Hakomi Simplified: The Refined Method

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. —Albert Einstein

Ron Kurtz

“My work is very simple.” I told him. It just took me forty years to make it so.” Now I think it’s as simple as it’s going to get. I did a lot of reading and thinking during those forty years. I made a lot of changes. For the first ten years I had a private practice. I started with Gestalt and later moved on to Bioenergetics. My love of Taoism and Buddhism started ten years before that. By the time I left private practice and started teaching, my work had become a complete method. It contained some defining unique elements. In 1981, during one of the first trainings, I named it, The Hakomi Method. Right after that first training, I founded the Hakomi Institute.

As the Institute grew, the method also grew. New techniques and theory were added. Handbooks were written. The work becoming complex. Graphics were produced, lists drawn up. Lots of writing, too! Dozens of new experiential exercises were created. Most of these developments were covered in my book, Body Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method, published in 1990. All along, a large body of scientific literature influenced the changes I was making to the method.

You might expect that the method would have just kept getting more complex. It didn’t happen that way. Years of teaching and doing therapy helped me understand what was actually necessary and what wasn’t. The growing scientific literature was full of discoveries and ideas that made sense of what I was trying to do as a therapist. They helped me boil down my understanding of the method to a few general truths. Like this one from Rudolpho Llinás: “The brain is a virtual reality machine.” Or this one, from Jonah Lehrer: “Every memory is inseparable from the moment of its recollection.”

Year by year, I learned more and more what helped and what was harmful or unnecessary. The result was that the method became simple. Much simpler that it had been. Slowly, over a decade or more, I have refined it.

This new simplified method is the very best way I know to support a person’s mental-emotional healing. Being simple, the method does not interfere. Being simple, it is graceful and efficient. Being simple, it acts in accordance with nature. The new method offers deep kindness, true presence and the skills to help without forcing anything.