Hakomi: Body-Centered Therapy

Hakomi is a method of Body-Centered Psychotherapy & Mindfulness Based Self-Discovery. Based on a trust that every individual has inner wisdom and the power for self-healing, Hakomi uses mindfulness and the body to facilitate personal growth and transformation. Hakomi draws upon systems theory, character typology, neuroscience, eastern spiritual philosophy and the western tradition of body-psychotherapies. It recognizes that mind and body jointly express and reflect our most deeply held beliefs about self and the outer world.

Hakomi explores this mind/body connection to bring our core, usually unconscious beliefs to conscious awareness. From the body’s structure, tensions, movements, sensations and impulses, we gain information about our self-image and general way of being in the world. This exploration takes place in a special state of consciousness called mindfulness. Easily available to almost everyone, it is a state in which one not only has experiences, but is also able “to stand outside” and notice his/her experience. Applying mindfulness to in-the-moment perception, we are able to search gently beneath our emotional attitudes and behaviour patterns to find the basic images, memories and beliefs which shape the various aspects our experience.

Avoiding problem-solving or advice-giving, emphasis is on reevaluating these old, limiting beliefs and, often, the childhood events that created them. We may then choose new, more satisfying options and actively incorporate them into our everyday lives. Such self-study requires an environment of safety, and Hakomi is explicit in creating such an environment. We do this by proceeding slowly and gently, within an context of loving presence and non-judgement, and by continually protecting the client’s spirit. Defenses and resistance, for example, are examined, appreciated and invited to contribute, rather than confronted or overpowered. This attitude of respect we call non-violence. In this atmosphere, client and therapist may best cooperate, and powerful learning and change become possible.


Year I of the Hakomi Program includes 4 weekend intensive training workshops.

The Practice of Loving Presence

This workshops provides an experiential method to cultivate, though mindfulness, qualities of authenticity, deep communication, detachment, non-judgement, full engagement and compassionate presence that will benefit anyone who is dealing with other people (and that’s just about all of us).

Quieting the Mind

This workshop brings to awareness the emotions, ideas and memories that habitually drive us to keep busy, to continuously strive, to be always running towards some things and away from others. These states often define us as they move our thoughts, feelings and actions. To quiet the mind, even for a few moments, we must stop all that movement. In the process, we learn to create a stable, peaceful state of mind.

Nourishing Communication

All intimate and important relationships are enriched by nourishing communication. This workshop studies and helps create new habits around giving and receiving nourishing communications, including touch and speech. The group participants support one another in deepening and expanding abilities to receive and enjoy love and nourishment, as well as to develop skills in helping others to feel loved and nourished.

Non-Verbal Awareness

This workshop will assist in increasing your ability to provide a safe, healing presence for the exploration of non-verbal communication for others. Guided exercises are designed to dramatically expand your capacity to attend to subtle, habitual patterns and the experience under those patterns of gestures, tones and facial expressions, naming them to bring unconscious beliefs into awareness.

Training Fees

Each workshop is $300 plus HST

Hugh Smiley: Facilitator

In 1979, Hugh Smiley met and learned with Ron Kurtz, the founder of the Hakomi Method, in Florida and during the following years became certified as a therapist and teacher in this method of somatic psychotherapy. Before returning to Canada, a vision came to establish a holistic healing centre in the country. This manifested in 1988 as Heartsong Hill, a 50-acre forested retreat on Georgian Bay. After 8 years of incredible, transforming experiences there, Hugh moved full-time to Toronto and now currently offers sessions in psychotherapy, creative voicework and meditation coaching. In 2007, Hugh completed a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto.

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