Hakomi combines the mindfulness and non-violence of Eastern spiritual traditions with a unique, highly effective Western methodology. Using the Buddhist principles of mindfulness and gentle curiosity, Hakomi creates an atmosphere of safety for deep processing that can result in increased self-awareness, a sense of personal empowerment and a richer appreciation for life.
By going slowly and gently protecting the spirit, the client’s defenses can be willingly yielded and examined, rather than confronted or overpowered.
” A visionary contribution in bringing mindfulness to our therapeutic community.” -Daniel Siegal, MD author of The Developing Mind and The Mindful Brain.
Hakomi is a body-centered, somatic psychotherapy. The body is experienced as a door that can be opened to reveal the whole character and belief system of the individual. The body’s structures and habitual patterns become a powerful access route to unconscious core material. The Hakomi Method trains therapists to track nuances of voice and body language in order to tune into the present experience of the client, thus gaining a greater understanding with more efficiency and depth than most “talk” therapies. Hakomi allows the hidden beliefs that shape our lives and relationships to emerge safely into consciousness. Once conscious, they can be directly experienced and re-evaluated, and new dimensions of awareness can be integrated.
THE HAKOMI METHOD
The Hakomi Method of Body Centered Psychotherapy was created by Ron Kurtz with assistance from a core group of his colleagues. A synthesis of philosophies, techniques and approaches, Hakomi has its own artistry, form, and organic process. The method draws from general systems theory and body centered therapies such as Reichian work, Bioenergetics, Gestalt, Psychomotor, Feldenkrais, Structural bodywork, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Focusing, and Neurolinguistic Programming. Hakomi’s core principles of gentleness, compassion, mindfulness, and going with the grain, stem from Buddhism and Taoism. Over time, Hakomi has evolved into a complex, elegant and highly effective form of psychotherapy.
“Hakomi is an excellent system for learning key emotional intelligence skills” -
Daniel Goleman, author of the bestseller Emotional Intelligence
Hakomi is the therapeutic expression of a specific set of Principles: Unity, Mind/Body/Spirit Holism, Organicity, Mindfulness and Non-Violence. These tenets inform every aspect of the work. The first concern of Hakomi trainers is to encourage our students to understand and work within these Principles, to make them deep and consistent with who they are and how they work. This means a heart felt, long-term commitment to their own growth, both personal and professional. We support students in finding their own style and creativity in the unique application of their work. The goal is to turn out high quality, caring therapists who are as dedicated to the full cognizance of their own processes as they are to understanding of others.
Hakomi helps people change “core material.” Core material is composed of deeply-held emotional attitudes, memories, images, neural patterns and beliefs. This material expresses itself through the styles, habits, behaviors and attitudes which make us the individuals we are. Our feelings, bodies, perceptions and actions are continually guided by core material, around themes like: safety, belonging, support, love, appreciation, independence, freedom, responsibility, openness, control, power, sexuality, spirituality, etc. Some of this material supports our being who we wish to be, while some of it, learned in response to difficult situations, continues to limit us. Hakomi allows the client to distinguish between the two and to willingly modify any material that restricts his or her wholeness.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” -Yoda
The Use of Mindfulness
In pursuing this material, the Hakomi Method follows a certain general outline. First we work to build a therapist-client relationship which maximizes safety, respect and the cooperation of the unconscious. With a good working relationship established, we then help the client focus on and study how he or she organizes experience. It is in the way each individual organizes experience that core material exerts influence and reveals itself.
To begin this study, we establish and use a distinct state of consciousness called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is characterized by an internal slowing down, a gentle and sustained focus of attention inward, heightened sensitivity, and the ability to notice and name the contents of consciousness.
The heart of the Method is the precise study of the client’s current experience, as a way to discover how their core material is organized. These experiences are either naturally occurring, or deliberately and gently evoked by having the client participate in carefully designed “experiments.” For example, the client might be asked to allow and carefully notice whatever responses happens inside of him or her, while making a certain gesture or while listening to a statement said by the therapist. Once felt within the client’s being, the core material can be then studied, processed, and transformed.
The basic method, then, is three-fold: (1) to establish a relationship in which it is safe for a client to be mindful, (2) to notice or evoke experiences that lead to the discovery of organizing core material, and (3) to provide the opportunity for this core material to be transformed. All else is done in support of this primary process.
Hakomi is effective and appropriate in all kinds of therapeutic situations, such as with individuals, couples, families, groups, movement, and bodywork. It is suitable for crisis work and psychological maintenance, and it finds its full potential in the processes of growth, both personal and transpersonal, when we are committed to moving beyond our limits.
The Hakomi Institute of BC, is no longer a non-profit teaching society offering workshops, but the faculty of the International Hakomi Institute can teach privately. If any group or agency would like a workshop designed for them, please contact one of the teachers listed on the Teaching Staff page.