Body-oriented Counseling

The Hakomi Method

Body Counseling 2017-09-05T07:29:52+00:00

My approach to Body-oriented Counseling is mainly inspired by the Hakomi Method.

The Hakomi Method is an integrative approach to Body Psychotherapy. Its main characteristics are:

  • the idea that mind and body represent a unity and that they both must be the object of study and intervention during Counseling

  • it has a psychodynamic orientation

  • it is experiential

  • it works with what happens in the present moment to possibly reach meaningful past experiences

  • it extensively uses Mindfulness

Hakomi was created at the beginning of the 1980s in the U.S. by Ron Kurtz and a small group of therapists working with him.

Hakomi is well known and practiced in America as well as in other parts of the world – Australia, New Zealand, Northern Europe, Japan, etc.

Hakomi is still unknown in Italy, where I am the first Hakomi therapist who applies it in Italian.

If you want to know more about the Hakomi Method, click here to visit the website of the Hakomi Institute. Go to Hakomi Mallorca to get information about training activities in English in Europe.

The theoretical background

Hakomi views most part of our daily sufferings as the consequence of unconscious beliefs that we create in very early stages of our life.

No longer up to date or coherent, these beliefs maintain the power to strongly limit our present experience.

Hakomi works to bring these mainly unaware assumptions to light, to examine and eventually revise them. It is a process of discovery, which involves our body-mind interface.

It focuses on the exploration of our somatic and emotional memories, and it is accompanied by the loving, sensitive, and judgment-free presence of the therapist.

This journey, also called assisted self-study, takes place primarily in Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a specific state of consciousness that allows us to pay close and keen attention to the way we feel in the present moment.

Once we enter a mindful condition we become able to observe ourselves and our reactions from a more distant and curious perspective, developing the same sense of wonder and surprise that we experience, for example, when we look at a landscape we have never seen before or read a book we haven’t read yet.

What you can expect during a Hakomi session

Differing from than other approaches that exclusively work through talk and verbal exchanges, a Hakomi session is a more holistic experience.

A Hakomi practitioner believes that our emotional history is expressed in the interface between what we say, we know or we remember about ourselves and what we spontaneously do, very often under the threshold of our awareness: expressions, gestures, tone of voice, posture and basic attitudes. As Ron Kurtz states, our emotional history is “written in our style”, in the characteristics which define who we are.

Therefore, during our Counseling sessions, I will not only listen to the contents you will present, but I will also pay great attention to the non-verbal elements which subtitle those contents.

I will bring them to your attention and we will work together to find creative ways of studying them through what Hakomi terms the “experiments”. When we work with experiments, the use of Mindfulness helps us to observe in depth your reactions and to use them as a bridge towards your unconscious mental processes.
In fact, once a reaction is evoked, it is very likely that memories or associations will emerge, which will help us understand the origin or meaning of that reaction. Sometimes this process sheds light on the underlying developmental wound.

We will attempt then to offer to your mind-body system some reparative experiences, aiming to sooth and heal old emotional sufferings.

These experiences represent the “heart” of our work. They are meant to build new neurological pathways in your brain. Time after time they will allow you to absorb new modalities to live your own life, possibly more congruent to the person you are today.

We will dedicate quite a bit of time to let you savor these experiences when they take place. We will pay attention to the impact they have on your body and mind in order to really let them stay with you.

The first palpable outcome of this process will hopefully be the relief from painful feelings and limiting behaviors. Over time you will very likely reach a sense of freedom of choice and possibility for action in your personal and social context, which will spread a consistent joyful nuance within your life.

The use of the body

Beside what you know, believe and remember about yourself, a main focus of exploration and intervention during our work together will be your physical experience: sensations, tensions, movement impulses, gestures, and so on.
Whenever useful for that moment of the process, I may also suggest the use of my touch as a way to deepen our understanding of your reactions or to provide some nourishment to your psyche-soma system: for example, touching your shoulder with my hand, supporting your weight with my body, establishing contact between the tips of our fingers, etc.
However, even though the body plays a major role in this approach to Counseling, the use of touch is not indispensable and the option of using it largely depends on how at ease you feel about it. If you have the impression that physical contact does not suit your personality but you are still interested in Body-oriented Counseling, we will keep between the two of us the distance that is just right for you.

If you want to understand better what Body Psychotherapy is, watch the video made by EABP, the European Association of Body Psychotherapy