Hakomi Theory

I’m currently reading – The Hakomi Way: Consciousness and Healing: The Legacy of Ron Kurtz


Bodywork is much more than just hands-on work. My bodywork journey and knowledge base are always expanding.

Hakomi theory holds the body to be a window to unconscious psychological material, and trained practitioners work to help those in therapy identify somatic indicators of unconscious beliefs and then bring these indicators into awareness, thus aiding the process of change.

Hakomi Method draws on Buddhist principles of non-violence, (the client leads, the practitioner guides) and Mindfulness (a quiet inward attention on present moment experience, as it is, in the body, now).

Try it, as an experiment; take a moment to shift your attention inwards, notice what happens… In your body, mind, emotions, and sensory experiences.



Are you curious about yourself?

Do you find yourself reacting in the same old way, even though it’s not helpful?

Our experience shapes us and we unconsciously organize it into habits of action, thought, and beliefs.

Some habits serve us well, while others limit our choices or cause us unnecessary suffering; because those beliefs may be outdated or inaccurate, yet still be automatically applied.

Hakomi is assisted self-discovery to help you develop a practice of mindfulness to learn about your inner beliefs and how you organize your life around them. Support to change this is offered to allow a more realistic and nourishing experience of life.

The method is gentle, experimental, often playful, and always helps you see more about yourself. The focus is on the storyteller rather than the story, it’s not about talking out your problems or a conversation about your troubles and emotional history, it avoids analysis to allow meaning to arise from within. Not only do you learn something new about yourself, you can create the possibility of a new more rewarding relationship with yourself and others, bringing more freedom of choice.

Hakomi comes from the archaic Hopi Indian word meaning “How do we stand about these many realms” Put simply who am I and how do I see and relate to what’s around me?

What are the 5 principles of Hakomi?
  • mindfulness.
  • nonviolence:
  • organicity.
  • unity.
  • body-mind holism.
What are the benefits of Hakomi therapy?
  • Creates Body-Awareness: Hakomi Therapy is a body-centered treatment that involves different techniques to release trauma and stress from the patients. …
  • Helps to Create Comfort: Hakomi therapy uses the touch method to calm the sensations of patients.
What is the Hakomi method for trauma?
At the core of Hakomi is the belief that the body holds internalized beliefs and thought patterns that have become unconscious. Trained Hakomi therapists can use consensual touch to help comfort patients and to encourage them to stay with unpleasant feelings to uncover and understand these unconscious limiting beliefs.
What is the difference between Hakomi and sensorimotor psychotherapy?
Sensorimotor psychotherapy is a form of somatic psychotherapy that is influenced by neuroscience, cognitive and somatic approaches, attachment theory, and the Hakomi Method. Hakomi is a type of therapy that focuses on the connections between the body and mind through encouraging meditation and mindfulness.


Is the Hakomi method effective?
Following treatment, participants demonstrated improved physical and psychological well-being and improvements in overall anxiety and depression.
What is the Hakomi sensitivity cycle?
The Sensitivity Cycle comes from Hakomi Somatic Psychotherapy and was created by founder Ron Kurtz. * It was designed to deepen awareness around how we move through various experiences, from the mundane to the life-altering. Bringing this awareness allows us to experience more flow moving through life.




The Hakomi Method follows this general outline:

  1. Create a healing relationship: Client and therapist work to build a relationship that maximizes safety and the cooperation of the unconscious. This includes practicing “loving presence”, a state of acceptance, and empathic resonance.
  2. Establish mindfulness: The therapist helps clients study and focus on the ways they organize experiences. Hakomi’s viewpoint is that most behaviors are habits automatically organized by core material; therefore, studying the organization of experience is studying the influence of this core material.
  3. Evoke experience: Client and therapist make direct contact with core feelings, beliefs, and memories using “experiments in mindfulness”—gentle somatic and verbal techniques to safely “access” the present experience behind the client’s verbal presentation, or to explore “indicators”: chronic physical patterns, habitual gestures, bodily tension, etc.
  4. Processing: This process usually evokes deeper emotions and/or memories, and if the client feels ready, the therapist helps them deepen into these, often using state-specific processing such as “working with the child” and/or strong emotions. The client is helped to recognize the core beliefs as they emerge, and the therapist often provides what Kurtz called “the missing experience”, a form of “memory re-consolidation” where the child, as they revisit the negative experience(s) that generated their core beliefs, now receives the nourishment and support that was needed at the time. This supports the process of transformation of core beliefs. The same process may be used working with the adult rather than the “child state”.
  5. Transformation: The client has an experience in therapy different from the one they had as a child (or are having as an adult) and experientially realizes that new healing experiences are possible and begins to be open to these experiences.
  6. Integration: The client and therapist work to make connections between the new healing experiences and the rest of the client’s life and relationships.

Other components of the Hakomi Method include the sensitivity cycle, techniques such as “contact and tracking”, “prompts” “taking over”, “embracing resistance”, and developing a greater sensitivity to clients and how to work with their issues based on character typology originated by Alexander Lowen.

