"The most powerful thing the therapist does for us is provide a setting, a nourishing womb, in which our lives can unfold. Through the physical setting and, most important, the setting of his own being, he creates a place of safety; a trustworthy place where all life is befriended through an affirmation of faith in our wisdom and creativity." —Gregory Johanson, Ph.D., Hakomi Institute Co-Founder and Senior Trainer.
THE HAKOMI METHOD GUIDING PRINCIPLES MINDFULNESS is a powerful tool for helping persons study the organization of their experience. It is an exploratory, relaxed and alert, meditative (though non-hypnotic) state of consciousness, which allows us to move beyond our normal, habitual thoughts and actions to the often richly non-verbal intuitions of our deeper states. The process also supports the mobilization of our essential or core selves, which have a presence, centeredness, compassion, and wisdom that transcends the limitations of our 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 when 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, including the physical/metabolic, intrapsychic, 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.
THE HAKOMI METHOD Hakomi helps people change “core material.” Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply held emotional dispositions. It shapes the styles, habits, behaviors, perceptions and attitudes that define us as individuals. Typically, it exerts its influence unconsciously, by organizing our responses to the major themes of life: safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, control, responsibility, love, appreciation, sexuality, spirituality, etc. Some of this material supports our being who we wish to be, while some of it continues to limit us. The Hakomi Method allows the client to distinguish between the two, and to willingly change material that restricts his or her wholeness.
The heart of the Method works with the client’s present, felt experience, as it is presented spontaneously, or deliberately and gently evoked by having them experiment with habitual tension or movement patterns known as “indicators.” These emotional/cognitive patterns automatically keep deeper experience out of present awareness. Once discovered in this experiential manner, core material 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. These, in turn, allow for a greater range of mental, physical, and emotional coherence and behavior.
Finally, we help the client to integrate these new beliefs, modes and choices into everyday life. It is here - in the ability to transform new possibilities discovered in the office into on-going actualities of daily living - that real change happens.
The basic method, then, is this: To establish a relationship in which it is safe for the client to become self-aware To use the Hakomi methodology to evoke experiences that lead to the discovery of organizing core material. To seek healing changes in the core material which limits or does not serve us.