The Body and the Mind:
helps clients heal with mindfulness
Cindy Sutter, Camera Staff Writer,
Daily Camera, June 21, 2004
Wyoming National Guard Service Officer Shellie Franklin was
studying for her
master's degree in counseling,
she had one of
life's "eureka" moments.
alternative therapies for a class project, she came upon Hakomi, a
psychotherapy that was started
by therapist Ron Kurtz in the mid-1970s.
This fits me, she thought.
had more of the spiritual aspect," she says. "It
seemed like it provided more tools to really begin to
spiritual component is the eastern concept of mindfulness. In Hakomi,
it is combined with western therapeutic techniques
Hakomi therapists say is a better understanding of
a person's core belief systems that govern everyday behavior
Franklin, who arranges educational opportunities for guardsman and
counsels families of those who have
allows me to be with people on a different level."
is a Hopi Indian word that means "How do you
stand in relation to many realms" or in more
modern language "Who are
therapy, clients learn to achieve mindfulness, which Hakomi therapist
Jaci Hull defines
as "the ability to view the self
in an open way so that you're able to see all
of the self. One of the things we're trying to
across," she says, "is
that people stay unhappy when they're unable
to be mindful about their
do clients achieve or even understand mindfulness?
Hakomi adherents believe the body is a window
to the mind. While any therapist pays attention
is particularly emphasized in Hakomi, where
therapists are taught to "track" minute
movements and postures.
observing a particular posture or movement, Hakomi therapists then
involve the client in
him to focus on what his body is doing.
gives this example: "People usually hold stress in their
shoulders," she says.
therapy she might say to a client, "I notice
your shoulders are moving a lot. Could
we move into mindfulness
and study what's
a first-timer, she would introduce the concept of mindfulness
his eyes and
focus on his
there some sensation that you notice?
Is there a color? Does it have words?"
Franklin says becoming aware of the
body is a powerful tool.
body is telling a story the same as your mouth is telling a story.
The body has more information, but
you may not have access to it until you look at what the body is doing," she
in this way can sometimes lead to unexpected breakthroughs.
Hull's first encounter with Hakomi
was as an undergraduate psychology
started to have panic attacks. I was going to evening student clinics,
running all over Boston," she
friend in Connecticut told her about a Hakomi therapy
first thing, I sat down and said, 'I can't breathe.' I was terrified
... I didn't know what the
therapist asked if he could "hold the
put his hand on her chest
right below her neck and gently pressed
the way her body felt.
"I took the first deep breath I'd taken in four months," Hull says. "I
kept breathing and I started
to cry. I was not expressing the grief I had for my father,
who had died three years before.
I tried to
hold the grief in."
Hull's experience is
an example of the way
it is not related
to massage or other relaxation
a therapist might offer to "hold" a feeling
or tension in a client's
body, as in Hull's case.
happens usually is that underlying feeling (the client) held back can
be expressed," Hull
creates safety, so
the body doesn't
have to worry about
the feeling has reached
more neutral place."
maxim among Hakomi
therapists is: "The
issues are in the
is also used to comfort,
hand or patting
him or her gently
is a key component of
any touching is
with the client's
on a part
body is geared
to the client's
a mindful state. "That
safe enough for
need to attend
to the relationship
a safe feeling
in her work,
may be fearful
creates a healing
theory says that
therapy, a principle
principles might sound
and size," she
"Hakomi therapists are trained to understand unconscious belief systems
come out of childhood and to understand how a child strategizes to survive psychologically," she
The client has a deeper participation in the therapy,
it is done in mindfulness,
client is really having an experience of himself, both their strategy
and their recovery."
you go through the training (with others), you go through some
changes. You get so deep with those people." she says. "Where
in the beginning you thought no way you're going to like someone,
by the end you begin to understand what's so unique and rare about
a change in the calmness that sort of surrounds her," says
Corey Loghry, plans and actions chief in charge of military personnel,
Cheyenne office of the Wyoming National Guard. "Some people
you're around and they're sort of frantic, you end up leaving sort of frantic.
She (Franklin) used to have that frantic tendency, since
she was juggling so many projects," says
Loghry, who has worked with her for 11 years.
Now, "people I see seek
her out in a work environment. It's almost like taking a couple
of deep breaths by being around her."