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Hakomi Mallorca | About the training
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About the training

A Mindfulness Centered Approach

Introduction

Hakomi is a  distinctive body-inclusive psychotherapy developed by Ron Kurtz and members of his original training team. More than a method or set of techniques, Hakomi is a way of looking at the world that is compassionate, mindful, curious, non-invasive and respectful.

First and foremost, Hakomi is a mindfulness-centered approach. Mindfulness is an ancient tool that trains attention and promotes a compassionate, non-judgmental attitude. An important feature of mindfulness is the cultivation of an “internal observer,” which has strong integrating features. The observer enables clients to work with emotionally charged memories without being flooded.

Since the late 1960s, when Kurtz pioneered the use of mindfulness in psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness has been used in Hakomi to establish an attuned healing relationship, access deeper psychic structures and promote transformation. The Indigenous American Hopi Nation meaning of Hakomi – ‘How do you stand in relation to these many realms?’ (or more colloquially, ‘Who are you?’) reflects the method’s fundamental emphasis on awareness and self-observation.

Origins of the Work

Hakomi provides a unique framework on healing and growth, incorporating elements of the wisdom traditions of the East, contemporary body-psychotherapy and the new sciences. A major influence has also been General Systems Theory, which views individuals as self-organizing systems that contain their own blueprints for growing and becoming. The Method, itself, continues to grow and evolve, readily absorbing new ideas and influences. For example, aspects of interpersonal neurobiology and attachment theory have been incorporated into the curriculum, along with research findings on the effects of attention on learning and change. The faculty also utilize diverse teaching methods to accommodate a wide range of learning styles.

The Principles

Hakomi Experiential Psychotherapy is based on five principles: mindfulness, non-violence, unity, organicity and mind-body holism. These principles can be viewed as resources the therapist draws on to cultivate an attuned and compassionate healing presence. The principles undergird the overall method, which is based on collaboration with the client and trust in the client’s ability to spontaneously self-correct.

The Work is Inherently Flexible

Hakomi is effective with individuals, couples, families and groups and blends well with other modalities, such as expressive arts, pastoral care and body work. As a method, it is appropriate for various therapeutic situations, but finds its fullest potential in supporting personal and transpersonal growth.

Studying the Organization of Experience

Hakomi clients are encouraged to study the organization of their experience – how they meet the world, what kind of world they perceive , what unconscious beliefs they hold about themselves and so on. Becoming aware of these “core organizers” creates opportunities for change, particularly of the implicit models that shape emotional reality in painful and limiting ways.

Hakomi Therapists Learn To:

  • Follow the flow of the client’s present experiences (tracking);
  • Name these experiences to demonstrate to the client (especially the client’s unconscious mind) that we’re “getting it” (contact and acknowledgement);
  • Detect and adjust to the client’s unconscious needs;
  • Help manage the client’s consciousness towards increasing mindfulness;
  • Use our expertise on how to explore and dialog with the unconscious to access inborn blueprints for growth and change, rather than determining where the process should go and what changes are needed;
  • Reflect upon the early experiences and resulting beliefs that may have led this person to organize his or her experience in the ways it is being organized;
  • Create little experiments, like “probes” and “taking over” (which evoke and access character material) to test our hypotheses, explore implicit realities and evoke memories and emotions that bring this material into consciousness;
  • Work with the emotions, body sensations, images, impulses, movements, memories, etc. that are evoked in mindfulness, by supporting spontaneous management behavior and by creating secondary experiments to promote learning;
  • Seek to discover and provide, while neural patterns are activated in mindfulness, nourishing experiences that were once missing in the client’s life and are now filtered out by limiting beliefs and related habits of perception;
  • Direct the client’s attention to these experiences while he or she is in a mindful state to support integration;
  • Help transfer corrective experiences offered in therapy to the client’s daily life.