What is Hakomi Therapy?

By April 30, 2015

Today’s psychology focus is on Hykomi Therapy. You will love this approach if:

  • You have psychosomatic symptoms that can not be explained medically.
  • You enjoy the mindfulness practices of eastern philosophy.
  • You like body-centered, hands-on techniques for exploring the unconscious.
  • You desire a more direct and organized approach to resolving deep patterns you wish to change.
  • You wish to learn how your mind affects the physical patterns in your body.

hakomi-therapyHakomi Therapy is a form of mindfulness-centered somatic psychotherapy developed by the late Ron Kurtz in the 1970s as part of the Human Potential Movement.

The Hakomi Method regards people as self-organizing systems, organized psychologically around core memories, beliefs and images. This core material expresses itself through habits and attitudes that tend to guide people unconsciously.

Hakomi is a method for helping people discover and recognize these patterns. The goal is to transform their way of being in the world through working with core material and changing core beliefs.

The method is guided by five principles embodied by the therapist:

mindfulness – being present to both conscious and unconscious material
nonviolence – directing the change process without forcing it
organicity – attentiveness to the flow of the change process
unity – seeing yourself as a series of systems that interconnect
body-mind holism –  tracking the relationship between thought and physical sensations, and the pattern that connects them

What happens in a Hakomi Therapy counseling session?

Using gentle somatic and verbal techniques, the therapist accesses your deeper experience behind what is being verbalized in an effort to reveal chronic physical patterns, habitual gestures, and bodily tension.

Based on your specific needs, the therapist will use a variety of tools, such as:

“contact and tracking” – witnessing both verbal, physical and emotional cues for patterns
“probes” – verbal prompts to access more unconscious materials
“taking over” – touching the body to mimic muscle tightening or other sensations

As emotions and/or memories surface from the unconscious, the therapist utilizes emotional release techniques to process strong feelings.

As core beliefs emerge, the therapist often provides “the missing experience,” where you revisits the negative experience(s) that generated the core belief, and receive the corrective nourishment and support that was needed at the time.

Character typology, originated by Alexander Lowen, is taught and considered for “missing” aspects of your wholeness.

Resources for further exploration

Body Centered Psychotherapy, The Hakomi Method, Ron Kurtz. LifeRhythm 1990. To order this book directly from the publisher, call (707) 937-1825.

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