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  • Jia Rebecca Li, LMFT

Introducing "Hakomi"

Copyright 2024 Jia Rebecca Li Psychotherapy



When I started to “Hakomilize” my psychotherapy work a few years ago, I knew there would be no going back. Exquisitely positive, warm and gentle, Hakomi - the beloved short name for "Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy," is so extremely fine at tracking and identifying the individually unique accessing routes to each client’s unique experiences, at evoking their organizing patterns and at reconstructing the core organizing materials deep down.


Many psychotherapy approaches have brought us brilliant insights about human relationship (both with ourselves and with our dear ones), but many of them focus on changing clients’ cognitive knowledge and behaviors (and some relatively readily available emotional experiences).


Once you know Hakomi and other experiential approaches, however, you know that our distressing or ineffective cognitions and behaviors are the scarred branches or yellow leaves - signs of something deeper in the plant - and cutting them off is unlikely to heal the plant, let alone helping the roots to regain health. Oftentimes, cognitive insights or behavioral changes without reconstructing the core organizing materials don’t take hold or if they do, don’t last.


Hakomi is the friendly gardener who takes care of the soil, the nourishment, the sun exposure, the moisture level, etc, so that the plant can be the healthiest it can be, beautiful in its unique way, changing and adapting with the seasons, and offering its bounty of fruit year after year.


My training in the Hakomi method as a clinician and, even more importantly, my growth through the practice of Hakomi as an embodied experience and professional orientation has vastly deepened my appreciation and application of a wide range of ideas and tools from many other approaches, such as Gottman Method, EFT, IFS, and the many schools of family therapy, allowing me to take the sessions deep into the experiential realm. There, beautiful layers unfold, and transformational, lasting changes happen.


Also dear to me is that Hakomi integrates Easten wisdom traditions of Taoism and Buddhism and fully embraces system thinking and multiculturalism. It’s progressive, because it welcomes and cherishes diversity and acknowledges systemic injustices. It’s eco-conscious, because it knows that taking care of people means taking care of our physical and relational environment.


I will be writing about the core principles in the next few posts to help make this beautiful, gentle and powerful way of working with human experiences more known. Stay tuned.

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