Daniel Factor, LMFT
LA-CAMFT SIG Chair
Taking a reading of the room at the end of the workshop, the enthusiasm and gratitude for Shai and his enriching training was clear, as was the resoundingly positive feedback found in the post-workshop evaluations.
As one evaluator wrote, Shai’s teaching was “exemplary of the kind” of workshop that balances didactic with experiential learning; and another wrote, “wow, absolutely fantastic” for much the same reasons. Others noted similarities between Hakomi and Gestalt, observing the importance both models place on supporting client’s experiential awareness to achieve lasting change.
To add to that observation from my own view as a Relational Gestalt, Focusing, and Hakomi influenced clinician, Hakomi invites moving into even deeper mindful states to call up and explore awareness of a “felt-sense” in its original meaning as coined by Eugene Gendlin, father of Focusing: Experiential Psychotherapy. This deeper immersion into a blended mindful-somatic-experiential-implicit constellation within the “bubble” of a safe, supporting, and even loving therapeutic relationship, outlines the power of what Hakomi provides.
To go beyond the theoretical, Shai led us through a guided meditation, by first asking us to turn inward with an active awareness, then invited us to locate at first a positive sensation, and after a moment there to find then a negative sensation. He then asked us to imagine both parts placed in a softly lined basket, in a wash of warming sunlight or light mist, to experience what could occur.
And having arrived at this point, with both sensations held together in a woven basket and observing awareness, I experienced an unsought for acceptance, as the two blended into a whole without eliminating either, resulting in a widening of my breath and a release of my spine, which in its prior more compressed state had articulated the natural polarization associated with favoring a positive over a negative. This experience resulted in new a sense of non-attachment to either, an experiential realization of both as aspects of a larger whole: Me, and then an even larger connection to Life itself. While this is a small sample, it’s one predicted by the 5 core principles of Hakomi: unity, organicity, mind-body holism, mindfulness, and non-violence.
If you want to learn more about Hakomi and Shai, I encourage you to look up Shai’s two 2011 articles in The Psychotherapy Networker, or his Chapter in the wonderful 2015 compilation of writings by master Hakomi clinicians in the book: Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy: a comprehensive guide to theory and practice, published by WW Norton & Co; or visit his Workshop & Trainings page on his website at: www.shailavie.com.
And if you are wondering what’s up next for SOMA SIG, we are excited to announce the 3rd return of Neuroscience Educator Dr. Marc Milstein, who will be presenting cutting edge research on Attachment & Love. Marc, as those who have attended his past two visits know, is very skilled at explaining the hard science in fun and highly digestible and relatable ways, useful for us as clinicians in our own psychoeducation efforts with our clients. Stay tuned for the eBlast announcement that registration is live; we hope to secure a date very soon.
Finally, let me close by expressing my gratitude to SOMA SIG’s new co-chair, Ilona Varo, and teammate, Randi Gottlieb, for all that they did to produce this enriching workshop.