What is Hakomi Therapy?

Are you seeking a therapeutic approach that invites profound self-discovery, mindfulness, and holistic healing? If so, Hakomi therapy might be the path to explore. Hakomi is an innovative and gentle form of psychotherapy that blends elements of Eastern mindfulness practices with Western psychology, creating a nurturing and transformative environment for personal growth and healing.

Whether you’re dealing with issues like stress, relationship challenges, or a desire for greater self-awareness, Hakomi’s body-centered and experiential techniques can guide you on a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation that goes beyond words. So, step into the world of Hakomi therapy and unlock the potential for healing within yourself.

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What is Hakomi Therapy?

What is Hakomi Therapy?

Hakomi therapy is an experiential, mindfulness-based psychotherapy that combines elements of Eastern philosophy, Western psychology, and body-centered techniques. It was developed by Ron Kurtz in the 1970s. It emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional talk therapy and embraces a more holistic and experiential perspective on psychological well-being.

This approach emphasizes the importance of present-moment experiences and explores the influence of early life experiences on our beliefs, behaviors, and emotional patterns. Hakomi therapy provides a nurturing and non-invasive space where clients can gently explore their inner worlds, fostering self-awareness, emotional healing, and personal growth.

With its holistic and gentle nature, Hakomi therapy offers a profound opportunity for individuals to reconnect with themselves, find meaning, and embark on a journey towards greater self-discovery and overall well-being. Hakomi therapy can be effective for a wide range of issues, including trauma, relationship challenges, anxiety, depression, grief, and personal growth. By fostering mindfulness and self-awareness, it helps clients gain insights, release limiting beliefs, and develop healthier ways of being in the world.

What is Hakomi Therapy?

Key features of Hakomi therapy include:


Mindfulness is at the core of Hakomi therapy. Therapists guide clients to explore their inner experiences with mindful awareness, helping them become more attuned to their thoughts, emotions, sensations, and bodily responses. Mindfulness cultivates self-awareness and supports the therapeutic process.


Hakomi emphasizes non-violence, both in the way therapists interact with clients and in the exploration of clients’ inner experiences. The therapeutic relationship is characterized by empathy, acceptance, and a lack of judgment.


Hakomi views individuals as holistic beings, considering their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions. The therapy recognizes that all aspects of a person are interconnected, and healing should address the whole self.


Instead of solely focusing on cognitive insights, Hakomi engages clients in experiential processes. Clients explore their core beliefs, emotional reactions, and unconscious patterns through guided experiments and mindfulness exercises.


The body is a vital aspect of Hakomi therapy. Therapists pay close attention to bodily sensations, movements, and postures as they can provide valuable information about a client’s inner world. Techniques like gentle touch and body-centered experiments are used to access and process emotional material stored in the body.


Hakomi therapy recognizes that personal growth and healing are non-linear processes. Clients may revisit and rework issues as they evolve and change over time. This flexibility allows for deep exploration and transformation.


Hakomi acknowledges that individuals are influenced by their cultural, familial, and social contexts. It seeks to help clients integrate these influences into their understanding of themselves.

What is Hakomi Therapy?

What to Expect in Hakomi Therapy Sessions

Hakomi therapy incorporates specific exercises and techniques designed to facilitate self-discovery, emotional processing, and personal growth. While the exact exercises may vary depending on the client’s needs and the therapist’s approach, here are some common exercises and interventions used in Hakomi therapy:

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Sessions often begin with mindfulness meditation to help the client become fully present and aware of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. This sets the foundation for deeper exploration.
  • Little Experiments: Hakomi therapists use “little experiments” to gently explore and challenge belief systems and core issues. These experiments are non-invasive and can provide insights into unconscious patterns.
  • Guided Imagery: Clients may be guided through visualizations or guided imagery exercises to access deeper emotions, memories, or unconscious material.
  • Somatic Awareness: Hakomi places a strong emphasis on the body-mind connection. Clients are encouraged to pay attention to bodily sensations and movements, as these can reveal underlying emotions and beliefs.
  • Role-Playing: Role-playing exercises may be used to explore different aspects of the self, relationships, or unresolved situations in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Dialogue Techniques: Therapists use specific dialogue techniques, such as “taking over” or “sitting in the client’s chair,” to help clients access different perspectives and parts of themselves.
  • Inner Child Work: Hakomi often includes inner child work, where clients connect with and nurture their inner child, addressing past wounds and unmet needs.
  • Emotional Processing: Clients are encouraged to express and process emotions in the therapeutic space, allowing for the release of repressed feelings and emotional healing.
  • Body-Centered Exercises: Hakomi therapists may incorporate body-centered techniques like gentle touch, movement, or body awareness exercises to facilitate emotional release and healing.
  • Integration: Throughout the therapy process, the therapist and client work together to integrate the insights and awareness gained during sessions into the client’s daily life and relationships.

