The Hakomi Method

This past week I spoke with a friend of mine, Benjamin Kagedan, PsyD, CHT. Along with completing his PsyD program, he chose to take an additional training in the Hakomi Method: a mindfulness and body-based psychotherapy approach. I was interested to find out why…

As Benjamin explains it, Hakomi is a therapy method that brings the body into the healing process, by helping people direct their attention to sensations, movements, and postures as they talk about and feel into difficulties in life. It aims to bring into awareness physical and mental patterns which a person has been doing automatically. Unlike traditional talk therapy, which focuses on clients’ thoughts and emotions, Hakomi helps clients study their whole embodied experience.

For instance, a Hakomi practitioner would be equally interested in the tone, tempo, and cadence of a client’s speech as they are in its content. Something as simple as a habit of tapping fingers or feet could become an object of study and experimentation, yielding important self-understanding for the client, and pointing the way to areas in the psyche where healing is needed. Given the need to help clients closely observe their own experience, one of Hakomi’s core principles is mindfulness.  Throughout the session, therapist and client both maintain curious, nonjudgmental attention to the client’s present experience.

Dr. Kagedan knows Hakomi works because he experienced it himself. During the two-year training, trainees would get together in groups where one person would be the therapist, one the client, and the other the observer. When you were the client you chose real-life issues you were having. This was refreshing for Benjamin since in his graduate program they would role play fictitious client characters and this made for little depth and was thus less impactful.

The Hakomi training created a very safe space so participants felt comfortable opening up. Therefore you got to know what it feels like to be a therapist, and just as important, if not more so, what it feels like to be a client.

To learn more about Dr. Benjamin Kagedan’s work, click here.

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