Bringing peace to the world one person at a time
ISSUE 6 â€¢ 2018
WHER EI N
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NIT Y T R U S
It is now possible to make a donation that will support someone to do the Hoffman Process, through our new partnership with UK charity Earth Community Trust
‘As Founder of the Earth Community Trust, and a Hoﬀman graduate, sometimes a natural aﬃnity presents itself - and we’re delighted that the Hoﬀman Institute UK is our first organisational partner to come under our funding umbrella. At ECT we believe in people care, as well as earth care.
‘When I first met Polly Higgins from the Earth Community Trust, I knew we’d found an organisation with similar values: uniting people and planet. Our exciting partnership with ECT will enable more people to take the Process, extending Bob Hoﬀman’s ethos, teachings and legacy into the wider world.’
By teaming up with Hoﬀman, anyone – whether they have experienced the Hoﬀman Process or not - Serena Gordon, can gift funds via our charity. Hoﬀman is very much Managing Director and Co-Founder, Hoffman UK aligned with ECT’s passion - aspiring to something that Bob Hoﬀman himself greatly believed in: peace.’ Polly Higgins,
Barrister, Ecocide Law Expert and Founder of ECT
For more details about making a donation via the partnership, visit:
www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk/donate For more about Earth Community Trust, visit:
www.earthcommunitytrust.org The Earth Community Trust is a registered UK Charity No.1143660
Welcome to the sixth issue of the Hoffman Magazine. We have so many inspiring stories we want to share this year that we have made this edition bigger than ever before. I’m hugely grateful to the wonderful team that has put this expanded version together.
INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL CONFERENCE MAY 2018, UK
A giant thank you must also go to the Hoffman graduate community for continuing to share Process stories, wisdom and experience. Your voice helps this work find its way into the hearts and minds of thousands of people and spread it around a world that seems to need it now more than ever. Our focus this year is on the balance between inner and outer worlds. Human suffering and conflict continue to dominate headline news, but if we don’t take responsibility for our collective actions, we’ll create long term problems for our planet. We’re united by the air we breathe; we support one another by creating a community of care.
Hoffman International operates from 17 centres in 14 countries. Whether you’re right at the beginning of your Hoffman journey or a seasoned explorer, you can be sure there’s a global community of fellow travellers to support you on your way.
By enabling more people to do the Process, I’m proud that we can continue to step on board Bob Hoffman’s vision ‘to bring peace to the world one person at a time’. WHER EI N
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With love from Serena
One of our wonderfully vocal Hoffman graduates... Clifford Price MBE, aka Goldie, pictured with his ‘kind of mentor when it comes to the Hoffman Process.’ See page 34 for excerpts from Goldie’s recent autobiography All Things Remembered.
Serena Gordon Managing Director and Co-Founder, Hoffman UK
Hoffman International www.hoffman-international.com
With a holistic approach in mind, I’m excited to announce the launch of a new charitable partnership between Hoffman and the Earth Community Trust. ECT is a charity established in 2011 to address situations where visionary work is prevented from happening because of lack of access to funding. As an ECT partner, we’ll be able to accept donations to expand the reach of the Process to more people who give their services to society and their own communities but who may not be in a position to afford the course.
N I T Y T R U ST
Editor: Serena Gordon email@example.com
Design by Minka Design www.minka.co.uk
Production Editor: Debbie Kennedy firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover image by James Wood www.minka.co.uk
Editorial team: Nikki Wyatt, Zoe Flint, Melissa Alers-Hankey
Enquires: For all enquiries, please call +44(0)1903 88 99 90 or email email@example.com
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Contents Contact us
p4 Seven Days To Change A Lifetime
p16 Seize The Day!
‘My wife had been encouraging me to
It’s never too early to make an
try it for years…’ GQ Editor and author Dylan Jones writes about his Hoffman Process.
