Hakomi

Hakomi is a method of Somatic Psychotherapy and Mindfulness-Based Assisted Self-Discovery. Based on a trust that every individual has inner wisdom and the power for self-healing, Hakomi uses mindfulness, non-violence and the body to facilitate personal growth and transformation. Developed by Ron Kurtz in the 1970s, Hakomi draws upon systems theory, character typology, neuroscience, eastern spiritual philosophy and the western tradition of body-centered psychotherapies. It recognizes that mind and body jointly express and reflect our most deeply held beliefs about self and the outside world.

Hakomi explores this mind/body connection to bring our core, usually unconscious beliefs to conscious awareness. From the body’s structure, tensions, movements, sensations and impulses, we gain information about our self-image and general way of being in the world. This exploration takes place in a special state of consciousness called mindfulness. Easily available to almost everyone, it is a state in which one not only has experiences, but is also able “to stand outside” and notice his/her experience. Applying mindfulness to in-the-moment perception, we are able to search gently beneath our emotional attitudes and behaviour patterns to find the basic images, memories and beliefs which shape the various aspects our experience.

Avoiding problem-solving or advice-giving, emphasis is on reevaluating these old, limiting beliefs and, often, the childhood events that created them. We may then choose new, more satisfying options and actively incorporate them into our everyday lives. Such self-study requires an environment of safety, and Hakomi is explicit in creating such an environment. We do this by proceeding slowly and gently, within a context of loving presence and non-judgement, and by continually protecting the client’s spirit. Defenses and resistance, for example, are examined, appreciated and invited to contribute, rather than confronted or overpowered. This attitude of respect we call non-violence. In this atmosphere, client and therapist may best cooperate, and powerful learning and change become possible.

Assisting Ron Kurtz at a 10-day retreat in Oct. 1979