Monday, January 15, 2007

Hakomi Therapy - Mind, Body, Heart

“How do you stand in relation to these many realms?” This is the literal translation of the Hopi word Hakomi, the name adopted by Ron Kurtz for a psychotherapy technique developed by him and his staff in 1980. A more modern translation might be “Who are you?” The Hakomi Method is an efficient and powerful process for discovering and then studying mind/body patterns and core beliefs as you experience them (

Hakomi is a unique form psychotherapy that honors the interconnectedness of body, mind and heart. Drawing on concepts and techniques from Buddhism to Neurolinguistic Programming, and based on the precept that we all have innate wisdom and goodness, Hakomi provides a nonjudgemental and nourishing environment for exploring the self at a natural pace. The basic structure of Hakomi is 1) the establishment of a client-therapist relationship that allows the client to feel safe to honestly and fully explore their own experience, 2) careful observation of present life experiences, including body awareness, in a way that leads to the discovery of core material, and 3) willing modification and healing of core material to enhance growth and wholeness.

The following passage from the Hakomi Institute website describes the essential concept of core material. Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns, and deeply held emotional dispositions. This material shapes the styles, habits, behaviors, perceptions, physical postures and attitudes which define us as individuals. Our responses to the major themes of life--safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, responsibility, appreciation, sexuality, spirituality, etc.—are all organized by our core material.

Some of this core material is helpful to us. Some, the result of difficult experience or trauma, limits our access to the person we want to be. Hakomi is a gentle yet profoundly powerful way to transform and heal. Visit the Hakomi Institute website ( to find a Hakomi therapist near you.


pseudotom hanks said...

Thanks for sharing this. I find this very interesting, and it seems to resonate in my life.

I DID have bad luck, however, when I called the only local Hakomi Guy in my neck of the woods, and he kind of blew me off.

But, I, so far have had good success from a knowledgeable and helpful friend who fills me in on many aspects of this, and I thank you for referring us here to the official web site, where we can all learn more.

dr peg said...

pseudotom - I'm so sorry a Hakomi guy "blew you off!" Sounds like bad chemistry. Was that recently? If not, you might check the website again and see if there are new therapists listed. It's a growing (and wonderful) school of thought and practice.

Friends are great, but the real Hakomi deal is much better.

pseudotom hanks said...

It was about a year and a half ago, over the phone. He asked me a few questions over the phone, I asked HIM a few questions over the phone, and he politely suggested I explore other options, and call him back in the future if other doors were closed.

He didn't sound very friendly or open to me, and I wouldn't call him back, even if hell's door was frozen over, just from the vibes I picked up from the guy.

I know it's definitely NOT what Hakomi's about, but, unfortunately, he was the only Hakomi Game in my town.

You're right, this was so long ago, perhaps there could be others listed in my local area.

This guy just didn't sound very friendly or open; very UNlike what I've read and heard about therapists of this genre.

dr peg said...

pseudotom - It does indeed sound like you got a Hakomi "lemon" on the phone back then. Very unlike the stated style and usual warmth of Hakomi therapists.

Case in point: I saw my own Hakomi therapist yesterday (this is why I promote this style so enthusiastically; it has worked wonders for me) and we addressed the departure from the nest of my oldest child, my daughter who has moved from our house to a college dorm a mile away. I had resisted my own feelings of loss and grief, judging them as "silly" because she only moved a mile away, for goodness sakes. But my therapist helped me slow my brain down, listen to my body, and really get in touch with some deep maternal feelings about this life passage, which she honored as important and real. She has created a totally safe "space" for me, in which no feeling or thought is "silly" or irrelevant or judged in any way. A true therapeutic environment, in which growth is bound to happen. Once you really feel what you are feeling, you can incorporate it into your -- I dunno, your being I guess-- and move on.

Long story, but I just want folks reading this to know that your brush with Hakomi was unfortunately atypical, and to share my own satisfaction and joy with it.

Good luck. Again, I'd encourage you to look at the website again if you have any interest.

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