Visit: www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +44(0)1903 88 99 90
investment in yourself and your future. Meet three young Hoffman graduates fully equipped for what life has in store.
p8 Reconnecting To Joy
p18 ‘The Results Are Abundant’
Michael Kehlet shares his experience
World-renowned addiction and trauma
of having a beautiful home, successful career and loving family, but still facing self-doubt.
p11 Unleashing Creativity Botanical artistJess Shepherd talks about the effect that the Process had on her creative and professional career.
p12 Surviving After Surviving The powerful story of how Saskia Lichtenstern recovered from breast cancer - and its aftermath.
p14 Waitin’ On A Sunny Day Entrepreneur and philanthropist Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones tells his inspiring story of overcoming childhood adversity and illness and reaching a place of celebration.
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expert Dr Gabor Maté gives his views on the benefits of the Hoffman Process.
p19 Caring For The Carer ‘I suddenly felt a complete and utter inability to take care of the people around me any more…’ Allie Astell describes how she regained control of her own destiny after years of being a caretaker to people around her.
p22 Post-Traumatic Growth A twelve-year journey of living in conflict zones while battling with the one playing out inside myself…’ Psychotherapist and Hoffman enrolment supervisor Karen Abbs shares her experience.
p25 Embarking On Your Hoffman Journey Thinking about Hoffman but not sure what to expect? Our four-page guide will help you on your way.
p36 How Healthy Are Your Boundaries? Are you a pushover? Or do people view you as distant and rigid? Counsellor Susan McGrath invites us to take her boundary quiz.
p46 Freedom To Move On From The Past Craniosacral therapist Caroline Laurence examines how the Process helped her overcome her retirement fears.
p30 Mindful Leadership
p38 ‘This Article Isn’t Very Good’
p48 Mind, Body & Spirit
Robbie Steinhouse and Anni Townend
Spontaneity Consultant Steve Chapman
‘What the mind represses, the body
explore how the Hoffman Process can help bring a new dimension to the boardroom.
explores how he learned to do battle with his Inner Critic and challenge his self-doubt.
p32 My Wife Did The Hoffman Process
p40 Serious About Change?
‘Eventually, I just let go of trying to
Journalist Trish Lesslie emerges from
pigeonhole it and decided I’d just have to trust it all…’ Read the candid account of a partner who stayed at home.
p34 Not Exactly A Hoffman Process Poster Boy… Excerpts from the autobiography of UK music legend Goldie, the ‘godfather of urban rave.’
the Process the same person - but with a very different attitude.
p42 Walking The Dog Broadcaster, journalist and comedienne Emily Dean learns that letting go of anger is the most powerful gift you can give yourself.
p44 Sweetness And Light Superstar Daisy Lowe shares a tempting
expresses.’ Three very different experts in holistic living examine the connection that intertwines the emotional and the physical.
p51 The Hoffman Bookshelf Inspiring reads from the Hoffman shelf, by Tim Laurence, Jasmine Hemsley, Priya Rana Kapoor, Nick Duffell and Thurstine Bassett.
p52 Opening Up To Forgiveness Fitness trainer, actor and model Daniel Ventura talks candidly about facing up to his childhood demons and reaching a place of compassion.
recipe from her health-conscious cook book.
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‘THE HOFFMAN PROCESS IS ONE OF THOSE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCES THAT WILL LEAVE YOU CHANGED FOREVER. I SHOULD KNOW, BECAUSE I MYSELF HAVE CHANGED.’
BY JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR, DYLAN JONES
Like many people I know, I had been seeing a therapist on and off for years, but had never seen the need to shout about it or indeed discuss it with anyone. The older you get though, the more the past starts to catch up with you. Mine had probably never left me. I spent most of my childhood being hit by my father - when he wasn’t hitting my mother, that is. I was beaten relentlessly and repeatedly (daily, in fact), hit so hard that for years it was difficult for me to speak without stammering, finding it impossible to repeat my own name. For most of my life, all I could remember about the violence came in abstract, fuzzy images and I think I managed to pretty much blank most of it out. When I became a teenager, I began treating it almost as badge of honour, like having a criminal for a father, advertising what a tough time I’d had, an excuse for delinquent behaviour and appalling results at school. And then I just buried it, for years, just put it into another box, one I rarely even looked at.
