“Therapy is first about discovering. It’s about who you are and about what your deepest emotional attitudes are. It’s not just about who you think you are. It’s not opinion. It’s not something you can know with the intellect. It’s about who you are in the very heart of yourself. That’s the flavor of psychotherapy, discovering yourself, discovering your real attitudes toward the most important pieces of your life.”
-Ron Kurtz, Hakomi Founder.
Founded by Ron Kurtz in 1981, Hakomi is an experiential, body-centered form of therapy which seeks to help people change “core material.” Core material is composed of significant memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply held emotional proclivities that shape our habits, behaviors, perceptions and attitudes.
Exploring core material is so important because it unconsciously influences us as we navigate life, particularly around significant themes of safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, control, responsibility, love, appreciation, sexuality and spirituality.
While some core material supports our ability to live vibrantly, other core material we learned in response to stress can limit us and is worthy of re-visioning. Hakomi helps us distinguish between these two options, and integrate new, more nourishing experiences.
Hakomi, a Hopi Indian word which translates into "where do I stand in relation to these many realms", is a mindfulness-based form of psychotherapy which emphasizes self study. Hakomi therapy suggests that our beliefs, strategies and behavioral habits come into deeper consciousness when mindful attention is turned inward via the mind-body connection.
Hakomi is informed by the therapeutic expression of a specific set of principles:
1. Unity – an inclusive awareness of the universal interrelatedness of all things.
Unity suggests each human being is both an integral whole composed of multiple parts, and also a unique and separate individual inextricably linked within a system of others. Hakomi acknowledges this interdependency and intersectionality, including the physical, intra-psychic, interpersonal, familial, cultural, and spiritual elements.
2. Mindfulness – the conscious state of being genuinely aware, curious and accepting of the present moment experience.
Employing an exploratory, relaxed yet alert, meditative state of consciousness can be a powerful vehicle for studying how we are organized and how we respond to the world. Through mindfulness, we can often move beyond our habitual thoughts and actions and reap the rich non-verbal intuitions of our deeper states. This way of being can offer fertile ground for change.
3. Organicity – the recognition and honoring of each person’s individuality.
Rather than impose an agenda, Hakomi therapy is cooperative and collaborative. Organicity implies there is an innate wholeness to and wisdom within every individual. Hakomi trusts in the organic unfolding of the individual; that each of us has the innate capacity to self-direct and correct when all parts are communicating with the whole.
4. Truthfulness – the pursuit of authenticity.
Truthfulness in Hakomi honors the quest to discover the actual nature of things and to hold integrity and authenticity as sacred in the therapeutic space.
5. Nonviolence – a commitment to respectful and loving regard for all beings and parts.
Relying on a spirit of inclusivity and curiosity, Hakomi promotes safe and cooperative exploration. Hakomi tracks and honors all the organic signs and signals which arise in the therapeutic process, especially those that might be viewed as “resistance." Whatever arises in therapy is greeted as vital information that can be studied for its inherent wisdom and growth potential.
6. Mind-Body Holism –a belief in the vital interconnectedness of all parts of the organism.
Mind-Body Holism views the body and mind as inseparable; each should ideally co-occur simultaneously and holistically. When we pay attention to our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, we harvest vital information which can wisely inform our actions. Hakomi offers many ways of exploring the mind-body connection to help increase awareness of core beliefs.
7. Mutability and Change – a belief that change is constant- evolution is a necessary and unquenchable life process.
Mutability suggests the Universe is constantly in flux as an expansive and circular presence, and within this awareness, rests infinite possibility for change and growth.
Illumination Counseling and Gayle Waitches offers Hakomi informed Individual and Couple's therapy in Southeast Portland.