Hakomi Exeriential Therapy

Doreen Maxwell is a certified Hakomi Therapist.

Hakomi is an awareness-centered, and body-centered psychotherapy that utilizes Mindfulness in the service of studying and transforming core beliefs and the limiting patterns that arise from them. It represents a strong belief in how the body, through movement, gesture, voice, etc., powerfully reflects character or psychological material. It’s experiential, mindful, spontaneous and creative.

A synthesis of western psychology, eastern philosophy and practice, and some of the latest research in affective and developmental neurology, the Hakomi Method is highly effective with individuals, couples, families and groups.

Suitable for crisis work, it finds its full potential, however, in the process of growth both personal and trans-personal, when we are committed to moving beyond our limits, and to finding new ways to be with ourselves and the world.

"Hakomi is an excellent system for learning key emotional intelligence skills"
— Daniel Goleman, author of the bestseller Emotional Intelligence


The Method

Building Safety: We build a relationship that maximizes respect and safety, creating a laboratory for change. This is the most important part of the work, and in cases of chronic, developmental trauma, can take time.

Using Mindfulness: We use a distinct state of consciousness, characterized by inward focus, heightened sensitivity, and the growing ability to notice and name the contents of consciousness. When therapy is done slow, it moves faster. 

Study Specific Evoked Experiences: We employ the precise study of the client's current experiences, evoked from a statement, a method of consensual touch, relational content, etc, as a way to discover organizing core material, i.e. core beliefs and core emotions.

Experiencing and Integrating Transformation: Clients can begin to choose and experiment with more expanded beliefs and a much wider range of behaviors and feelings.

Articulate new beliefs as you come out of the trance of past conditioning, and live new choices with more creativity, joy, and inner peace.

Gain freedom from unnecessary suffering (The suffering that is caused from reaction and habit.)

The Principles:
The system is based on a set of five interrelated humanistic principles derived to a large extent from Taoist and Buddhist psychology. Those principles, which constitute a philosophical as well as methodological base, are: Mindfulness, Unity, Non-Violence, Organicity and (Body/Mind) Wholism.
The ancient practice of mindfulness, adapted to use in the therapeutic setting, is the cornerstone technique in Hakomi therapy. The intense self-study fostered by this powerful tool is an inescapably transformational process, one that has given rise to the notion of “therapy as spiritual practice.” Mindfulness, together with the conscious practice of loving presence or compassion, puts this method solidly in the realm of the transpersonal, although we do not necessariliy align ourselves with any particular religion. The practices we have named, although inspired by Buddhism and Taoism, are deeply rooted in (and free from) all of the major spiritual traditions.

How it Works 

In mindfulness, one can notice more subtle states that normally go unnoticed. So we can do simple collaborative experiments to find these unconscious reactions. Here is one example: I might say a nourishing statement to you (one I sense you need to hear, like "You are safe.") and have you sense the changes that come over you as you hear it. You may be conditioned to disregard it, i.e.: a voice in your head says: "No, I'm not!" or you may tighten up your shoulders or stomach when you hear this statement. This is good information to have! Next, we can explore what may be needed to support you so you can begin to drop these old adaptations that are no longer needed, and begin really taking in the good that the world has to offer you.

"Clients, in the most important moments of their therapuetic work, discover who they're dreaming themselves to be and the world they've been dreaming they're living in. They are surprised to discover that these dreams can be revised....A person's reality, which in each unconscious moment seems the very ground he's standing on, turns out to be only a platform and not the true good earth."

- Ron Kurtz, Founder,
  Hakomi Method

"Hakomi presents some astounding methods for getting to core material.It is well grounded in theory and revolutionary in its results."
— Association of Humanistic Psychology Newsletter