When I first spoke to Serena Gordon who, along with Tim Laurence, bought the Hoffman licence from Bob Hoffman in 1995, I enquired as to whether or not anyone ever wrote about their experiences - and then immediately dismissed any idea that I might want to write about my own. Not only would it compromise me, it could compromise others on the course. I felt almost as though Hoffman was a bit like Fight Club (the first rule of the Hoffman Process is you do not talk about the Hoffman Process), because whenever I discovered that one of my friends had done it, and so far they number seven that I know of - all I got was a knowing look and a big smile. Not one of them had anything but complete praise for the course, even if they wouldn’t tell me anything about it. The Hoffman Process is a personal development course with a difference, one that involves a variety of therapeutic techniques, including Eastern mysticism, deep meditation, a form of group therapy and a lot of physically expressive work. The Process has a unique recipe, drawing ingredients from various well-worn modalities, including Gestalt therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy, bioenergetics and some fairly extreme psychodynamic work. Examples include journalling, meditation and guided visualisation. It has become, for many,
4 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
PHOTO CREDIT: JUSTINA MINTZ/AMC
had no intention of ever writing about the Hoffman Process. My wife had been encouraging me to try it for years - apparently my behaviour was becoming so impossible (I was emotionally detached, never ‘present’ and unable to empathise or emote) that the family were walking on eggshells - and when I finally relented, I vowed to keep it a secret.
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DYLAN JONES PHOTO CREDIT: BRITISH GQ/CONDÉ NAST’ 6 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
a life-changing experience that can clinically remove negative habits. Many who finish the Process become evangelical and it has been compared to a form of rehab. The practitioners tear you down then build you back up again, teaching you tools and techniques to help change old behavioural patterns that may be preventing you from feeling fully alive and freeing you to make conscious choices that will improve your relationships with the people around you. It is intensive and often transformational. Even Goldie is a convert. ‘In the Nineties, Goldie became this mad character and I sometimes went a little too far,’ he says, referring to himself in the third person. ‘I’d gone to rehab, I was getting beaten up for my sins three days a week, and it didn’t f***ing work. It wasn’t until I did the Hoffman Process that the whole process of reinventing myself began.’ The salient belief of the Process is the importance of childhood or, more precisely, the emotional discovery of the truth about the unique history of our childhood. This is what the psychotherapist Alice Miller calls the drama of being a child. ‘In order to become whole we must try to discover our own personal truth,’ she says, ‘a truth that may cause pain before giving us a new sphere of freedom.’ This is now a popular psychological belief, fast-tracked by John Bowlby’s attachment theory, which holds that mental health and behavioural patterns are largely attributed to early childhood. The Process is designed to help the unmoored identify negative behaviours, moods and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously and were conditioned in childhood. Its aims? ‘To help you become conscious of and disconnected from negative patterns of thought and behaviours on an emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual level in order to make significant positive changes in your life. You will learn to remove habitual ways of thinking and behaving, align with your authentic self and respond to situations in your life from a place of conscious choice.’ At the end of last year I went along to an introduction evening at Regent’s University, in Regent’s Park in London, to see what all the fuss was about. I sat at the back of the room looking for all the world like a broadly drawn secret agent from the Fifties, with my collar turned up and my hat pulled down, adamant that no one should notice me. And as I listened to half a dozen Hoffman graduates get up and discuss the course, telling us all how good it had been for them
- and they were nothing if not passionate in their espousal - we heard time and time again that it’s best if you don’t know too much about it before you go, principally in case it scares you off. How right they were. Six months later, I turned up at a small country house hotel on the south coast along with 23 other nervous inductees. To say that we were all wary is a massive understatement and while a few kind souls went out of their way to be nice to each other, most of us were grunting and staring at our shoes. We were then encouraged to walk into a room and take our seats, ready to embark on a metaphorical journey that I imagine none of us on the course will ever forget. And why would we want to? After all, the Hoffman Process is one of those once- in-a-lifetime experiences that will leave you changed forever. I should know, because I myself have changed.
‘THIS WASN’T AN X-FACTOR JOURNEY, THOUGH. THIS WAS REAL, A GENUINE SENSATION.’
