Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

An Example of a Hakomi Technique Adapted for Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

An Example of a Hakomi Technique Adapted for Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

Article excerpt

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP; Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991) is well positioned as an integrative model of psychotherapy through its focus on function rather than rigid adherence to technique (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1994). Integration of a range of psychotherapy models with FAP has been previously discussed; this has included Psychodynamic approaches (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991; Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1994; Rosenfarb, 2010), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991; Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1994; Kohlenberg, Kanter, Tsai, & Weeks, 2010), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Callaghan, Gregg, Marx, Kohlenberg, & Gifford, 2004; Baruch, Kanter, Busch, & Juskiewicz, 2009; Kohlenberg & Callaghan, 2010), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (Waltz, Landes, & Holman, 2010) Behavioural Activation (Busch, Manos, Rusch, Bowe, & Kanter, 2010) and Feminist therapies (Terry, Bolling, Ruiz, & Brown, 2010).

Rather than offer an integrated model, the purpose of this paper is to provide a clear and brief example of how a technique from another form of psychotherapy--Hakomi (Kurtz, 1990), can be assimilated into FAP. It is likely that most practicing therapists have been exposed to a range of techniques through training and ongoing professional development. As FAP is a principle based therapy, techniques from other forms of psychotherapy can be used as long as they function to evoke clinically relevant behaviour and the therapist is positioned to be aware of this and reinforces client improvements in behaviour within the context of adhering to the other 'rules' of FAP, see below.

The technique that will be outlined in this paper comes from the Hakomi Method. A brief overview of Hakomi and FAP will follow. Then a Hakomi intervention will be detailed and looked at including a transcript using the technique as a part of FAP. It is hoped that this stimulates the reader into considering what techniques they have learnt from other psychotherapy models that could be utilised within FAP.


Hakomi is a mindfulness based, body inclusive form of psychotherapy developed by Ron Kurtz in the mid 1970's (Kurtz, 1990). Hakomi utilises mindfulness to explore current experience (thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations, urges, gestures, postures etc) as indicators of painful formative experiences and subsequent beliefs (Cole & Ladas-Gaskin, 2007). The word Hakomi is a Hopi Indian word and means 'how do you stand in relation to the many realms?' or more briefly 'who are you?' (Kurtz, 1990). The aim of the therapist is to provide a safe and caring relationship, to create experiments that evoke core material and to then provide therapeutic 'missing experiences' (Fisher, 2002). This is done to help shift beliefs and enable the client more healthy and effective ways of relating to themselves and their world.


FAP is the application of radical behavioural principles to an interpersonal psychotherapy context. The primary mechanism that FAP claims to effect change is the therapist "providing natural reinforcement for client improvements that occur during the session" (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991, p.11). This is strategically done to 'shape' over time, a more effective interpersonal behavioural repertoire, that is then generalised to the clients daily life and relationships (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991). To assist in knowing what behaviour to reinforce in FAP, client in-session behaviour is broken down into three classes of clinically relevant behaviour (CRB). These are: in-session instances of daily life problems (CRB1); in-session instances of daily life improvements (CRB2); and client statements of functional relationships (CRB3). For a more in-depth look at CRB see Kohlenberg and Tsai (1991) or Kohlenberg, Tsai, & Kanter (2009). To assist therapists in identifying CRB, evoking CRB and in responding to CRB, FAP has five rules. …

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