practice allows us to move beyond habitual thoughts and actions towards greater internal freedom and security.
Nonviolence promotes safe, nonforceful, and cooperative exploration of experience, including that which manifests as resistance. Rather than trying to confront or overpower these experiences, they’re respected and supported so that you can explore them more completely.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a short-term, naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of post-traumatic stress reactions. SE is based upon the ethological observation that animals in the wild use innate mechanisms that regulate and neutralize the high level of arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in immunity to trauma, which enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly charged life-threatening experiences. SE normalizes the symptoms of trauma, which bind this arousal, and offers the steps needed to resolve these symptoms.
SE does not promote emotional catharsis, but instead working within one’s range of resilience to facilitate the most efficient healing recovery possible. Significant time will be spent helping you recognize and expand the internal, external, and missing resources that can aid in this healing process. SE works predominantly with the “felt sense,” accessing physical sensations, imagery, and motor patterns, with less emphasis on cognitive and emotional processes.