The Hakomi Principles: A mindful path towards personal transformation

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The Hakomi Principles: A mindful path towards personal transformation

I discovered the Hakomi therapy model while I was studying at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH) in 2002. I personally experienced clinical work using this powerful but gentle therapeutic modality. The gift of the Hakomi work is the ability to connect body and mind simultaneously in the process of healing and transformation. After graduating, from BBSH, I completed training in Hakomi therapy as part of a three-year professional development program at the META Institute in Portland OR.

Hakomi is a mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapy method developed in the 1970’s by Ron Kurtz. The Hakomi method combines Western and Eastern philosophy and is grounded in the five principles listed below. The universality of these principles leads to their application in both interpersonal relationships and in the process of therapeutic interaction between a therapist and client, which is a unique and trusting form of interpersonal relationship.

I encourage you to review these principles. The embodiment of these principles helps individuals cultivate and maintain healthier relationships. I recommend, during times of conflict in your life, to review these principles and see if there are elements that are divergent from these principles that may contribute to the conflict you seek to resolve.

These principles are directly referenced from the Hakomi Institute:

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for helping you study the organization of your experience. It is an exploratory, relaxed and alert, meditative (though non-hypnotic), state of consciousness, which allows you to move beyond your normal, habitual thoughts and actions to the often richly non-verbal intuitions of your deeper state. The process also supports the mobilization of your essential or core selves, which have a presence, centeredness, compassion, and wisdom that transcends the limitations of your historical experience.

Non-Violence is a principle that promotes safe, non-forceful, cooperative exploration through honoring the signs and signals of our organic processes, especially those that manifest as “resistance.” In contrast to confronting or overpowering such “defenses,” the Hakomi methodology respects and literally supports such occurrences, which then allows them to be befriended for the wisdom they contain, and willingly yielded with appropriate.

The principle of Mind-Body Integration affirms that mind and body jointly manifest and reflect the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world, which in turn organize how we creatively experience and express ourselves in life. Hakomi has many ways of exploring the mind-body connection to help bring to awareness this somatic material, and the core beliefs and experiences that generate it.

The Unity principle assumes that, as people, we are living, organic systems that are integral wholes, composed of parts, which also participate in larger systems. The interdependency of all levels of the system, included the physical/metabolic, interpersonal, family, cultural, and spiritual are taken seriously in Hakomi.

Organicity assumes that when all the parts are communicating within the whole, the system is self-directing and self-correcting, and has an inner wisdom of its own. In Hakomi we support our clients’ organic unfolding toward wholeness, and trust that this is the direction that their system will naturally seek. Rather than imposing their own agenda, the therapist works cooperatively with the client’s system.

I’d love to hear about your personal relationship with these principles. Are there certain principles that come more naturally to you? Do you find others more difficult to integrate or embody? Are you able to identify a specific type of support that would be helpful to you? Please feel free to share in the comments below.



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