What is Hakomi Therapy?

Benefits of Hakomi Therapy

  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Healing of past traumas
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-worth
  • Improved relationships and communication skills
  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Greater sense of personal empowerment
  • Resolution of unresolved issues
  • Increased mindfulness and presence
  • Deepened mind-body connection
  • Improved understanding of unconscious patterns
  • Enhanced ability to work with somatic experiences
  • Increased sense of inner peace and tranquility
  • Greater capacity for self-compassion
  • Enhanced creativity and self-expression
  • Improved decision-making skills
  • Development of effective coping strategies
  • Increased resilience and adaptability
  • Greater connection to one’s authentic self

What is Hakomi Therapy?

Who Can Benefit from Hakomi Therapy

Hakomi therapy is a versatile approach that can be adapted to meet the therapeutic needs of individuals across different age groups, making it suitable for children, adolescents, and adults. This adaptability is one of its strengths.

For children and adolescents, Hakomi therapists may modify their techniques and interventions to be developmentally appropriate, using creative and engaging methods that resonate with younger clients. The goal is to create a safe and supportive space where children and teens can explore their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

While Hakomi is primarily designed for individual therapy, some practitioners who are well-versed in Hakomi principles and techniques may extend its application to couples or families. In these cases, the therapist may incorporate Hakomi-inspired interventions to address relationship dynamics and family interactions. While less common than individual therapy, this adaptation can be effective in promoting healthier communication and connection within couples or family units.

Overall, Hakomi therapy’s adaptability allows skilled practitioners to tailor their approach to the unique needs of their clients, whether they are individuals, couples, or families, making it a versatile and valuable therapeutic modality.

What is Hakomi Therapy?

How Hakomi Therapy Helps with Specific Challenges

Hakomi therapy offers a unique approach to addressing various issues and challenges that individuals commonly seek therapy for:


Hakomi explores the underlying beliefs, emotions, and bodily sensations associated with depression. By bringing awareness to these aspects and working with them mindfully, clients can gain insight into the root causes of their depression and develop healthier coping strategies.

Relationship Issues

In Hakomi, relationship dynamics are often explored through mindfulness and experiential exercises. Clients can gain a deeper understanding of their relationship patterns and the underlying emotions that drive them. This awareness can lead to more effective communication, emotional intimacy, and healthier relationships.

Anxiety and Stress

Hakomi helps individuals identify and work with the sources of their anxiety and stress, which may be rooted in past experiences or limiting beliefs. By learning to stay present with their sensations and emotions, clients can develop greater resilience and reduce anxiety.


Hakomi’s gentle and body-centered approach is particularly effective in addressing trauma. Clients can safely explore their traumatic experiences, process emotions, and release stored tension and memories from their bodies, ultimately leading to healing and post-traumatic growth.

Self-Exploration and Personal Growth

Many individuals seek Hakomi to embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. By deepening their self-awareness, understanding their core beliefs, and accessing their inner wisdom, clients can foster personal transformation and cultivate a more fulfilling life.

Life Transitions

Hakomi can provide valuable support during major life transitions, such as career changes, divorce, or retirement. By exploring one’s emotions, beliefs, and desires in a mindful way, clients can navigate these transitions with greater clarity and resilience.

Emotional Regulation

Hakomi equips individuals with tools to regulate their emotions more effectively. This is beneficial for those dealing with emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, or mood disorders.

Hakomi Therapy and Other Therapy Types

Hakomi Therapy and Other Therapy Types

Hakomi therapy is often used as a standalone therapeutic approach, but it can also be integrated with other types of therapy when deemed appropriate and beneficial for the client’s needs. Whether it’s used alone or in combination with other therapies depends on the therapist’s training, the client’s presenting issues, and the therapeutic goals.

