Becoming a Student of Hakomi
About the Method
Hakomi is a method of assisted self-study and discovery. The method is based on the idea that much of our everyday suffering is unnecessary and is produced by unconscious beliefs that are irrelevant, untrue or out of date. Hakomi is designed to bring these limiting or wrong ideas into consciousness. Once these beliefs (memories, habits, emotions) are conscious, they can be examined and changed to offer a more satisfying way of being.
The Hakomi therapist pays very close attention to the way the client expresses themself nonverbally. Such things as tone of voice, movements, gestures, posture, facial expressions are usually very significant indicators of beliefs and unconscious material. Based on those observations, the therapist creates little experiments that are done with the client in a mindful state. Such experiments may evoke reactions, often emotional ones. When reactions are evoked, memories, beliefs and associations may emerge which help clients realize something about themselves.
What to Expect
This method is not about talking about problems or listening to a story. Your history is written in the way you do things now, your style, your defining characteristics. You can expect that the therapist will be looking and listening for these subtle signs and will bring them to your attention as part of setting up the little experiments in mindfulness that are the core of the work.
The therapist will also be genuinely kind and patient, safe, caring, and non-judgmental. The vulnerability and openness of mindfulness require an extremely safe environment. You can expect the work to bring up emotions. The therapist knows how to be with you when this happens and knows how to offer comfort and help you understand.
What you Need
You need to be willing to be with your own present experience. Your reactions to experiments in mindfulness will be the basis of the work you do. So, you need to be willing to stay focused on your experience. You need to be open to going into mindfulness, which is a calm, inwardly focused state, to simply witness yourself and what happens inside you. You might experience some painful emotions on the way to finding out how to relieve your unnecessary suffering and let go of limiting beliefs and old habitual patterns. You need to be willing to speak about yourself as you feel now. This work is not about asking questions, problem solving or making conversation. The courage you must be open and honest in looking at yourself are your greatest allies. The rewards will be a deeper understanding of yourself and others, greater pleasure in everyday living, and richer, happier relationships. Self-study can create all that.
How is the Method Taught?
In the Hakomi Education Network, many trainings are being offered (for a complete list of trainers, training sites and languages, please go to the Find Hakomi page and search for a training that suits your needs.
Each training teaches students Hakomi in an experiential group format, using simple exercises and demonstrations to guide your learning and the development of personhood.
As Ron Kurtz says, “To make Hakomi effective, a practitioner must be more than just someone who knows a method. They must be someone whose very presence can be healing, a person who has all the qualities needed to support emotional healing in another. My trainings reflect and embody this emphasis.”
Five Stages of Learning Hakomi
We learn to self-study, developing our own self-awareness of present moment experience and the ability to share what we notice about ourselves with others.
"We learn to help another person self-study and report what’s happening. In multi-level trainings, we practice the six skills sets, each of which “can be learned and practised separately but function within a session as an integrated whole.” (Ron Kurtz)
We learn to integrate the separate elements of Hakomi into full sessions. These first three stages take approximately 45 days or 3 years of training, after which we will have touched on most parts of the method and done some work to carry a full session. We move back and forth between these three stages.
We deepen into how to navigate a full session. The first 3 stages can be seen in new light and refined as we deepen our understanding of the method and a practical shape of a session. We may work toward certification as a Hakomi Practitioner as well as continually cultivate our own personhood. There are no time limits here as each person will come to mastery in their own time.
We continue to attend trainings or workshops as needed to expand our understanding of the method, to enhance our practices and enrich our lives.
*The continual work of self-study may or may not be accompanied by a desire for certification although certification will always be accompanied by self-study.
The Certification Process
“If clients have a good Hakomi session, they will leave the session feeling that they have been related to in a lovingly skillful way and that they came to understand something about themselves that they didn’t realize until the session brought it into consciousness, allowed them to study it, supported them to experiment with other possibilities, and helped them to integrate a new more nourishing possibility in a mind-body way that they could take from the therapy session into their life consciously.”
~ Donna Martin
If you are interested in becoming certified, find a training team in your area that is offering a full training program. You should expect to learn the basics of the Hakomi Method over the course of about 45 days of training. After that period, you will continue to study as an advanced student. It is advisable to notify your training team that you are interested in becoming certified and they will begin to offer you feedback on your work in the training modules. Your next step would be to participate in a supervision program which is sometimes offered as part of the training, or you might find international certification programs sponsored by HEN.
When you feel ready for certification, you will be asked to submit a recording of a session that you feel represents your work. Along with a recording, you are asked to submit a written evaluation that would include an overview of the session, a description of yourself as a Hakomi practitioner (your strengths, what you are working on, what you've improved, what is a learning edge) and a summary of the session using Hakomi language (including necessary elements of the Hakomi Method). Your written analysis is a good way of demonstrating your understanding of the method. We suggest that you have peers look at the recording before submission because certification requires the approval of two trainers and there will be a cost associated with the certification process.
This final certification of your recording and commentary is part of a process that complements the in-person coaching and training that happens in the training sessions and the supervision program. We certify a body of work for a student and the recording is the final stage in that process.
The certification process varies in time from person to person. In our experience, a student is ready for supervision and certification after 60 days of training. However, many other factors influence the process – previous training, personal development and a person’s affinity for the method.
Each training team has its own style and method of certification. Please ask for more details from your training team.