Part 1. Transition from a direct to an indirect relationship
(We will first review shifting to the indirect mode with the first seven slides.
If you know this well you might skip to the summary in slide seven.)
This is a schematic illustrating a therapist working with a client in the direct mode. The
client is strongly identified with a sad part. Therefore the client appears to be sad In the
“I see you feel sad today.”
The client is strongly identified with a part that feels sad.
“Thanks for noticing.”
At the outset we work directly with our clients: tracking with contact.
In this example, the therapist wants to work indirectly with the client’s parts.
She therefore asks permission to introduce the notion of parts and to refer
to the sad feeling as a part.
Step 1: Moving to indirect mode requires permission.
“Would it be all right to think of
your sadness as a sad part?”
“Yes, that’s ok, I can do that.”
Introducing the idea and language of parts
initiates the client's process of unblending.
Step 2: Coach the client to just be with the part in its present
The therapist is helping the client to accept a part’s feelings, attitude or activity.
This usually causes a shift in the part’s feelings. The feeling lightens up or calms
down. It can have other responses as well. Its feelings could intensify, for example.
No problem. In the next step, just acknowledge that.
“See if you can just be with that
sad part’s sadness.”
Step 3: Find out what happened when the client accepts the part’s feelings.
Asking about what happened creates a report. The therapist needs to finds out if her
intervention Is working: is the client connecting or not connecting with the part?
What is the part feeling now, after the contact? If the state of the part shifts, the
therapist knows that the last step worked.
“What happens when you
just be with that sad part?”
“The sad part lightens up.”
“Maybe you could silently say to that part:
‘I see that you feel a little calmer now.’“
Talking to the part reinforces the relationship between a client’s Self and the part.
The best way to start the relationship is with an acknowledgment. The therapist
coaches the client by telling her what to say. For example: “I see you’re sad.”
“I see you’re disappointed.” “I see you feel a little calmer now.”
Client silently says to the part: “I see
you feel a little calmer now.”
Step 4: Coach client’s Self to acknowledge the part’s present moment state.
Ok, that’s quite a bit to grasp all at once. Let’s summarize the process we have illustrated so far. We will
assume that our client is sad in the present moment.
Step 1: Introduce parts language. Get permission. Help the client separate orunblend from the sad part.
“Would it be okay to think about the sadness as a sad part?”
Step 2: The therapist coaches the client to just be with the part in its present moment state.
“See if you can just go inside and be with the sad part
Step 3: Find out what happened when the client accepts the part’s feelings.
“What happens when you’re just being with that sad part like that?”
The client responds: “It gets a little calmer.”
Step 4: Coach the client to acknowledge the part’s new present moment state:
“Maybe you could silently say to that part: ‘I see that you feel a little calmer now.’ “
Step 5: Find out what happens when the client says that to the sad part.
“What happened when you said that to the sad part.?”
The client says: “my jaws get tight.” [Signifies a shift to anger maybe.]
A set of useful promptings from within the indirect mode for exploring,
experiencing and regulating strong emotions and body sensations.
• I see how (angry/sad/ fearful) you are.
• I see how you feel (calmer/more intense) when I attend to you.
• Just listen to the (anger/sadness/fear) to see what it has to say.
• Ask the fear “what are you afraid might happen?”
• Notice how your body feels when that part is angry.
• How does your body want to move when the angry part moves it?
• Let me know if it gets too strong for you, I‘ll help you make it calmer.
• Please pull your (anger/sadness/fear) back a little, that way I can help
you to feel better.
• After the anger has calmed down a bit, see if the angry part can show you the
part it’s protecting or have you feel its feelings, just a little bit.
• After the sadness (fear/tightness/agitation) calms down, just ask this
(anger/sadness/fear) “what do you remember?” Don’t search for a memory,
just notice if one shows up. It’s alright if nothing shows up.
Some suggestions for working with a memory
• How do you feel toward that part in the memory?
