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USABP Presents - Love Made Simple: Somatic interventions with Couples, Inspired By The Hakomi Method

  • 20 May 2022
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Zoom


  • Members don't pay
  • Special rate for member invited guests that enter their given code.

Registration is closed

Presented by:

Gal Szekely, LMFT

Psychotherapist, Founder and Director of The Couples Center and a Hakomi teacher

This event will be recorded and available for members and non-members who register for this event. This course will not include CEs.

Workshop Description

Couples therapy can be challenging because attachment patterns happen fast, underneath the conscious level and show up in a non-verbal way. Mindfulness, somatic exercises and touch-based interventions are powerful tools for revealing and studying unconscious patterns and to facilitate healing. They are effective because they get beneath the words and the mind defenses and provide an embodied experience of change. 

This workshop will explore several somatic interventions for working with relationship issues, through a combination of participants experience as well as case presentation. The approach presented draws on Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy and is focused on seeing relationship as a path of personal and spiritual development. 

The presentation and experiential will include:

A new vision of relationship 

• My healing journey and how it led me to what I do today 

• The challenge of couples therapy and what current approaches have to offer

• The need for an integrative, somatic and growth-oriented approach to relationship therapy 

• The important role of somatics in couples therapy 

Case example 1: Using a couples sculpture to reveal relationship dynamics

• Introduction to using a couple sculpture 

• A guided exercise of couple sculpture

• Case example

Case example 2: Using a somatic exercise to discover underlying emotional needs 

• Introduction to heart-in-hand exercise 

• A guided exercise 

• Case example 

Summary and further learning

• The goals of couples therapy redefined 

• Discussion of additional potential interventions 


  • Welcome
  • USABP Announcements
  • Presentation & Experiential
  • Q & A

Main Points of Presentation

  • A somatic approach to couples therapy has an advantage since attachment patterns are automatic and mostly subconscious 
  • An integrative approach should look at both attachment and differentiation 
  • A new vision is needed for understanding relationship that goes beyond secure attachment 
  • Relationship dynamics show up as a reinforcing cycle, and can be studied effectively through using a “couple sculpture” 
  • A deeper layer of couples work is healing past wounds and it can be explored through “heart-in-hand” exercise. 

Learning Objectives

  • Three reasons why somatics is important in couples therapy 
  • Three goals of an integrative and growth-oriented approach to couples therapy  
  • The goal of a “couples sculpture” and how to apply it in a session 
  • The goal of “heart-in-hand” and how to apply it in a session 

Presenter Information

Gal Szekely, LMFT

Psychotherapist, Founder and Director of The Couples Center and a Hakomi teacher

In his work with hundreds of couples, Gal Szekely has observed that most relationship issues stem from one well-intentioned but misguided thought: “It should come naturally!” In reality, strong partnerships don’t just happen—they require tools and resources most of us weren’t given and don’t even realize we need.

As the director of The Couples Center, Gal is dedicated to the vision of helping all couples create a Love that Lasts. His warm, practical approach—combining psychotherapy, coaching, and spiritual guidance—recognizes and honors the very best in every person, and makes him a sought-after coach, therapist, and workshop leader.

Gal’s transformative experience in his own relationship compelled him to leave a successful career in high-tech marketing and management consulting in favor of pursuing a master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology at San Francisco’s California Institute of Integral Studies, a school blending Eastern and Western healing philosophies. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Gal’s relationship with his wife is the source of inspiration for his commitment to helping couples create thriving relationships.

Gal has a lifelong dedication to learning and growth and is trained in a range of effective couples counseling methods. He is an instructor in the Hakomi experiential therapy method and is part of the Hakomi California teaching staff. He is also and adjunct faculty at CIIS University and JFK University where he teaches couples counseling. He has studied EFT (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy) extensively and often incorporates EFT into his therapy work. Additionally, Gal utilizes a powerful approach to therapy called PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) which utilizes cutting edge neuroscience and attachment theory. His work draws on years of meditation practice and a deep understanding of the body-mind connection. Gal also holds a master’s in Social Psychology from Tel-Aviv University in Israel, and conducts marriage counseling in Hebrew as well as English.

An experienced speaker and workshop leader, Gal has led dynamic, highly rated events at local tech companies, nonprofits, and universities. Gal has been interviewed for J. Weekly, I Do Podcast, and SFGate and is an expert contributor at YourTango. His articles have been featured on, PsychCentral, Momtastic, and The Huffington Post.

Book References

Fisher R. (2002). Experiential Psychotherapy with Couples. Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, Phonix

Johnson S. (2019). The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple therapy. New York: Routledge. Second.

Rastogi, M., & Thomas, V. (2009). Multicultural Couple Therapy. Los Angeles: Sage.

Solomon M. F. & Tatkin, S. (2011). Love and War in Intimate Relationships: Connection, Disconnection, and Mutual Regulation in Couple Therapy. W.W. Norton & Company. 

Welwood, J (1997). Love and Awakening. Harper Perennial. 

About Presenter Organization

    Since 1981, Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy has pioneered mindfulness and somatics in experiential psychotherapy. “Dynamic” mindfulness is an integral part of the therapy session, and when Hakomi’s body-centered techniques are introduced with the mindful client, key core material is accessed rapidly, yet safely. This includes the unconscious beliefs and experiences that shape our lives, often without our knowledge. Once conscious and directly experienced, these patterns are available for transformation and re-integration. Hakomi can also be integrated with many therapeutic modalities. READ MORE


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