Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi therapy

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Hakomi therapy is a form of psychotherapy that promotes healing and growth through the integration of mind, body, and emotions. This approach can be applied in various settings to address a wide range of issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship problems, and personal growth.

What Is Hakomi Therapy?

Hakomi Therapy is a form of body-centered 1 psychotherapy that uses mindfulness to emphasize the exploration of unconscious patterns and beliefs through the therapist and client working together to access and investigate bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts. It uses a non-invasive and gentle approach that can be effective in addressing the impacts of trauma on the mind and body.

The term “Hakomi” was coined by Ron Kurtz 2, and comes from the Hopi Indian language, which means “Who are you?” or “How do you stand in relation to these many realms?”. During Hakomi therapy, the therapist supports the client’s exploration with compassion and curiosity, while maintaining a sense of safety and containment.

The therapist may also use somatic techniques 3 such as gentle touch, breathing, or body movements to help the client connect in processing their experiences.

History of Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi Therapy emerged in the 1970s, developed by Ron Kurtz 4, who was a psychotherapist and trainer in Gestalt therapy. Kurtz’s work was informed by his deep engagement with Eastern spirituality 5, including Buddhism and Taoism, as well as a range of body-centered psychotherapies 6 of mindfulness, and psychomotor therapy.

Kurtz initially trained a small group of therapists in the Hakomi approach, and over time, the therapy gained popularity among psychotherapists and clients.

He believed that conventional talk therapy did not fully address the complexity of human experience and that deeper levels of healing required an experiential approach that integrates body, mind, and emotions.

Read More About Psychotherapy Here

Core Principles Of Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi Therapy is guided by five core principles 7, including:

1. Mindfulness

The therapist and client work together to bring present-moment awareness to the client’s experience. Through mindfulness 8, the client can access and explore unconscious patterns and beliefs that may be helping in their growth and well-being.

Read More About Mindfulness Here

2. Organicity

Organicity refers to the idea that change happens naturally and spontaneously 9 when the conditions are right. In Hakomi Therapy, the therapist aims to create the conditions for change by supporting the client’s present-moment awareness and helping them connect with their inner wisdom.

3. Nonviolence

The therapist aims to create a safe and supportive environment for the client which emphasizes cooperation and respect between the therapist and the individual. The therapist works with compassion and curiosity, rather than judgment or criticism 10, to help the client move towards greater healing and growth.

4. Mind-Body Connection

The mind and body are seen as interconnected 11 in Hakomi Therapy. The therapist helps the client connect with their bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts to access unconscious patterns and beliefs.

5. Unity

Unity refers to the idea that everything is interconnected and interdependent. In Hakomi therapy, the therapist and client work together to explore the client’s inner world 12 and their relationship with the world around them. By exploring these connections, the client can gain greater insight and healing.

How Does Hakomi Therapy Work?

Every Hakomi-trained practitioner should follow four techniques 13, which involve:

1. Contact

Creating a safe and comfortable 14 environment for the client to participate in therapy.

2. Accessing

The therapist facilitates mindfulness 15 to help clients become aware of their unconscious beliefs, emotions, and sensations. This involves guiding the client to focus on their present-moment experience and observe any arising thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations.

3. Processing

During the processing phase, the therapist explores the client’s experiences and responses and helps to create new experiences. Somatic experiencing is used to delve deeper into the client’s sensations and images, allowing the client to explore their internal experiences and gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and beliefs 16.

4. Integration

Integration is the final phase, where the therapist helps the client apply the insights gained in therapy to their activities of daily life. This may include offering practical suggestions, identifying negative patterns of thoughts, and supporting personal growth. By integrating what they learned, clients can continue to improve their well-being 17.

Effectiveness Of Hakomi Therapy On Mental Health Functioning

Research suggests that Hakomi Therapy can be effective in promoting well-being 18 and adequate mental health functioning. Some of the beneficial ways of Hakomi therapy include:

  1. Hakomi therapy can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression 6, as well as improvements in overall psychological functioning.
  2. Hakomi therapy emphasizes mindfulness 19 and body awareness, which can be helpful for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder 20 (PTSD), to access and process their traumatic experiences.
  3. Hakomi therapy can be beneficial to increase resilience and coping skills 21 by helping individuals develop a deeper understanding of themselves, making them better equipped to manage life’s challenges.
  4. Hakomi therapy can help individuals become more aware of their bodily sensations and emotional experiences, which can lead to improved sleep quality 22 and reduced insomnia over time.

Benefits of Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi therapy can offer a wide range of benefits 6 for overall wellness and health, as well as quality of life management, which are:

1. Increased Self-awareness

Hakomi therapy focuses on exploring the body and physical sensations to gain insight into emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns. This can lead to greater self-awareness 23 and understanding of oneself.

2. Increased Self-compassion

The gentle and non-judgmental approach of Hakomi therapy can help individuals 24 develop greater self-acceptance.

3. Enhanced Physical Well-being

Hakomi therapy’s emphasis on the mind-body connection can help patients improve physical symptoms related to stress, such as headaches and muscle tension.

4. Improved Relationships

By developing a deeper understanding of oneself 25 and learning to regulate emotions, individuals can improve their relationships with others and cultivate healthier connections.

Limitations of Hakomi Therapy

Although Hakomi therapy can be advantageous 26 for some, it has a few limitations to consider:

  1. The availability 27 of Hakomi therapy may be limited in some parts of the world, which can make it inaccessible to some people.
  2. Additionally, it may not be the best fit for those with severe mental health issues that require more intensive treatment, such as hospitalization 28 or medication management.
  3. Lastly, people with traumatic or abusive experiences 29 related to their body or physical sensations, or who may feel uncomfortable exploring emotions may be triggered by Hakomi therapy which emphasizes body awareness and physical sensations.


Hakomi therapy is a unique and effective approach to psychotherapy that recognizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, and emotions. By using mindfulness, somatic experiences, and the principles of nonviolence, unity, and organicity, Hakomi therapists can create a safe and supportive environment for clients to explore their inner world and achieve deep healing and transformation.

At A Glance

  1. Hakomi Therapy is a body-centered, mindfulness-based approach to psychotherapy that emphasizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, and emotions.
  2. The connection between Hakomi therapy and trauma survivors is beneficial, as it provides a safe and non-judgmental space to heal from past experiences.
  3. Key guiding principles in Hakomi therapy are mindfulness, organicity, nonviolence, mind-body connection, and unity.
  4. The 4 techniques of Hakomi therapy include contact, accessing, processing, and integration.
  5. Hakomi therapy reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, processing and healing from trauma, and improves overall well-being.
  6. Hakomi Therapy has limitations, as it may not be suitable for individuals with severe mental health conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the five principles of Hakomi?

The five principles of Hakomi are mindfulness, nonviolence, unity, organicity, and mind-body holism, which guide the therapeutic process toward creating a safe and supportive environment for the client to explore their inner world.

2. Does Hakomi therapy work?

Research suggests that Hakomi therapy is an effective approach to treating a range of mental health concerns, with clients reporting significant improvements in symptoms and overall well-being.

3. How to find a good Hakomi therapist?

To find a good Hakomi therapist, it’s important to research licensed therapists with training and experience in Hakomi, ask for referrals, and read reviews from previous clients.

👇 References:
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