Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy

A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice

edited by Halko Weiss, Greg Johanson and Lorena Monda

Two Chapters written by Manuela Mischke-Reeds:

Chapter 19: Working Through Core Beliefs

Chapter 24: Mindfulness and Trauma States

The authoritative text on Hakomi methods, theory, and practice.

Hakomi is an integrative method that combines Western psychology and body-centered techniques with mindfulness principles from Eastern psychology. This book, written and edited by members of the Hakomi Institute— the world’s leading training program for Hakomi practitioners—provides all the processes and practices that therapists need in order to use this method with clients.

What Others Say About Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy

A powerful compendium of Hakomi philosophy and body techniques that wonderfully highlights the fact that body work is fundamentally mindful and always had been well before mindfulness rose to popularity. I highly recommend this to all readers interested in what life is all about and how to make its possibilities realized. Albert Pesso

Author Experience in Action. Psychomotor Psychology

The field of psychotherapy has just been substantively enriched by the publishing of this impressive book. (title of book) gracefully navigates the very tricky task of multiple authors, gifting us with an elegant symphony of voices that thoroughly and thoughtfully communicate what is involved in powerful healing experiences. The authors also skillfully connect the legacy of Hakomi’s founder, Ron Kurtz, with important emerging developments from a wide range of disciplines, such as neuroscience, attachment theory, emotional regulation, stress and trauma, and evidence-based practices. Both scholarly and easily accessible, this book can be read by anyone interested in a comprehensive overview of mindfulness, the body’s role in healing, relational repair, and unraveling past imprints in order to engage in the present moment with embodied attention and action. I highly recommend it, and will ask all my students to read it, as it captures all the important essentials of the journey from ‘just managing’ to holistic well-being. Christine Caldwell, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, ACS

Founder and faculty in the Somatic Counseling Psychology Program Naropa University, Boulder, CO, USA author, Getting Our Bodies Back

With its combination of psychodynamic, experiential, somatic and mindfulness approaches, Hakomi therapy was integrative and mindfulness-based long before these orientations became popular. This book provides both a fine introduction and overview to this intriguing therapy. Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D.

University of California Medical School, Editor, The World's Great Wisdom: Humanity's Heritage of Timeless Teachings Author, Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind

Hakomi is a treasure trove of therapeutic wisdom gleaned from a wide spectrum of orientations that represent the best that psychology has to offer. This textbook will be a fountain of knowledge for therapists of all persuasions. Louise Sundararajan, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Past President of APA Div. 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology

This essential collection presents the work of Hakomi in a clear light and illustrates the threefold effective integral path of a scientific attitude, heart presence that takes deep interest in another person, and skilled attention to the body’s wisdom. The author-practitioners herein describe a method that is healing for the therapist as well as the client, a method that is deceptively simple, yet infinitely complex in subtlety, thus providing a lifetime of learning. I and many of my graduate students have experienced the therapeutic work firsthand of these authors. I know them to be fully present and to practice what they preach and walk their talk. Among dozens of somatic psychology approaches that I have practiced and taught students over the years, I place Hakomi’s effectiveness at the top. It requires mutual transformation of both therapist and client. The pages inside this cover are gems. Anyone who wishes to serve another in self-development will find easy-to-read ideas that work. In a world of increasing stimulation, Hakomi provides a healing balm. I am grateful to have such a resource. Edmund Knighton, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department Chair Clinical Psychology, PhD & MA Programs Somatic Psychology Concentration The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

In encountering “Hakomi” the reader will encounter far more than simply a handbook on somatically-mindful psychotherapy. Beyond its sheer comprehensiveness one gains an interdisciplinary and supremely practical therapeutic resource that is profoundly wholeness-affirming and fully personhood centered! I suspect it will become an invaluable resource for clinicians for years to come. William S. Schmidt, Ph.D.

Loyola University Chicago Author, The Development of the Notion of Self: Understanding the Complexity of Human Interiority

This anthology (textbook) is indeed destined to be a landmark volume, not only in the advancement of the healing arts of Hakomi, but also in the wider fields of somatic psychology and bodymind therapy. The articles presented here are not only clearly written, deeply thoughtful and readily accessible to both student and seasoned practitioner, but comprise a beautiful balance of theory and clinical practice, of philosophical grounding and therapeutic application. In short, this volume is invaluable and definitely one of the top ten “must read” books for anyone committed to mindfulness and somatic psychotherapy. Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D., DHS

Former, Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University. Author, The Emergence of Somatic Psychology and Bodymind Therapy and Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse

Read this book! In this era of cookie cutter therapy “Hakomi” stands head and shoulders above the fray. Dr.’s Weiss, Johanson, and Monda have assembled a masterful collection of writing about the Hakomi method, which distinguishes this approach to healing from many other works.

The contributors have related the Hakomi method to how this healing approach is being illumined by current psycho-neuro-biological research. There is a reason why this approach to healing is so powerful, and the research of medical science is illustrating it!

The beauty of this volume is its emphasis on the: 1) integration of a strength-focused perspective. People are not problems. They are stories and struggles that need to be heard and allowed to heal; 2) the importance of the therapist state of presence as essential to the healing experience. There is much a therapist can learn regarding how the therapist is not separate from the process, rather her presence is what facilitates the healing; and 3) mindfulness is an experience that empowers the healing process, not merely a technique to be used indiscriminately. This book respects the practice of mindfulness with great reverence. The way mindfulness is utilized here, maintains its integrity as a profound experience that reconnects the person (client and therapist) to their true and common humanity. It is when an individual feels truly joined by another on their healing journey that the depth of healing is realized. Weiss, Johanson, and Monda, and the contributing authors have elegantly captured this essence!