• If there is a negative attitude, it means the client is not in Self.
Have the negative part step back, find out what it needs or wants.
• Can you (find/see/sense) yourself in the memory?
• How old are you in that memory?
• Are you close or far away from that part?
• How is she feeling right now?
• Can you (see/hear/sense) what is happening?
• Does that part know that you are with it?
• What could you do to comfort him?
• Can you hold his hand?
• Can you take the part on your lap?
• Will she let you take her out of there into a (safer/more peaceful/better) place.
• Tell him, “You don’t need to trust me right now. I know it takes time to trust.”
• Ask her if she can show you what happened.
• What is he feeling right now?
• What does she feel like in her body right now?
• What does she want to do?
Helping a client end a visit with a part.
• We’re going to have to end this visit soon, so what does this part need
before we go, to make sure it will be okay until we come again.
• There are various sets of unburdening rituals that can be used to
help parts let go of experiences, beliefs, and dysfunctional decisions.
• (Simple version) Is there something this part has been carrying that it would like
to put down or give back before we close?
• Would it be alright to end this visit now?
• Can you promise that you will check in with her next week?
• Promise him that you will not forget him.
• Maybe you can find a place in your body where you can keep her until next time?
• Would it be okay with her to stay there in that place?
• What will help this part if she gets upset and I am not here to help you be with her?
• Have the client thank any parts that stepped back or helped out in any way.
• Check to see if any parts are not okay with what happened during the session.
Part 2. Transition from an indirect to a direct relationship
The therapist has been relating to the part indirectly through the client
(indicated by solid blue arrows). The intention now is to shift into direct mode
And work directly with the client’s part (as indicated by the broken light blue arrow).
Desires to shift to working directly
The transition starts with the therapist working indirectly.
Getting permission is important. It prevents surprises, empowers the client, keeps
them in charge of things, and minimizes confusion.
“Would it be all right for me to talk
to the sad part directly?.
Desires to shift into working directly.
Step 1: Therapist requests permission to make the shift.
It is always good to watch the body language. Make sure the client is in touch with
the part, and that the body language is coherent with the conversation.
“Can you ask the part if it is okay if I
say something to her?”
Step 2: Therapist requests permission from the part itself.
Now the transfer is complete. The client’s relationship to the part shifts slightly, it is
more passive while also being mindful. Even though we address the part with our
message, there is really no difference between this situation and working directly
with a mindful client.
“I wonder if you can just be there
with this part, just be a passive witness
and notice what happens as I say
something to him?”
Step 3: Therapist sets up the new situation.
“I can do that.”
The dotted line indicates that the therapist now considers the client and the part to
be somewhat more identified.
“Notice what happens when I say to
him, ‘I see how hard you tried.’
Step 4: Therapist speaks the acknowledgment to the part, but includes the
client by saying, “Notice what happens when…”
Now the work can proceed in the conventional direct mode until the session ends
or until the therapist decides to shift back to the indirect mode again.
“What did you notice when I said those
Step 5: Ask the client to report what happened.
“He felt very relieved. It
really felt good.”
Let’s summarize the process of shifting form indirect back to direct.
Step 1: Request permission from the observing Self.
“Would it be okay for me to say something to this part?”
Step 2: Request the client to ask the part for its permission?
. “Can you ask the part if it is okay if I say something to him/her?”
Step 3: Set up the new situation.
“I wonder of you could just be there as a passive witness, just notice
what happens when I say something to him?”
Step 4: Make the acknowledgment:
“Notice what happens when I say to him: “I know how hard you tried.“
Step 5: Ask for a report about what happened.
“What happened when I said that?”
The therapist is now in direct mode with the client. He can then resume direct Hakomi work,
but in doing so he must make sure that the client does not abandon the part. If the client
becomes distracted before the session ends or if the subject changes, the therapist must
make sure that the part is alright.
“Can you check in on that part we worked with and make sure he is okay?”