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Hakomi Therapy is a system of body-centered psychotherapy which is based on the principles of mindfulness, nonviolence, and the unity of mind and body. It was developed by Ron Kurtz and others at the Hakomi Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Hakomi Therapy is based on a few key assumptions:

  • As we develop from infancy to childhood to adulthood, we organize our experiences by apply meaning to them, to the world, and to our selves;
  • These organizational decisions come to operate as unconscious "core beliefs" about the world and our place in it which govern how we think, feel, develop, act, respond, and create;
  • These core beliefs limit our ability to function spontaneously and to live effectively through systematic, characterological habits which we originally created to avoid feeling a lack of safety, affection, attention, or approval; and
  • The purpose of therapy is to become fully human, alive, spontaneous, open-hearted and caring, with the ability to be equally effective acting in interpendence with the world or autonomously.

Hakomi emphasizes a number of principles for human interaction, particularly therapeutic or healing interaction. Some of these include mindfulness, nonviolence, and unity of mind and body.

Mindfulness means looking inward, being aware of feelings and sensations in this present moment, with confidence that in each present moment we have a living example of how we habitually organize our minds, bodies, and worlds. By attending meditatively to current mental and physical experience, we illuminate unconscious processes with new awareness which accesses and changes the deeply held unconscious beliefs that drive our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

Nonviolence means accepting with compassion that our defense mechanisms arose naturally out of a desire to avoid pain. By supporting defenses, by going slowly, and by avoiding judgments, we make space for a natural unfolding of a very personal and powerful healing process.

Unity of mind and body means that our painful experiences are "somaticized," or incorporated into our bodies in the form of habitual muscular tensions, restricted movements, and energy restrictions. This physical armoring serves as an anchor for the unconscious core beliefs that govern and limit our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Hakomi therapists use special techniques to access this unconscious information, and help clients process it toward improved self-understanding.

As a Feldenkrais practitioner as well as a Hakomi Therapist, I tend to include many "Hakomi-like" suggestions in my Flowing Body, Flexible Mind Feldenkrais lessons, available on audiotape. These include invitations to focus awareness on feelings, moods, and attitudes, and how these are inseparable from our ability to move more easily and comfortably.

Hakomi techniques are exceptionally effective tools for following bodily tensions, feelings, and sensations to the unconscious beliefs and attitudes that drive our behavior and limit our responses; our bodies are literally imprisoned in the armor of our unconscious defenses. Feldenkrais lessons are then a powerful, enjoyable way to reorganize our bodies, minds, and lives to be less armored, more comfortable, and more spontaneous and effective in our actions and interactions.

Rich Frye
2072 Granger Way
Lummi Island, WA 98262