The Buddha, Milton Erickson, Carl Whitaker, Gandhi, and of course, Ron Kurtz, et al. are all smiling down upon us as their wisdom regarding the nature of the human condition and what is necessary for true healing and wholeness is not being forgotten! Thomas Roberts, LCSW, LMFT

author, The Mindfulness Workbook

I started “HAKOMI” wondering if I would just be learning about mindfulness as has often been expressed by therapists turning East. What I found instead was a profound complex depth of understanding of human self and the healing process rooted in the wisdom of Lao Tzu and nothing has been lost in how these authors translated Taoism into the world of psychotherapy. Reading of works by these authors evoke image of Chuang Tzu’s dream of a butterfly that cuts through the Cartesian heaviness of linear logic. The image of therapists exploring the unconscious through the body and gestures with non-judgmental awareness of the self is refreshing. But more so, it offers as a critique of the current world operated on the capitalistic assumption. Hakomi is much more than a therapeutic corrective of what has gone wrong. It is a way of being in this complex reality. It is philosophically and existentially therapeutic. “HAKOMI” is provocative, informative, and simply refreshing for shepherds of the souls. Siroj Sorajjakool, Ph.D.

Professor of Religion, Psychology, & Counseling Loma Linda University Author, Do Nothing: Inner Peace for Everyday Living Wu Wei, Negativity and Depression: The Principle of Non-Trying

Like Hakomi itself, this exemplary book brings a clear attentive focus on the present moment with a deep understanding of how the past informs the present. From the early development of Hakomi to current innovations, it offers a comprehensive guide to a psychotherapy modality that artfully balances mindfulness, embodied awareness, and compassion into a process of facilitated self-study. Students of somatic psychology will find it an invaluable resource in understanding one of the finest body-centered psychotherapy approaches yet developed, and seasoned clinicians will appreciate having such a thorough and sophisticated explication of Hakomi theory and practice. This book deserves a place on the reading list of any practitioner, trainer, or researcher interested in learning more about how mindfulness and embodiment can be integrated into a process of personal development and therapeutic change. Rae Johnson, Ph.D., RSW, RSMT

Associate Chair of the Somatic Studies Concentration in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Former Director of the Body Psychotherapy Program at Naropa University

I strive to understand the meaning infants make of themselves in the world, meaning made without reflection or symbols but simultaneously with every level of their being (metabolic, immunologic, physiologic, stress regulatory, emotional, behavioral). These multilevel meanings are then dynamically integrated into polymorphic bundles of meanings which make up infants’ states of consciousness. In reading this volume about Hakomi I find myself thinking that it aims to bring infant multi-level meaning making processes, which we all still possess, into the co-creative exchange of adults who now have expansive capacities for mindfulness, reflection and symbolization, while trying at one and the same time to overcome these adult capacities’ tendency for imperialist dominance and constriction of somatic multilevel experience. Thus this book is a challenge to each of us both personally and professionally as we try making meaning of our own changes and therapeutic change processes. Taking on its challenge is more than worth the effort. Ed Tronick, Ph.D.

University of Massachusetts Boston, Director of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, and author, The Neurobehavioral and Social Emotional Development of Infant and Children, Norton Press, 2007.

This book has finally arrived! The Hakomi Method is one of the earliest efforts to integrate mindfulness into therapy, beginning in the 1960’s. It is a fascinating approach that includes body awareness, investigation of core beliefs, compassionate presence of the therapist, embracing the unconscious, and collaborative investigation. A unique contribution of Hakomi to mindfulness-oriented therapy is the emphasis on exploring the structure of the personal “self” and the causes of its suffering. This book is comprehensive in every way—historical background, theory, method, interventions, case illustrations, clinical applications—and deserves to be read by anyone seriously interested in psychotherapy and its many, wonderful expressions. Christopher Germer, Ph.D.

Clinical Instructor, Harvard Medical School Author, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion Co-Editor, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

This book presents a thorough depiction of the theory and praxis of Hakomi. It highlights Hakomi’s foundational principle of mindfulness – way beyond popular trends – while describing active and skilful practices to work with engrained psychological and physiological structures. This text documents Hakomi’s elegant interweaving of somatic explorations, emotional and attachment dynamics, neurophysiological undercurrents, and patterns of meaning making – hence a powerful road to integrate aspects of the personal self, while touching into the depth of being. It provides an introduction for the lay person, a textbook for the student, and a reference book for the clinician. Theresa Silow, Ph.D, LPCC

Director, Somatic Psychology Program JFK University, Pleasant Hill, California

Weiss, Johanson and Monda have, after a long and what must have been quite complicated labor, brought forth a deeply rich volume reflecting the best of Ron Kurtz and the Hakomi Therapy that is his legacy. As a practitioner and teacher of body psychotherapies for almost 40 years, I have watched Hakomi grow and proliferate over most of that time. Kurtz is unusual among early body psychotherapy leaders in that he has clearly encouraged his faculty as well as his students to think for themselves and add their unique contributions to his. This volume reflects a deep emotional-spiritual orientation reflected in interfaces with neuroscience, mindfulness practices, systems theory, and object relations, etc., as each of the 28 chapters takes on an aspect of that interface. A rare combination of theoretical and case material makes it intellectually stimulating and at the same time delightfully enlivened. Described variously as a textbook and a reader in Hakomi, it is a path breaking compendium. And, it even includes a glossary, an index, and lots of meaty references. I hope that other modalities of body psychotherapy will shortly follow this auspicious lead. Jacqueline A. Carleton, Ph.D.

Editor: International Body Psychotherapy Journal: The Art and Science of Somatic Praxis