The Hakomi Method
The Hakomi Method of Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy was first created in the late 1970’s by the internationally renowned therapist and author, Ron Kurtz. In 1981, to fully develop the method and promote the teaching of Hakomi, Ron and a core group of therapists and educators founded the Hakomi Institute. Today, Hakomi Trainings and workshops are presented throughout the world, in North America, Europe, Japan, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.
At its most basic level, Hakomi is the therapeutic expression of a specific set of Principles: Mindfulness, Nonviolence, Unity, Organicity and Mind-Body Integration; these tenets inform every aspect of the work. The first concern of Hakomi Trainings is that our students embody these Principles as a deep and consistent part of who they are and how they work. This means a heartfelt, long-term commitment to their own growth, both personal and professional. Our goal is to foster high quality, caring therapists who are as dedicated to their own self-awareness as they are to the understanding of others. We further support students in discovering their own style, creativity and unique application of the Hakomi Method.
Hakomi helps people change “core material.” Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply held emotional dispositions. It shapes the styles, habits, behaviors, perceptions and attitudes that define us as individuals. Typically, it exerts its influence unconsciously, by organizing our responses to the major themes of life: safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, control, responsibility, love, appreciation, sexuality, spirituality, etc. Some of this material supports our being who we wish to be, while some of it, learned in response to acute and chronic stress, continues to limit us. Hakomi allows the client to distinguish between the two, and to willingly change material that restricts his or her wholeness.
Hakomi is a body-centered, somatic psychotherapy: the body serves as a resource that reflects and stores formative memories and the core beliefs they have generated, and also provides significant access routes to core material.
The heart of the Method works with the client’s present, felt experience, as it is presented spontaneously, or deliberately and gently evoked by having them experiment with habitual tension or movement patterns known as “indicators.” These emotional/cognitive patterns automatically keep deeper experience out of present awareness. The results are processed through different state-specific methods, including:
The basic method, then, is this:
- To establish a relationship in which it is safe for the client to become self-aware
- To use the Hakomi methodology to evoke experiences that lead to the discovery of organizing core material
- To seek healing changes in the core material
All is in support of this primary process. Once discovered in this experiential manner, core material can be examined, processed, and transformed. Transformation begins when awareness is turned mindfully toward felt, present experience; unconscious material unfolds into consciousness; barriers are attended to; and new experiences are integrated that allow for the reorganization of core beliefs. These, in turn, allow for a greater range of mental, physical, and emotional coherence and behavior.
Finally, we help the client to integrate these new beliefs, modes and choices into everyday life. It is here – in the ability to transform new possibilities discovered in the office into on-going actualities of daily living – that real change happens.
Hakomi is effective and appropriate in many therapeutic situations, with individuals, couples, families, and groups. It integrates well with a variety of psychotherapeutic, counseling and healing modalities, and is successfully used by counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, pastoral counselors, expressive therapists, bodyworkers, group therapists, crisis counselors, and many other practitioners. It is effective for both brief and long-term therapy.