This summer I completed an Advanced Clinical Maps training with Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches, which is also the Hakomi Institute of Oregon. In this 60-hour training, we got into a deeper examination of character theory and its relationship to human development. Because of the ways that difficult experiences at a tender age promote a defensive response to the environment, understanding how these different character styles shows up for clients can help them study their experience and find new, more flexible ways to be alive.
Character theory is at the core of the Hakomi method and serves as its basic diagnostic system, but the aim is not to diagnose and treat character. Rather, by helping clients notice basic existential assumptions they make about the world and study how those embodied choices affect them, the therapist helps clients expand their repertoire and experience new kinds of healing, joy, and freedom.
We all organize our experience in different ways; the point of Hakomi is to gain greater insight and flexibility with how we do that. I don’t ask clients to get rid of their defenses— I just want to give them more options! Using the character map helps people navigate towards their organicity and make choices based on where they actually want to go, rather than where they’ve been accustomed to going all this time.
I enjoy integrating Hakomi mindfulness-centered body psychotherapy with clients who are looking for that kind of experiential work, and I look forward to sharing what I learned in this training with clients and colleagues. Please feel free to be in touch!