Hakomi and Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy
Hakomi Institute International (HII) wants to communicate our emerging position on Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) following reports of abuse in settings that combine psychotherapy and psychedelics, as well as the growing interest in and availability of PAP.
As an organization that trains psychotherapists, we have active, ongoing concerns about reports we’ve read. This statement is an initial public statement to address these concerns. We care deeply about our students, clients, therapists, and faculty. Our commitment is to provide policies and guidelines to the Hakomi community that will prevent future harm.
Our Position on Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy
- The Hakomi Institute teaches psychodynamic therapy based on mindfulness, with a somatic focus. It does not teach PAP.
- THE HI BOARD and FACULTY support research on and the use of psychedelics in psychotherapy in legal contexts, when offered by appropriately credentialed and experienced mental health professionals. (Ex: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Johns Hopkins, Harvard)
- We also support the entheogenic work of Indigenous healers, doing this work within an Indigenous context, and understand the need for more research about boundaries and harm reduction in those settings as well.
- HI does not support underground, illegal use of psychedelics as treatment. While we understand the potential value, the risk of harm in under-supervised contexts is too high.
- As professional trainers and therapists in mindful somatic psychotherapy, we recognize the value and applicability of Hakomi within legal PAP. However, not only do we not teach PAP, we also do not prepare students to be PAP guides.
- Prospective students for Hakomi training will in the future be informed that the Hakomi Institute does not currently offer training in psychedelic therapy. Students intending to take a Hakomi training to support their practice as an underground psychedelic guide will be discouraged from doing so, and may not be accepted into a Hakomi training if they do not have another suitable context for their practice. Students who have previously studied with the Center for Conscious Medicine will receive additional screening and may not be admitted to our training if their philosophy and practice standards are not aligned with Hakomi principles and ethics.
- Applicants to Hakomi trainings who intend to do legal PAP work will be asked to provide information regarding the legal governing body that will oversee and supervise their PAP work. As the field of work around PAP develops, we will continue to review this policy and make adjustments in alignment with safe, effective and legal practices.
- Given the vulnerability of clients under the influence of psychedelics, we believe that highly specific professional training is needed to ethically use psychedelics in treatment, so that the risk of harm to the client is reduced and likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes is increased.
- The Hakomi Method teaches practitioners to support a client’s protections and defenses, and we believe it is never appropriate to override, overwhelm, or violate client boundaries or defenses.
- Additionally, any instance of sexual contact or sexual boundary violation with any client, including PAP clients is always unethical and/or illegal.
- Awareness of and compliance with local and regional conditions, laws and Indigenous customs and practices need to be considered when choosing and assessing treatment options and practitioner appropriateness.
- We support our PAP trained HI faculty and certified therapists who are currently engaged in legal psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy research and treatment, and remain committed to supporting research, and professional and safe use of psychedelics as a healing modality within legal and ethical frameworks.
- If you have experienced an ethical violation by a Hakomi-trained therapist or practitioner in Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy or guide work, please contact the Hakomi International Ethics Committee (HIEC) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our History with Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy
- In 2021 several articles were published about abuses in the underground psychedelic assisted therapy community. A relationship between the Hakomi Institute and the Center for Consciousness Medicine (CCM) and two of its founders, Aharon Grossbard and Francoise Bourzat, has been named in some of the articles.
- The history of connection between CCM (formerly SCM) and the Hakomi Institute includes the following: Francoise Bourzat was briefly certified as a Hakomi Therapist, and her certification was permanently revoked in 1997 based on multiple ethical violations. She continued to mention Hakomi certification in her bio without our knowledge after she was no longer certified. This has now been corrected. Aharon Grossbard, Francoise Bourzat and CCM referred students to Hakomi Trainings, and a connection between the Hakomi Faculty and CCM existed for a period of a few years when one Hakomi Trainer and two Hakomi Teachers were on the faculty of CCM.
- In 2021 we suspended all formal ties with CCM, and are in an ongoing inquiry about the informal referral of students into our trainings.
Hakomi Institute Position Statement , Version 1.1
29 April 2022
Since our board wrote this statement, they have approved a new Hakomi Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy (HPAP) Training that will launch in the US in June and Australia in November 2024. This training is only open to licensed clinicians with an avenue to do legal psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Hakomi Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy Training (HPAP)
This HPAP training offers a transformative learning journey where the profound wisdom of the Hakomi method converges with the expanding field of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.