Thank you for your interest in The Hakomi Method. For those of you just learning about Hakomi, please let me give you an orientation to the work.
First of all, a Hakomi session has a certain feel. It’s internal, yet relational; it’s relaxed, yet focused. There is an atmosphere of acceptance and a sense of flow. The body is respected as a source of information about the psyche.
Our founder, Ron Kurtz, described Hakomi as ‘assisted self-study in mindfulness’. So, clients slow down and turn inward. They are also encouraged to follow their own curiosity and to connect with their own inner wisdom. There are many theories and techniques in Hakomi, but compassionate presence is the foundation of the work.
Our therapeutic approach rests in non-violence. “…good therapy avoids triggering the need to resist. For that, a warm, accepting emotional attitude [on the part of the therapist] is essential, especially accepting of the [client’s] defenses and the strong need for safety and control that the defenses represent.” – Ron Kurtz, Founder of the Hakomi Method
About Hakomi’s Unique Use of Mindfulness…
I remember when I first studied Hakomi with Ron Kurtz back in 1982. He offered the class an archetypal image of a still pond with a placid surface as a symbol for a person’s consciousness while in mindfulness. One of our tasks as Hakomi practitioners, he explained, was to help our clients know how to become mindful; a state which was at once self-observing and deeply self-accepting. The Hakomi method was about lowering internal noise in order to notice what was really occurring all the time. This idea had been around for centuries of course in the meditation communities of the world, but here was Ron talking about its utility in a counseling session. That application was revolutionary to me. He further explained that once the client is in mindfulness, we could offer something potentially nourishing (a simple phrase like, “you are welcome here”, for example) and then observe how the client organized around it. Did the client receive the nourishment or did they habitually keep it out? How did the client’s body respond? Ron said that these therapeutic interventions were analogous to a smooth stone being tossed into the quiet pond. Together the client and practitioner could study the unique ripples that emanated outward. These ripples in the body and mind were indicators of deeper patterns, Ron continued, and that was exactly where we wanted to go in session. The image of a serene pond with rippling circles of water has remained to this day as a potent symbol of the Hakomi approach for me. There are other guiding principles in the work, of course, but mindfulness is key.
Gregory Gaiser, Hakomi Trainer, Austin, TX