As I say, if you knew what the course involves you probably wouldn’t want to have anything to do with it, but rarely have I found a week so fulfilling as the one I spent at Hoffman. It is difficult to describe the intensity of some of the group work, and out of courtesy to the other people on the course I’m not going to tell. Suffice it to say that you are encouraged to go back into your childhood - deeply into your childhood - in a way that I didn’t think was possible. Yes, there is a fair amount of expressive work, but there are also techniques for delving into your memories so precisely that the trauma of childhood is scooped out of you - where it is examined, recontextualised and eventually sent on its way. Even though it is a process driven by emotion, intellectually it is fascinating. On the final day, I came back to London something of a different person. As I drove up the M23, with a car full of fellow Hoffman graduates, the world seemed different too, slightly lighter, though slightly fractured and not without its challenges. A crowded motorway was perhaps not the best way to re-enter civilisation (in fact, it is recommended that you actually squirrel yourself away for a couple of days by yourself in a hotel, advice I stupidly ignored), but it helped contextualise the extraordinary journey I’d been on. This wasn’t an X-Factor journey, though. This was real, a genuine sensation. That sensation is still with me; the pulse is weaker now, but it’s definitely there, reminding me forever that the Hoffman Process is real too, a psychic tattoo that you can’t easily remove.
This article is an edited extract from Dylan’s original in GQ magazine, and is reproduced with kind permission of British GQ: gq-magazine.co.uk
I loved my week by the sea. And you know what? I want to go back. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 7
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By Michael Kehlet
‘What is wrong with me? Why is life so hard? Nothing’s going my way…’
alking across Waterloo Bridge in early 2016, I felt like a complete failure. I wanted to scoop up my family and run away from everything, but I had no clue where to go. The irony of the situation didn’t escape me. After all, I’d achieved the vast majority of my goals. I was living in a beautiful home outside London with two wonderful kids, the wife of my dreams and a job at the LEGO Group that many would love to have.
with a different path in mind - our very own personal path. Slowly and surely through the week, I was given the opportunity to increase my level of understanding, to see what I had really become, why I was here, what had made me who I am and to rediscover the person I’d always wanted to be. For me, I found a new perspective on the life I was living and renewed passion for what I was doing. It also became crystal clear that some things had to change.
For months and months, I’d been trying to convince myself how incredibly fortunate I was. But even the darkest hours were not enough to make me change - until the day I took an honest look at myself and my family and realised how much my negative thoughts and patterns were affecting my two sons, Jesper and Oliver.
Above all, I emerged with one key question that I’ve continued to ask myself ever since, ‘What will make me happy?’ I realised that I had to stop compromising my own needs to please others and to be aware that when I nurture my own happiness and motivation, I’m able to be there so much more for the people I love. In fact, I have a much greater impact on the things that are important to me in all areas of my life.
‘I’m able to be there so much more for the people I love.’
I remember that January day very clearly; I’d just arrived home from a trip. I was standing in the bathroom late at night and my wife was smiling radiantly in a way that reminded me of two earlier occasions in our relationship. She was holding three white sticks in her hand. Trying to put a smile on my face, I remember having only one thought, ‘Oh, no! Another beautiful child I will destroy!’ This was my wake-up call; it was time to act. A very special person led me to the Hoffman Process and helped me realise that I needed to go deep to find the answers I was looking for. When I reached the site at Florence House in Sussex, I was nervous, doubtful and afraid of what was to come. Twenty of us were on the Process, all with similar intentions. Yet we each walked away
With this new mindset, my wife and I made the decision to realise a long-cherished dream. Despite being warned against it by several senior executives who thought it might negatively affect my career, I decided to take a three-month sabbatical to switch off and spend quality time with my family. Little Jack was born at the end of October, and in March we packed our bags and set off on our adventures. Together with Jesper and Oliver, we’d selected destinations we’d never seen and cultures we’d not been exposed to before. For two months, the five of us travelled with backpacks filled with nappies, sunscreen and snorkelling gear and with huge smiles. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 9
‘Happiness is out there waiting for us to grab onto it’
