Hakomi is a method of assisted self-study and discovery. It can bring unconscious  beliefs, memories, habits and emotions into consciousness gently and efficiently where they can be examined and modified to provide a more realistic and satisfying way of being.


This work requires you to enter into periods of mindfulness to become calm and centered enough to observe your own reactions.The vulnerability that mindfulness entails, the openness to unconscious material that’s needed, all require a very safe environment, which needs a particularly caring, non-judgmental person. You can expect that I will  be exactly that.

I pay very close attention to your nonverbal behaviors, such as your tone of voice, movements, gestures, posture, facial expressions and micro expressions. When I get ideas about what unconscious material is controlling your automatic, behaviours, I create little experiments that are done while you are in a mindful state. These little experiments elicit reactions, often emotional, which are links to the unconscious mental processes that create them. Often, memories, beliefs and associations emerge which will help you make sense of the reaction. 

This method is not about talking out your problems. It is more about the storyteller than the story. Your emotional history which has created the unconscious beliefs and habits with which you meet the world, is written in the way you do things in the here and now. So, you can expect that I will be looking and listening for these and will bring them to your attention as part of setting up the little experiments in mindfulness that are the core of the work. The Hakomi method uses experiments because we are more interested in your own, unique experience than any psychological theories or analysis. We trust in your own process which unfolds in its own time and way.

You can also expect the work to bring up intense emotions at times. At those moments, your therapist will work to contain the process, provide comfort and help you understand what’s happening. Because the method is based on this very direct route to unconscious material, it is faster than most other methods. Something significant usually happens every session.


It helps if:

(1) you can stay with and report on your present experiences;

(2) you can study your reactions to experiments in mindfulness;

(3) you can stay focused on your present experience;

(4) You’re able to get into a calm inward focused state and are relaxed enough to allow reactions;

(5)  It also helps if you don’t need to ask a lot of questions or feel like you must solve problems, explain yourself, justify your actions, have a conversation. And you’ll need the courage to be open and honest. That will be your greatest ally.


Relief from persistent painful emotions and behaviours is probably the greatest reward. And you will gain a much deeper understanding of yourself and with that, more freedom to choose what you’ll be able to feel, greater pleasure in everyday living, and to engage in fuller richer more rewarding relationships. Assisted self-study can achieve all that.

© 2017

Ayla Garlick 

Heart Matters