Hakomi Mindful Somatic Therapy logo with a green crane over a light green circle


About Hakomi Therapy

By Ron Kurtz

The Hakomi Method developed by Ron Kurtz is an efficient and powerful process for discovering and then studying mind/body patterns and core beliefs as you experience them. The process often involves following these core beliefs back to childhood events where lifetime habitual responses were created. Hakomi Therapy facilitates dramatically increased self-awareness and the senses of expansion and empowerment which come from creating new choices at the subconscious core belief level.

Hakomi accesses and utilizes special states of consciousness (e.g., “mindfulness”, and “the child”), probing gently beneath our everyday patterns of habit and automatic response, to those richly non-verbal levels where basic beliefs organize and direct our quality of experience. Using mindful awareness in the present to shed light on these organizing beliefs and the childhood events that shaped them, we re-evaluate those parts of our belief system which limit us, developing and incorporating alternative choices and more satisfying options.

Hakomi therapists are also trained to track nuances of voice and body language in order to tune in with the present experience of the client. This assists the client in further accessing core material and beliefs. The body is like a door which can open to the whole character and belief system of the individual. In healing the mind/body split, touch is used in the search for meaning as well as for communication and nourishment.

Hakomi Therapy is based on and committed to principles of mindfulness, non-violence, organicity, unity, and mind/body holism. All the special techniques (including probes, taking over, tracking and contact) come organically from the Principles. By going slowly and gently, being non-violent, and protecting the spirit, an atmosphere of safety evolves where defenses can be examined and willingly yielded, rather than confronted and overpowered.

Hakomi is a Hopi Indian word which means, “How do you stand in relation to these many realms?” A more modern translation is “Who are you?” Some of the origins of Hakomi stem from Buddhism and Taoism, especially concepts like gentleness, compassion, mindfulness and going with the grain. Other influences come from general systems theory, which incorporates the idea of respect for the wisdom of each individual as a living organic system that spontaneously organizes matter and energy and selects from the environment what it needs in a way that maintains its goals, programs and identity. The Hakomi Therapy process itself is like a spontaneously self-correcting organism in a process of constant becoming.

Hakomi also draws from modern body-centered psychotherapies such as Reichian work, Bioenergetics, Gestalt, Psychomotor, Feldenkrais, Structural Bodywork, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Focusing and Neurolinguistic Programming. Hakomi is a synthesis of philosophies, techniques and
approaches that has its own unique artistry, form and organic process.

Therapy is first about discovering. It’s about who you are and about what your deepest emotional attitudes are. It’s not just about who you think you are. It’s not opinion. It’s not something you can know with the intellect. It’s about who you are in the very heart of yourself. That’s the flavor of psychotherapy, discovering yourself, discovering your real attitudes toward the most important pieces of your life.

It takes courage to look at yourself. It takes a real desire to know and a willingness to accept whatever is there. It helps to be playful, too. At some point you realize that the things that you thought you were stuck with, your character traits, are changeable. You can be free of them. It helps if you don’t take those parts of yourself too seriously. Courage, a desire to know and be free, and Playfulness – these are necessary.

The journey is from “who are you?” to who you are. At the end you have consistency and vision. You know your needs and direction. You can say, “This I will do and this I won’t.” You have resolved many conflicts, in which one part of you wants something and another part is against it. It’s not a final place you reach. The journey itself becomes a way of life. If it ends at all, it ends in enlightenment. The self one is interested in is no longer the individual ego, but the unbounded self of the spirit. Because, finally, that is who you are.

Hakomi, as a method and as a school of thought, is participating in the huge change of scientific thinking in our time. The seeds of a new vision of reality are sprouting everywhere – in physics and in philosophy, in medicine, psychology, anthropology, economics. With minor variations, it is basically a shift away from matter as the only reality, toward the inclusion of consciousness and mind. It is basically a shift away from isolation and independence and towards interdependence and mutuality, fields of influence, and knowing at a distance. It is the collapse of the absolute and the embracing of multiplicity and uncertainty.

If psychotherapy is going to participate in the new vision, it will have to embrace a whole new set of principles. It will have to recognize a clear distinction between living systems and mechanical ones. It will need to drop linear causality and the notions of separateness and external authority. For the qualities of living systems are those of internal authority, great sensitivity, participation in the world, consciousness, growth, and wholeness.

Psychology will have to recognize the primacy of mind, information and communication. All of these have had a deep formative influence on Hakomi Therapy. How better to understand than to let the principles and methods of Hakomi help you study the organizing of your own experience. You can discover a great deal about yourself using these methods, and in that pursuit of the knowledge of self is the key to whatever freedom and full human beingness we shall ever attain.