Explain in detail the research and science of bioenergetic analysis by Alexander Lowen


As of my last update in September 2021, Alexander Lowen was a well-known psychiatrist and psychotherapist who developed a unique approach to psychotherapy called Bioenergetic Analysis. Bioenergetic Analysis is a form of body-oriented psychotherapy that focuses on the interconnection between the mind and body, emphasizing the role of emotions, physical sensations, and energy flow in psychological well-being.

Here is an in-depth explanation of the research and science behind Bioenergetic Analysis:

  1. Origins and Influences: Alexander Lowen was influenced by several key figures and theories in the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis, and bodywork. He was a student of Wilhelm Reich, a prominent psychoanalyst who emphasized the importance of the body in understanding human emotions and character structures. Lowen integrated Reich’s concepts of orgone energy and character armoring into his work.
  2. Bioenergetic Energy: At the core of Bioenergetic Analysis is the concept of bioenergetic energy. Lowen believed that the human body is a dynamic energy system, and emotional and psychological disturbances can lead to blockages in the flow of this energy. These blockages, also known as “body armor,” manifest as chronic muscular tensions and holding patterns in the body. By releasing these blockages and restoring the flow of energy, individuals can experience emotional healing and improved mental well-being.
  3. Character Structures: Lowen identified five character structures that develop as a result of various environmental and developmental factors. Each character structure is associated with specific physical and psychological traits, and they are believed to be expressions of the individual’s unique adaptation to life’s challenges. The five character structures are:
    • Schizoid: Withdrawn and disconnected from the body and emotions.
    • Oral: Dependent and seeking nurturance from others.
    • Masochistic: Struggles with guilt and self-punishment.
    • Psychopathic: Impulsive and aggressive, with difficulty forming genuine connections.
    • Rigid: Over-controlled and denying their vulnerability.
  4. Techniques and Interventions: Bioenergetic Analysis employs various techniques and interventions to address the body armor and release the blocked energy. Some of the common techniques include:
    • Grounding exercises: To help individuals reconnect with their bodies and sensations.
    • Breathwork: To release emotional tension and promote relaxation.
    • Physical exercises: Designed to engage and release specific muscle groups to facilitate emotional expression and release.
    • Body reading: Therapists observe posture, muscular tension, and movement patterns to gain insights into the individual’s character structure.
  5. Research and Scientific Evidence: Bioenergetic Analysis, like many body-oriented psychotherapies, has faced challenges in establishing empirical evidence through traditional scientific research methods. The complexity of psychotherapy processes and the diversity of individual experiences make it difficult to conduct randomized controlled trials, which are the gold standard for assessing treatment efficacy.

However, there is a growing body of qualitative research and case studies that suggest positive outcomes for individuals undergoing Bioenergetic Analysis. These studies highlight improvements in emotional expression, body awareness, and overall psychological well-being. Moreover, advocates of body-oriented therapies argue that the focus on the body’s role in emotional processing aligns with recent findings in neuroscience and somatic psychology, providing some scientific basis for their approach.

  1. Criticisms: As with any psychotherapy approach, Bioenergetic Analysis has also faced criticism. Some critics argue that the theories of orgone energy and character armoring lack scientific support and are difficult to measure objectively. Additionally, the lack of large-scale randomized controlled trials has been a point of concern for skeptics.

In conclusion, Alexander Lowen’s Bioenergetic Analysis is a unique and influential approach to psychotherapy that emphasizes the connection between the mind and body. While it has a theoretical basis and a growing body of qualitative evidence, its scientific validation remains an ongoing challenge in the field of psychotherapy research. As with any therapeutic modality, its effectiveness can vary depending on the individual and the skill of the therapist.

What happens in a Hakomi session?
The therapist will ask the client to close their eyes and focus on their breath, becoming aware of any thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations that come to mind. The therapist will then help the client explore these thoughts and sensations, using gentle touch if necessary. The use of touch in Hakomi therapy is unique.
What is the Hakomi approach to assisted self-study?
Hakomi is assisted self-discovery to help you develop a practice of mindfulness to learn about your inner beliefs and how you organize your life around them. Support to change this is offered to allow a more realistic and nourishing experience of life.

Explain in detail the research and science of Hakomi Theory


Hakomi is a therapeutic approach that combines elements of psychotherapy, body-centered therapies, and mindfulness. It was developed by Ron Kurtz in the late 1970s and is grounded in principles from various disciplines, including psychology, Buddhism, Taoism, and general systems theory. The word “Hakomi” comes from the Hopi language and can be roughly translated to “Who are you?” or “How do you stand about these many realms?” This reflects the focus of the therapy, which aims to explore and understand the individual’s core beliefs and experiences that shape their sense of self and influence their behavior. The fundamental principles and science behind Hakomi theory are as follows:

  1. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a central component of Hakomi therapy. It involves cultivating present-moment awareness without judgment. Practicing mindfulness allows both the client and therapist to observe thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors as they arise. By increasing self-awareness, clients can gain insights into their automatic patterns and responses.
  2. Non-violence: The therapist provides a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate environment for the client. This approach emphasizes respect for the client’s experiences, promoting healing and personal growth through gentle exploration rather than forcing change.
  3. Unity: Hakomi recognizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It acknowledges that experiences are stored not only in the mind but also in the body and that psychological issues often manifest physically. By addressing both the psychological and somatic aspects, Hakomi seeks to facilitate holistic healing.
  4. Organicity: This principle highlights that personal growth and transformation are natural processes. The therapist trusts that the client’s system has inherent wisdom and will move toward balance and self-regulation if provided with the right conditions.
  5. Mind-body connection: Hakomi’s theory draws from somatic psychology, which emphasizes the significance of bodily experiences in shaping emotions and behaviors. Unresolved experiences and emotions can manifest as physical tension or discomfort. Hakomi therapists pay close attention to the body’s cues to gain insights into the client’s underlying emotional experiences.
  6. Experiential approach: Rather than focusing on intellectual analysis, Hakomi therapy emphasizes experiential learning. Clients are encouraged to explore their inner experiences and emotions, accessing core beliefs and memories that may have been previously unconscious.
  7. Mindful experiments: In Hakomi, therapists create “experiments” to gently and safely bring unconscious material into the client’s awareness. These experiments are designed to evoke reactions and responses that provide valuable information about the client’s inner world.
  8. Loving presence: The therapist’s presence is crucial in Hakomi’s therapy. By embodying qualities of acceptance, curiosity, and empathy, the therapist creates a secure environment in which clients can explore vulnerable aspects of themselves.

The scientific basis of Hakomi theory is multifaceted and draws from several fields:

  1. Mindfulness research: Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness for reducing stress, improving emotional regulation, and promoting well-being. The practice of mindfulness aligns with Hakomi’s emphasis on present-moment awareness and non-judgmental observation.
  2. Somatic psychology: Research in somatic psychology supports the idea that emotions and psychological experiences are stored in the body. Body-centered therapies, like Hakomi, address both psychological and physiological aspects of healing.
  3. Attachment theory: Hakomi acknowledges the influence of early attachment experiences on the development of core beliefs and emotional patterns. Attachment research has shown how early relationships shape our view of self and others, influencing our adult relationships and behaviors.
  4. Neuroscience: The integration of mindfulness, experiential learning, and body-centered approaches in Hakomi aligns with findings from neuroscience about brain plasticity, emotional processing, and the mind-body connection.

It’s important to note that while Hakomi has a foundation in scientific principles, as with many therapeutic approaches, empirical evidence may be limited due to the complexity of studying psychotherapy and individual differences. Nevertheless, many practitioners and clients have reported positive outcomes and transformative experiences through the use of Hakomi therapy. As with any therapeutic approach, the effectiveness of Hakomi may vary depending on the individual and the specific issues being addressed.

Discuss the research and science on massage for Hakomi Theory


As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there is limited research specifically focused on massage in the context of Hakomi Theory. Hakomi is an approach to psychotherapy that combines mindfulness, somatics, and the body-mind connection to facilitate personal growth and healing. While Hakomi emphasizes the importance of the body in the therapeutic process, there is relatively little scientific literature that directly examines the use of massage within the context of Hakomi therapy.

Hakomi’s Theory posits that past experiences, especially those related to childhood and early development, can influence a person’s beliefs, behaviors, and emotional patterns. The body holds memories of these experiences, and the therapeutic process involves exploring and addressing these somatic experiences to gain insight into one’s unconscious beliefs and emotions.

Massage, in the context of Hakomi, may be used as a means of accessing and working with somatic experiences and memories. It can be employed to help clients develop greater awareness of their bodies, release physical tension, and facilitate emotional processing.

Although scientific research on Hakomi and massage specifically in this context is limited, some studies have explored related topics. For example, research on body-centered psychotherapies has shown promising results in terms of reducing symptoms of anxiety, and depression and improving overall well-being. These therapies often include elements of mindfulness, body awareness, and touch, which are also components of the Hakomi Theory.

Studies on massage therapy have demonstrated its potential benefits in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as alleviating physical discomfort. By combining massage with Hakomi principles, therapists may aim to enhance the therapeutic process by working directly with the body to access and address emotional and psychological issues.

However, it is essential to note that the integration of massage within Hakomi therapy requires skilled and sensitive practitioners who are well-versed in both massage techniques and the principles of the Hakomi Theory. The effectiveness of this approach can vary depending on the individual’s needs, therapeutic goals, and the competence of the therapist.

Overall, while there may not be a large body of research specifically examining massage within Hakomi Theory, the underlying principles of combining body awareness, mindfulness, and emotional exploration have shown promise in related areas of research. As the field of psychotherapy and mind-body approaches continue to evolve, it is possible that more studies will emerge, shedding further light on the potential benefits of massage within the context of Hakomi therapy.

more info at:


The Hakomi Principles



Therapeutic Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Sports Injury Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.

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