We experienced fascinating and far-flung destinations like Takayama in Japan, Lake Taupo in New Zealand, Bora Bora and Tahiti. Together we created amazing memories. This last year has flown by and I haven’t lost sight of what I discovered during that special week in July. There have definitely been ups and downs, but reconnecting to the group, talking to the Hoffman teachers a few times and using the Hoffman tools have all helped me stay on track. The most important source of motivation for me has been to feel the difference Hoffman has made to me and to my family. My wife is still reminding me of the difference she is seeing, my two oldest sons have opened up to me much more and today we talk about topics we would never have discussed in the past. I find it hard to explain exactly what has changed, but they feel the impact of my changes, and I am incredibly grateful for that. Leading up to my paternity leave and since I’ve been back at work, I’ve been much happier and significantly more motivated. I know that my situation may not seem to have altered greatly - it is pretty much the same as before I went on the Hoffman Process - but the way I feel about where I am is very different. While very little has changed in the world around me, I am miles away from what I felt eighteen months ago walking across Waterloo Bridge. Now I find happiness in all parts of my life, when playing with the boys, sitting quietly next to each other, cooking and singing. I feel deep joy in watching Jack learn to pick up a green pea… amazing how patient that little fellow is, trying fifteen times to get one little green pea in his mouth, smiling proudly, before trying again another ten times. Remember that happiness is out there waiting for us to grab onto it. It’s never too late – and it’s so worth it! 10 | Hof fman Institute UK: UK +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
by Botanical Artist Jess Shepherd
he Process has helped me to focus on my dreams. It was during my week at Florence House that I realised just how much I wanted to be a full-time painter. It had been a childhood dream, but I never thought I could make a living from it until one of the activities made me realise it would be possible. After the Process I made a commitment to my painting and moved house. It was the best thing Iâ€™ve ever done. I suddenly had the confidence
Leaf, Ricinius Communis: Jess Shepherd Photo of Jess: Nick Probert
I needed to alter my career path. I would never have believed it possible for me to hold a solo exhibition of my work in the centre of London, to publish a book, or to present on television. For this, I will always be grateful to Hoffman.
After a successful show in London, Jess is now embarking on her next project Blue Flower. More info here: inkyleaves.com/blue-ďŹ‚ower w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 11
by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
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Photo: Amelia Allen
‘I am a very lucky man with everything to live for. So why did I feel so blue?’
By Saskia Lichtenstern
eople assume that the hardest part of cancer is the treatment - the chemo, the radiation, the hair falling out - but it isn’t. The hardest part comes after, when loved ones have gone back to their daily lives, the treatment is over and you’ve been given the ‘all clear’. That’s when the hard part begins. Within a year of finishing treatment, I found myself in a dark pit of despair. I had ‘survived’ cancer and yet now I was struggling to survive life. The person I was ‘before’ disappeared the moment the doctor told me I had breast cancer. In that second she was gone forever. I was numb and on automatic pilot for the next two years during treatment and reconstruction. But after all that, the ‘old me’ never came back, and I was left with a new self that was a complete stranger to me.
my whole life. The Hoffman Process was the beginning of this transformation. It threw me a rope so I could start the climb out of that black hole I had found myself in. No, I didn’t go to Hoffman for seven days and come home a perfect enlightened being; but I did come home laden with tools, knowledge and a newfound spiritual awareness to prepare me for the journey ahead. Just as we go to the gym to maintain a strong body, we need a regular spiritual routine to keep our thoughts and hearts full of positivity and hope. Hoffman taught me those spiritual routines, which have
person that opens up their soul to me and shares five pearls of wisdom will be credited as an author of the book. All they need do is email me five things that helped them find joy after breast cancer. This book is just the start. I hope this will be the beginning of a movement - a sisterhood of survivors, offering experience, strength and hope for women stepping in our post-cancer treatment footsteps. Eventually I’d love to see a series of books written by people who endured something profound and overcame, people who want to make sure no one else has to suffer the same way they did. So please spread the word. I need to gather pearls of wisdom from breast cancer survivors from every corner of the globe and I can’t do it alone. Tell everyone and anyone about this project and ask them to pass the information forward.
