The Hakomi Institute, New Zealand
We are part of the International Hakomi Institute based in the United States and have been offering practitioner training, workshops, and supporting the growth of Hakomi in New Zealand and Australia since 1989.
Hakomi Experiential Psychotherapy is a mindfulness-based approach to self-understanding. Mindfulness is not simply part of the ‘tool kit’ in Hakomi, it forms the very foundation of the therapeutic encounter. Much more than a method or set of techniques, Hakomi is a way of looking at the world that is compassionate, mindful, curious, non-invasive, humorous and respectful.
A Professional Training Based on Living Principles
The Hakomi Method was created in the late 1970’s by the therapist and author Ron Kurtz and his colleagues. Hakomi is grounded in a set of living principles: Mindfulness, Non-violence, Unity, Organicity and Mind–Body Holism. A primary goal of the training is for students to embody these principles as a deep and consistent part of who they are and how they work.
Hakomi recognises people as self-organising systems that develop psychologically around core material. Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply held emotional dispositions. This core material shapes the styles, habits, behaviours, perceptions and attitudes that define us as individuals. Some of this core material supports us, while some of it restricts us and Hakomi helps the client to recognize and change these self-limiting patterns.
Hakomi is a Body-Centred, Somatic Psychotherapy
Our body reflects many levels of our inner reality. Our posture and shape, our facial expressions and body nuances, our voice, our style of moving and being, the energetic field that we emanate is all a reflection of our emotions, beliefs and inner experience. Our patterns both physical and psychological have tremendous insight to offer.
Loving Presence and Mindfulness
The Hakomi Method follows a general outline. First, we establish an attitude of gentle acceptance and care known as loving presence. This maximises safety, respect and cooperation of the unconscious. With a good working relationship established, we then help the client focus on and learn how core material shapes his or her experience. To permit this study we establish and use a distinct state of consciousness called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is characterized by a gentle and sustained inward focus of attention, heightened sensitivity and the ability to notice and name the contents of consciousness.
Core material once discovered in this experiential manner can be examined, processed and transformed. Transformation begins when awareness is turned mindfully toward felt, present experience; unconscious material unfolds into consciousness, barriers are attended to and new experiences are integrated that allow for the reorganization of core beliefs and neural patterns. These in turn allow for a greater range of mental, physical and emotional coherence in our response to life.
Finally, we help the client to integrate these new beliefs, possibilities and choices into everyday life. It is here, in the ability to transform these new possibilities into our way of being, that real change happens.
Who can benefit from training in the Hakomi Method?
Practicing therapists, social workers, addiction counsellors and other health care professionals find a new range of mindfulness-based somatic skills and strategies which can increase both effectiveness and depth in working with clients.
For physical therapists and bodywork practitioners, the Hakomi training provides the current neuroscience information and the psychotherapeutic skills to integrate a bodymind approach into their practice.