Hakomi therapy combines a number of different principles and styles, merging Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Taoism with other body-centric therapies Developed by Ron Kurtz in the late 1970s.

What Hakomi Therapy Can Help With

Body-centered psychotherapies like Hakomi have shown efficacy in specific mental health conditions. Furthermore, they may also be beneficial in other scenarios.

  • Couples work
  • Parenting 
  • Family dynamics
  • Spiritual studies
  • Multiculturalism
  • Business consulting
  • Gender issues

Techniques in Hakomi Therapy

It is based on four different components:

  • Contact: This is a process in which the practitioner seeks to create and establish a comfortable and safe environment for the client. A safe environment is one where the patient is more willing to participate.
  • Accessing: Accessing is the stage of the session where mindfulness is used to discover unconsciously held beliefs. The therapist can help create a mindful state by asking the patient to notice what they are feeling.
  • Processing: In this phase, the therapist examines the patient’s experiences and responses and aids in creating new experiences. It is here that somatic experiencing is used to go deeper into images and sensations. At this time, therapists may use “experiments” to create an element of self-awareness in the patient. For example, a therapist might ask, “What happens inside you when you hear, ‘you are safe here’?” This aids in eliciting a response internally from the client, giving them a chance to explore what they are feeling and experiencing.
  • Integration: The therapist works with the client to unpack and make sense of the discoveries from the session and to assist in making new connections. Integration is a chance to offer practical advice on how this newfound information can be beneficial in the real world.
Hakomi Hakomi method

Principles of Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi therapy is directed by a series of core principles designed to aid both the therapist and the client:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness refers to a state of presence and inward focus. The intention of generating this state is to aid the client in identifying the sensations that they are experiencing. This state of mindfulness can aid in bringing unconscious things to consciousness.
  • Organicity: According to Hakomi therapy, as organic beings, humans are inherently able to self-correct and to heal. Hakomi therapists are simply there to help aid in this natural healing process that already exists in all human beings.
  • Nonviolence: The principle of nonviolence is two-pronged. It refers to the therapist allowing the session’s process to unfold naturally without interference. It also refers to the Hakomi approach of not perceiving defenses or other barriers as something to be forcefully removed, instead they are to be viewed as defenses designed to protect the individual.
  • Mind-body integration: Mind-body integration refers to the idea that body, mind and soul all combine and work in tandem to influence an individual’s perception of themselves, others and the world that they inhabit. One of these parts is no more influential than the other and so it is important to examine all three to understand a person and their beliefs.
  • Unity: Unity is the view of the patient being comprised of interdependent parts. All of these parts exist to make up the whole person.

Benefits of Hakomi Therapy

There isn’t much research about Hakomi therapy, there are benefits:

  • Increased body awareness:This may be helpful for trauma survivors who perhaps hold tension in certain areas of their body.
  • Improved therapeutic awareness: This means that it can help patients be more aware and in-the-moment during their therapy sessions. this can make talk therapy much more effective, and can help patients feel more present.
  • Increased comfort around others: Since this therapy uses touch, many practitioners have found that the hands-on approach improves patients’ comfort-level around others. This is particularly important for some that have experienced trauma or abuse and may have trouble connecting.

How to Get Hakomi Therapy

People interested in pursuing Hakomi therapy can find a directory of practitioners at Hakomi Institute.