Learn more about Hakomi

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Hakomi: Mindfulness somatic psychotherapy

Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychology offers an elegant, comprehensive, and uniquely effective approach to psychotherapy, growth and change. Originated by Ron Kurtz in the early 1980s, Hakomi integrates Eastern principles of nonviolence and mindfulness with a comprehensive and experiential body-centred methodology. The Hakomi Institute has further developed these innovative techniques in response to ongoing discoveries in neuroscience and other fields related to our work.

For 40 years, Hakomi has pioneered the psychodynamic use of mindfulness in the therapeutic process. Instead of using mindfulness as an adjunct to therapy, a significant portion of each Hakomi session is conducted with the client in mindfulness. This profoundly deepens the client’s ability to recognize and work with emotionally-charged psychological material.

Hakomi practitioners use the body as a map of the psyche – a door that can be gently opened to surface clients’ implicit memories and reveal their entire unconscious belief system. The body’s structures and habitual patterns, such as gestures and posture, become powerful indicators that provide subtle access routes to evocative unconscious core material.

Hakomi’s integration of mindfulness and somatics creates an experiential route to the precise psychological core material at the root of clients’ unwanted psychological patterns and behaviour. This deepens therapy beyond insight and words, allowing us to access the unconscious “blueprints” and early experiences that invisibly guide our clients’ lives, relationships, and self-perceptions.

Attachment issues and the experiences that created them are often strong components of core material, and Hakomi is particularly effective in working with these. When unconscious, this hidden core material creates projections, conflict and disharmony in our relationships and inner lives. Once conscious and directly experienced, these patterns are available for transformation and reintegration.

Hakomi is paradoxically powerful: it is gentle and nonviolent yet yields dramatic and rapid results. Its highly experiential approach evokes a deep “felt sense” that allows clients to take genuine ownership of their core material, its transformation, and resulting changes. Hakomi embraces Frieda Fromm Reichman’s belief that “the patient needs an experience, not an explanation.”

The healing relationship is also central to Hakomi. Although research has shown that the practitioner’s inner state is one of the most significant factors impacting therapeutic success, few healing methods address the practitioner’s inner development sufficiently. By intentionally shifting into expanded states of consciousness like mindfulness and loving presence, Hakomi practitioners develop an exquisite sensitivity and attunement to others.

Current neuroscience research has confirmed the basis for many foundational aspects of Hakomi, including the effectiveness of mindfulness, loving presence, empathic attunement, limbic resonance, and memory reconsolidation. As we work with core developmental trauma, Hakomi provides what Ron Kurtz called the “missing experience”, a deep and transformational process for the client. This profoundly moving experience heals developmental trauma by rewiring neural pathways and reconsolidating implicit memories in ways that can support the individual to open to new and more satisfying experiences.

Hakomi can be combined with a wide spectrum of therapeutic approaches. It’s effective for both brief and long-term therapy in a wide range of applications, including working with individuals, couples, groups and organizations.

Introduction to the Hakomi Method by the founder Ron Kurtz

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