‘Within a year of finishing treatment, I found myself in a dark pit of despair. I had ‘survived’ cancer and yet now I was struggling to survive life.’
I found myself lost, completely alone, stuck in a deep black hole with no way out. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t ask for more support and attention from loved ones after they had made their worlds revolve around me for so long already. How could complain after I had survived cancer? I mean, how ungrateful is that? So I kept my mouth shut and suffered in silence. Now fast-forward three years and I am the happiest I have ever been in
become an integral part of my everyday life. Now I want to help other people; which is why I have started writing The Five Pearls, a book to help women survive life after surviving breast cancer. The Five Pearls will be a book written by thousands of people. There are no egos here, this isn’t about becoming famous or writing a best seller. The Five Pearls is only about changing lives and spreading love. I want to make sure no woman has to go through the same hell I endured post-cancer; that every beautiful breast cancer survivor can find her way to light and joy. Each
I thank you in advance, and am immensely grateful for your help. I think we all agree there is way too much fear, doom and gloom in the world today. Let’s do something huge and magnificent to prove we can overcome by spreading love.
For more information on The Five Pearls project or to take part, visit: thefivepearls.com w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 13
‘I am a very lucky man with everything to live for. So why did I feel so blue?’
by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
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I am driving down the M1 and the afternoon sun is blasting out its wonder and, to totally appreciate its glorious light, I fumble around to find my Ray-Bans. Glasses on, cruising down the motorway, I am a picture of ‘isn’t life great!’ To totally submerge myself into the moment, I turn up the radio to full volume and, as if by magic, one of my favourite artists, Bruce Springsteen, starts to sing. It is trademark Springsteen. Upbeat and hard to sit still to. This particular tune, however, also has a lyric which I am not expecting. It starts to stir a feeling inside my stomach which, for a year now, I have been fighting to keep at bay. My tears are a testimony to which emotion has won the fight to be heard. Logic, control and reason have no place here. The words that have found a way through are, ‘I am waitin’ on a sunny day.’ Although it is sunny outside, everything inside, as the song goes on to say, is ‘raining but there isn’t a cloud in the sky’. My soul knows my truth and will not allow me an escape route. I have to endure this pain, this loneliness, this despair. Today is not an off-day; it is another day when nothing will let the pain go away. ‘When you’re serious about change’ were the words that jumped out at me when I was searching the internet for personal development courses. It was as though these words were a challenge to me, also cautioning me but somehow enticing. I understand the power of the word ‘change’, for everything that I am today is because I have embraced its true meaning.
I am the classic ‘poor boy done well’. I dragged myself out of society’s dustbin heap to achieve great success. I have all the trappings of a man who has succeeded. Confident, strong, in control of my destiny, constantly applauded as a remarkable man. But in the dead of night or simply driving down the motorway, ‘Bruce Springsteen’ and I knew that something was not right. I had beaten the odds against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and was able to celebrate reaching the all-clear target of three years without a relapse since my stem cell transplant, and I was fast approaching my 60th birthday, a date I wasn’t supposed to see. I am a very lucky man with everything to live for, so why was it that Bruce and his kind made me feel blue. ‘Why are you here and what do you want to achieve?’ was the question posed by the Hoffman Process. For me, the question I needed answering is, ‘How can I live my life differently than I have done in the previous sixty years?’ For, however it may appear on the outside, the truth is that everything I have achieved was driven by fear, unhappiness and loneliness. I was burdened by responsibility and people seeing me as the problem in their life.
moments for me were when I met my little boy and my Dad’s little boy. It was so good to meet them after such a long time. That taught me the power of forgiveness and compassion. I have already benefited greatly in business by using my emotional self and keeping logic and reason from places they don’t belong. I have gone back to my love of music. My greatest learning is the power of vulnerability. I tried to spend my life hiding my vulnerability, but Hoffman taught me that you can’t get creativity and innovation without it. My creativity has gone up a gear and I have already won a big piece of business by coming up with a concept that I would never have thought of before. Watch this space. People around me have seen great change but it is not all easy going. I have to get better at biting my lip when other people’s old patterns get in my way. ‘You’re only responsible for tidying up your side of the street’ keeps ringing in my ear. Sometimes ‘the dark side’ has a field day but now I know I have a choice and that helps to centre me.
