What is Hakomi?
Hakomi is a gentle yet powerful experiential psychotherapy that uses mindfulness and somatic interventions to support healing and growth.
The method builds around a safe and attuned therapeutic relationship.
Within this relationship, we engage in a shared exploration of the client’s inner world, using techniques unique to Hakomi that incorporate mindfulness and the body.
The therapist functions as a compassionate guide, helping clients explore the effect of their past experiences on their present concerns.
The personhood of the therapist is vital in Hakomi, and so is working in accord with the principles.
A living system can honor its inner wisdom only when its parts are connected. Therefore, we foster communication between internal parts and the larger systems to which they belong.
We try to explore and understand what is before changing anything. Then, we help clients cultivate a state of non-judging awareness to support self-knowledge and self-compassion.
Making friends with the client’s protective parts is essential for psychodynamic work. Instead of trying to break through resistance, we honor and support the wisdom of defenses.
We create an environment that allows clients to access their unique path for growing and becoming rather than following a specific treatment plan.
As body and mind jointly express our deepest beliefs about life, we use “bottom-up” processes (i.e., from sensing to meaning) to access our clients’ embodied knowing.
“Hakomi” means “How do you stand in relation to these many realms?” (or, more colloquially, “Who are you?”) according to the Indigenous American Hopi Nation.
The meaning of Hakomi reflects the method’s fundamental emphasis on awareness and self-
The method draws from general systems theory and modern body-centered therapies. Core concepts of gentleness, nonviolence, compassion, and mindfulness evolved from Buddhism and Taoism.
More than our clients' stories, we are interested in how clients organize their experiences (i.e., feelings, memories, thoughts, the body) in chronic and limiting ways.
By turning attention inside toward bodily experiences, memories and unexpressed longings unfold quickly into consciousness.
Then, through experiments and guided self-study, clients observe how their limiting beliefs shape their feelings and behaviors outside of awareness.
Only after appreciating the deeper meaning and purpose of their limiting beliefs, the therapist offers missing experiences to transform early imprints that block the fulfillment of the client’s essential needs.
Hakomi Therapists Learn To:
- Follow the flow of the client’s present experience
- Detect and adjust to the client’s unconscious needs
- Use mindfulness to evoke implicit memories and emotions
- Create little experiments, like “Probes” and “Taking over,” to access early formative experiences and resulting beliefs
- Discover and provide “missing experiences” crafted with and for the client
- Support integration of these experiences to promote core level transformation
Mindfulness requires an accepting attitude on the part of the client and consequently on the therapist's part. An emphasis on what needs to change destroys the quiet and curious observation of what is happening inside.
Core Teaching Values
All minds learn differently. Therefore, our programs incorporate lectures, experiential activities, demonstrations, and group reflections to accommodate various learning styles.
As an institute, we are actively committed to increasing our leadership, faculty, and community diversity and working to center and learn from marginalized perspectives.
Healthy groups nourish their members. Therefore, in our courses, we balance our learning goals with our group members’ needs and the unfolding process among the trainees.
We strive to meet all participants with curiosity and respect. Towards that end, we value the varied experiences people arrive with and their unique ways of being.
We combine ancient wisdom with modern teaching methods and delivery models to continually evolve our programs and better serve our global learning community.