What is Hakomi Psychotherapy?


Hakomi is a Hopi Indian word which means “Who am I in relation to these many realms?”  In more modern words this would mean “Who are you?”

In Hakomi therapy we work to discover deeply held and often limiting unconscious beliefs. Hakomi is a gentle yet powerful method of assisted self-study and discovery.  We do this by mindfully following feelings, sensations and thoughts.  We include the signals of our body as a reflection of our unconscious and past.

Based on a trust that everyone has the inner wisdom and power for self-healing, the Hakomi method of therapy uses mindfulness, non-violence, and body awareness to facilitate personal growth and transformation.

How Does Hakomi Work?

Recognizing that mind and body jointly express and reflect deep held beliefs about ourself and the outside world, Hakomi explores this mind/body connection to bring out unconscious beliefs.  A Hakomi session usually begins by taking a moment to breathe and settle into a more mindful, aware state.  The therapeutic process includes talking while interweaving mindfulness and body awareness.  The therapist encourages the client to explore his/her body reactions to topics and things that have come up in conversation.   There may be tension in the neck or shoulders, contraction in the stomach, a pain in the heart or maybe nothing at all.  Whatever comes up is precious information that leads the client closer to his/her  truth.  Because the method is based on mindfulness as a direct route to the unconscious, it is faster than other methods.  It works directly with nonverbal expressions and does not rely on conversation, analysis or explanation.   Mindfulness applied in present experience allows the client to gently search to find the basic images memories, and beliefs which shape his/her experience.  This provides a pathway, invites and allows fuller self-understanding and to translate that into meaningful change, greater freedom and effectiveness for life.  Usually every session brings about a significant new truth.



Hakomi is based upon five principles:

Text in italics is excerpted from Body-Centered Psychotherapy:
The Hakomi Method
 by Ron Kurtz.   )

Organicity refers to the natural rhythm, wisdom and unfolding of things for each individual. Healing is an act of self-recreation… The principle of organicity asserts our respect for life and our faith in the healing power of the individual. It creates an atmosphere of freedom, self-determination and responsibility for the client and it allows the therapist to act and feel more like a healer than a mechanic.

Mindfulness is a practice of turning our attention inward with a receptive attitude. We deliberately decide to observe present experience without interfering with it. Mindfulness begins…with a preference for tasting over doing, a preference for noticing, how one is being touched and moved in consciousness, how one is organizing one’s experience. Mindfulness finds its roots in meditative traditions such as Buddhistm. Mark Epstein (author of Thoughts Without a Thinker) has said that psychotherapy is a “two-person meditation.”  

Non-Violence is born of an attitude of acceptance and an active attention to the ways events naturally unfold.  Non-violence guides me, as the therapist, to respect your experience and deep wisdom, rather than giving you advice or having my own agenda.  In Hakomi, we do not oppose the client’s efforts to manage her experience; we support these (“defenses”) in an effort to give the client a safe and controlled way to explore the experiences more deeply and completely…by gaining the cooperation of the unconscious and following and supporting the client’s own pace and process, we create a situation where those experiences that need and want to happen have their natural place.

Mind-Body Holism – mind and body influence each other, therefore in therapy, we attempt to work constantly at the “mind-body interface.”  We carefully observe how limiting patterns show themselves in the body.

Unity refers to our shared humanity as client and therapist, to our interconnection as human beings, the world, and the universe at large  Unity also speaks to an important goal of therapy: inviting all our parts into the dance toward wholeness.  The Unity principle states that the universe is fundamentally a web of relationships in which all aspects and components are inseparable from the whole and do not exist in isolation…We embrace IUnity) when our way is acceptance and curiosity; when our goal is to bring together all aspects of the person:   mind/mind, mind/body and self/universe; when we know as part of our being that we are connected, to each other and this world. That knowing is the healing power of this work.