When used alone, Hakomi therapy provides a comprehensive framework for exploring and addressing various emotional, psychological, and somatic issues. It emphasizes mindfulness, body-centered awareness, and experiential techniques to facilitate personal growth, healing, and self-discovery.

In some cases, Hakomi therapists may integrate elements of other therapeutic modalities into their sessions to enhance the effectiveness of the therapy. Some examples of what that might look like:

Hakomi and EMDR

Combining Hakomi therapy with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can be a powerful approach for addressing trauma and related issues. Here’s an elaboration on how Hakomi and EMDR can work together:

Hakomi therapy, with its mindfulness-based and body-centered approach, can help clients build a foundation of self-awareness and emotional regulation. It provides a safe and supportive space for clients to explore their traumatic experiences, somatic sensations, and emotional responses. Clients can develop a deeper understanding of how their trauma impacts their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

EMDR is an evidence-based therapy specifically designed to treat trauma and distressing memories. It involves a structured eight-phase approach that includes reprocessing traumatic memories with the use of bilateral stimulation (typically through eye movements). EMDR helps desensitize the emotional charge associated with traumatic memories and allows clients to reprocess them in a healthier way.

When Hakomi and EMDR are combined, clients benefit from both approaches. Hakomi helps clients ground themselves, stay present, and explore the somatic aspects of their trauma, which is essential for EMDR work. It also provides a container for processing the emotional content that may arise during EMDR sessions. EMDR, on the other hand, targets the reprocessing of traumatic memories more directly.

Hakomi and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Hakomi therapy and CBT share a common goal of helping clients achieve personal growth and change, but they approach it differently. Combining these two approaches can be highly effective. While CBT primarily focuses on cognitive restructuring and behavioral change, Hakomi provides a complementary aspect by emphasizing mindfulness and body-centered exploration of emotions. This combination allows clients to not only challenge and reframe unhelpful thought patterns but also gain a deeper understanding of the emotional and somatic components underlying those thoughts and behaviors.

Hakomi and Mindfulness-Based Approaches

Integrating mindfulness practices from Hakomi with mindfulness-based therapies like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) enhances a client’s mindfulness skills and emotional awareness. Hakomi’s emphasis on present-moment experiences, coupled with body-centered mindfulness, complements the structured mindfulness techniques found in these therapies. Clients can develop a heightened sense of self-awareness, emotional regulation, and the ability to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Hakomi and Attachment-Based Therapy

Attachment-based therapies focus on understanding and healing early attachment experiences that impact current relationships. When combined with Hakomi, clients have the opportunity to explore these attachment patterns on both a cognitive and somatic level. Hakomi’s mindfulness and body-centered techniques can help individuals gain insight into how early attachment experiences manifest in their bodies and emotions, providing a holistic understanding of their attachment style. This combined approach facilitates profound healing and transformation in the client’s relationships.

Hakomi Therapy and Other Therapy Types

Expressive Arts Therapy

Hakomi’s mindfulness and somatic exploration can integrate seamlessly with expressive arts therapies, such as art therapy or dance/movement therapy. This combination allows clients to access their emotions and experiences non-verbally through creative processes. Clients who may struggle to articulate their feelings verbally can use art, movement, or other expressive mediums to express and process their inner world. The integration of these modalities offers a rich and multi-dimensional approach to healing and self-expression.

Transpersonal Therapy

Transpersonal therapy explores spiritual and transcendent experiences. When combined with Hakomi, clients can delve into their spiritual journey while staying grounded in their body and emotions. Hakomi’s mindfulness practices and body-centered techniques create a safe container for exploring the transcendent aspects of life. This combination can lead to profound personal growth, self-discovery, and a deeper connection to one’s spiritual self.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy focuses on the stories and narratives that shape an individual’s identity and perception of the world. When integrated with Hakomi, clients have the opportunity to reframe their life stories in a more empowering and constructive way. Hakomi’s mindfulness and body-centered exploration allow clients to examine the emotional and somatic aspects of their narratives, facilitating a more comprehensive transformation of their life stories.

Hakomi Therapy and Other Therapy Types

Next Steps:

Therapists trained in Hakomi guide clients through this process of self-discovery and healing, emphasizing the importance of safety, respect, and trust within the therapeutic relationship. Therapists interested in practicing Hakomi undergo specialized training programs to become proficient in this therapeutic approach.

Are you ready to find a therapist who works with Hakomi therapy? Search our therapist directory today to find the one who is right for you. Or call us for more information.

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