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Hakomi Therapy Description

* This article is updated daily from Wikipedia. It may contain minor formatting errors.
For the original content and references, click here. Last update: 8/19/2013.

Hakomi therapy is a form of body-centered Somatic Psychology|somatic psychotherapy* developed by Ron Kurtz in the 1970s and furthered by a group led by Kurtz in the 1980s.*

Approach and method

The Hakomi method combines Western psychology, systems theory, and body-centered techniques with the mindfulness and non-violence principles of Eastern philosophy.* Hakomi is grounded in seven principles:
  • Mindfulness (psychology)|mindfulness
  • nonviolence
  • organicity
  • unity
  • body-mind holism
  • truth
  • mutability *The first five principles are set forth in Kurtz's book, Body Centered Psychotherapy. The other two were added later.*Practitioners of Hakomi look at people as self-organizing systems, organized psychologically around core memories, beliefs and images; this core material expresses itself through habits and attitudes that make people individuals. Hakomi is a method for helping people transform their way of being in the world through working with core material and changing core beliefs.*Hakomi relies on mindfulness of body sensations, emotions and memories. It follows this general outline:* #Create healing relationship: Client and therapist work to build a relationship that maximizes safety and the cooperation of the unconscious. #Establish mindfulness: Therapist helps clients study and focus on the ways they organize experience. Hakomi's viewpoint is that most behaviors are habits automatically organized by core material; therefore studying the organization of experience is studying the influence of this core material. #Evoke experience: Client and therapist make direct contact with core feelings, beliefs and memories. #State specific processing: If the client is ready, the therapist helps the client transition to state-specific processing. Hakomi recognizes three such states: #* mindfulness #* strong emotions #* childlike consciousness # Transformation: Client realizes that new healing experiences are possible and begins to have these experiences. # Integration: Client and therapist work to make connections between the new healing experiences and the rest of the client's experiences.

    other components of the Hakomi-Method are: the sensitivity cycle, experiments in mindfulness: like "probes" and "taking over", charactertypology based on Alexander Lowen, creating a "missing experience" and developing a state of mind called "loving presence" towards the client and in general.

    Related therapies

    The Hakomi Institute is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1981, teaching Hakomi Therapy worldwide. It also provides an information center on Hakomi Therapy, and its website includes an international Directory of Practitioners. The institute's programs focus on training psychotherapists and professionals in related fields. Its faculty are mainly professional psychotherapists who continue to refine their teaching of the Hakomi Method based on current discoveries in neuroscience, and what they discovery in their therapeutic work is most effective with clients. The Hakomi Institute is a professional member of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, the U.S. Association for Body Psychotherapists, and an accredited Continuing Education provider for the National Board for Certified Counselors and the National Association of Social Workers.

    Ron Kurtz left the Hakomi Institute in the 1990s to create a new organization, Ron Kurtz Trainings. With a new group, he has developed the method in new directions, a training that is designed for both professionals and laypeople. This new version is now thought of as Mindfulness Based, Assisted Self-Discovery.

    Both versions of the Hakomi Method are based in loving presence, mindfulness, somatics and the other principles described above.

    Another technique based on Hakomi is called Sensorimotor psychotherapy. This technique was developed by Pat Ogden.


  • Further reading

  • The Herald (Plymouth Evening Herald)|The Herald (September 22, 2004) Hakomi is the topic. Page 15.
  • Johanson, Gregory. (June 22, 2006) Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association. *A survey of the use of mindfulness in psychotherapy.* Volume 9; Issue 2; Page 15.
  • Kurtz, Ron (December 28, 2007) 2008 Training Handbook. Available through Ron Kurtz Trainings, Inc.
  • Lauerman, Connie. (November 1, 1994) Chicago Tribune Automatic teller psychotherapy with the Hakomi method, clients trigger their own healing responses. Section: Tempo; Page 1.
  • Marshall, Lisa. (October 15, 2001) Daily Camera The power of touch. Body psychotherapy sees massage, movement as adjunct to counseling. Section: Fit; Page C1
  • Sowers, Leslie. (September 20, 1987) Houston Chronicle Body work terms defined. Section: Lifestyle; Page 1.
  • Sutter, Cindy. (June 21, 2004) Daily Camera Healing the body and the mind Hakomi helps clients heal with mindfulness. Section: Fit; Page D1.
  • See the many editions of the Journal of the Hakomi Institute, the Hakomi Forum, beginning in 1984 that can be downloaded from the *Hakomi Institute website*.


  • Benz, Dyrian and Halko Weiss. To The Core of Your Experience, Luminas Press, 1989, preface by Ron Kurtz.
  • Fisher, Rob. Experiential Psychotherapy With Couples: A Guide for the Creative Pragmatist. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, 2002.
  • Johanson, Greg and Kurtz, Ron. Grace Unfolding, Psychotherapy in the Spirit of the Tao Te Ching, New York: Bell Tower, 1991. German translation is Sanfte Stärke, München: Kösel Verlag, 1993. Also published in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
  • Kurtz, Ron and Prestera, Hector. The Body Reveals: An Illustrated Guide to the Psychology of the Body, New York: Harper&Row/Quicksilver Books, 1976. German translation: Botschaften des Körpers, München: Kösel Verlag, 1979.
  • Kurtz, Ron: Hakomi Therapy, Boulder, CO: 1983. German translation: Körperzentrierte Psychotherapie, Essen: Synthesis Verlag, 1985.
  • Kurtz, Ron: Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method. Mendecino: LifeRhythm, 1990. German translation: Hakomi, München: Kösel Verlag, 1994.
  • Marlock, Gustl and Halko Weiss. Handbuch der Körperpsychotherapie, Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag, 2006.
  • Weiss, Halko and Dyrian Benz. Auf den Körper hören: Hakomi-Psychotherapie, eine praktische Einführung, München: Kösel Verlag, 1987, preface by Ron Kurtz.


  • Caldwell, Christine, ed. Getting in Touch: The Guide to New Body-Centered Therapies. Wheaton: Quest Books, 1997. See ch. 3 by Ron Kurtz and Kukuni Minton on "Essentials of Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy", pp. 45–60, and ch. 9 by Pat Ogden on"Hakomi Integrated Somatics: Hands-On Psychotherapy", pp. 153–178.
  • Capuzzi, David and Douglas Gross, eds. Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theories and Interventions. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall, 2003: See Donna M. Roy "Body-Centered Counseling and Psychotherapy", pp. 360–389.
  • Cole, J. David and Carol Ladas-Gaskin. Mindfulness Centered Therapies: An Integrative Approach. Seattle, WA: Silver Birch Press, 2007.
  • Menkin, Dan. Transformation through Bodywork: Using Touch Therapies for Inner Peace. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Bear & Company, 1996. See especially ch. 15 on "The Tao Te Ching and the Principle of Receptivity", pp. 119–128.
  • Morgan, Marilyn. The Alchemy of Love: Personal Growth Journeys in Psychotherapy Training. VDM Publishing|VDM Verlag, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2008.
  • Schaefer, Charles E., ed. Innovative Interventions in Child and Adolescent Therapy. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1988. See Greg Johanson and Carol Taylor, "Hakomi Therapy with Seriously Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents," pp. 232–265.
  • Staunton, Tree. Body Psychotherapy. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002. See Philippa Vick, "Psycho-Spiritual Body Psychotherapy", pp. 133–147.
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    * This article is updated daily from Wikipedia. It may contain minor formatting errors.
    For the original content and references, click here. Last update: 8/19/2013.

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