This weekend I helped out as a Teaching Assistant at the introductory workshop for Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches here in Portland. It was great to support Jessica and join with the other TAs to help participants ground in and learn more about these approaches. From my own background with Hakomi and META’s attachment work I know the value of these techniques, and from my time interning at the META clinic I learned about the style of supportive community and mindful relatedness we seek to cultivate in these trainings.
In this weekend, we discussed the Hakomi principles and did some practice exercises to ground them in experience, to give attendees a taste of what META’s trainings are like. The Hakomi principles ally really well with Contemplative Psychotherapy, and I appreciate what they’ve brought to expanding my approach to therapy. The META principles (a couple have been added to the Hakomi list) are:
- mind-body integration
In addition to the didactic presentations, we led experiential exercises, including dyads of focusing on mindfulness within relationship, experiencing and radiating love, and tracking a practice client’s responses to a nourishing statement said aloud.
It was great to help out the team, and it was also nice to have an opportunity to introduce some social justice perspectives in the training. Based on participant feedback, it became clear that some folks had questions about ableism and white supremacy as it is embodied in the META training model. I joined them in a critique of META’s implicit bias, and while it is true that META has a lot of room for growth in terms of social justice, this is sadly true for most of psychotherapy.
I hope that by the end, participants felt honored in their perspectives and challenged to bring what they learned from the training into their clinical practice and their lives. Certainly that challenge remains true for me: how can we practice psychotherapy and also continuously challenge oppression, both within therapeutic practice and within our daily lives?