Saturday
Jan012011

In Ron's words: About the Refined Method

It has been over forty years since I began creating the Hakomi Method.  At present, it is being formally taught by dozens of trainers and teachers in a dozen countries and informally in several more.  During those years the work has evolved quite a bit.  A few major changes and many lesser ones have been made.  The latest version is a significant improvement on the original version.  Much has been added, refinements made, and a good deal, now deemed unnecessary, has been dropped.  In the hands of a skilled practitioner, the work is simple and effective.  

From the beginning, the work focused on present experience, used mindfulness and simple experiments to evoke reactions and insight.  Those elements remain the core of the method.  Sixteen years ago, I introduced the idea that loving presence is the appropriate state of mind for the practitioner.  I made it the first and most important task.  That change placed the ultimate power of the work in something more that the  techniques.  I realized that the real source of the method’s effectiveness is the mental-emotional capacity of the therapist.  That realization made a huge difference and continues to be the most significant aspect of the method.

More recently and as significant, I came to understand the work not so much as psychotherapy, but more as a way to assist others in studying themselves.  I call it, Assisted Self-Discovery.  I see the method now as aiding in the natural human wish to understand, to know our world, but mostly to know and understand ourselves.  I see the method now as mindfulness-based, assisted self-discovery. There are very good reasons why we need discover who we really are and doing so is real work.  Seen in this light, the method had its origins not just in the theories of western psychology that I studied in graduate school, but even more so in the principles and practices of Buddhism and Taoism that inspired me a dozen years before.  As assisted self-study, the method can be part of any form of psychotherapy. And it is more than what most people think psychotherapy is.  It is basic to all human relations.  It is a natural part of the universal human endeavor to free ourselves of the inevitable suffering that follows from ignorance of who we are and how the world hangs together.  It is the same path taken by everyone who works to reach beyond the half-remembered hurts and failed beliefs that linger unexamined in the body and the mind.  This work is part of that heroic labor, cousin to sitting meditation, singing bowls and chanting monks.  

Anyone who is motivated to understand herself or himself and capable of a few moments of calm and openness will have no trouble pursuing self-study using this method.  And just as exciting, assisting someone in that process is within the reach of any good-hearted, clear and intelligent person who takes the time to learn the method.

A word of appreciation.  In practicing, learning and teaching all these years, I have benefited greatly from the people I have assisted, the colleagues I have worked with, and all the bright and loving students who have been part of my life.  To all of them, I offer my heartfelt thanks!