We all have our own stories about the impact that the Hoffman Process has had on our lives. For me, it has been transformational.
Now when Bruce sings, ‘I am waitin’ on a sunny day,’ I no longer have that sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach. My gyrating body is celebrating the best 60th birthday anyone could ever have.
I discovered many things that made sense and gave me clarity and I rediscovered parts of who I am that had lain dormant. Key
You can read more of Wilfred’s remarkable story on his website: theblackfarmer.com w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 15
Ed Hodge Structural Engineer My life was very busy, intense, tiring and frustrating. I had so much hope for my future and had achieved a lot but I couldn’t see or feel that. I lived my daily life with anxiety, fear of judgement and a struggle with low self-esteem. I just couldn’t relax, and I felt responsible for a lot of things I faced, especially around my family. So I decided to do the Hoffman Process. It’s had an indescribable amount of impact on my life. I view and experience life so differently now, through what I am able to see, think, feel and choose. I am a much calmer person because of this and I’m now able to pick out beauty in the world around me that seemed non-existent before. The Process has helped me realise the importance of self-love, self-acceptance and taking care of myself. I am now able to experience a relationship with my family with deep understanding, compassion and care, 16 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
which was too painful and simply not possible before. I strive for a healthy work/life balance, and am really able to step back and take things as they come. This Process is like nothing else: uncovering, seeing, feeling, setting free and changing your life and others’ in a way that will always be hard to put into words. Experiencing this at a young age opens your perspective and opportunities for your whole life in front of you. I’d say to someone else of my age who’s asking themselves what their future holds, ‘Go for it!’ No matter what your current situation is, your upbringing, what you have or haven’t been through, it’s a life-changing experience - and having the opportunity to do it at this age is so exciting. You have your whole life in front of you, one which could be positively shaped and could lead you to a path you may only have dreamed of.
It’s never too early to make an investment in yourself and your future. Here we speak to some of our younger Hoffman graduates, Stella, Ellie and Ed, about their experiences before and after the Process.
‘I remember not really understanding how to separate myself from my parents’ stuff, which burdened me for so long.’ - Stella
Stella Talpo Singer/Songwriter ‘So many people were able to get through hard times before we had self-development or Hoffman,’ I thought to myself. ‘What difference would it really make to me?’ By the time I decided to sign up for the Process, I was riddled with anxiety, confusion, indecisiveness and disassociation. My childhood involved a lot of moving around, dictated by my parents’ fluctuating emotions about life and their feelings for each other. There was always a sense of worry, or being on the brink of collapse. I remember not really understanding how to separate myself from my parents’ stuff, which burdened me for so long. When I finally rolled up at Hoffman aged 24, my mind was a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts. I felt tremendous hope that it might be the one thing that could pull me out of my uncontrollable spiral, but I also found it hard to
believe that much change could really occur in just a week. What Hoffman did for me was to peel the layers away; all the protection I’d wrapped myself up in through the years. It was no longer about adapting to or appeasing others, but about listening to my inner voice and intuition - something that I’d had all along but had gradually disconnected from. In that short, wonderful week away, I was taught how to separate myself from my behaviours so that I can make different, aware choices, rather than being dictated to by habitual patterns. I associated my creativity with struggle, so a part of me also feared losing the passion for writing that I’d used as my therapy for so long. But I was losing a grip on myself and my life as I entered adulthood. I knew if I didn’t try something, I would end up sabotaging my life
and the music career I so desperately wanted. How can you succeed as an artist if you don’t even know that you have a voice? It turned out that releasing myself from those suffocating behaviour patterns did not take away from my writing and music. It brought me to a place within myself that I‘d never visited before and enabled me to express myself in a richer, more profound way, from a place where I’m not necessarily driven by inner turmoil. Writing is no longer a battle between ego and people-pleasing, it’s an expression of my truest self. I will always be so grateful to the Hoffman Process and my fantastic teachers for giving me that.
Ellie Nunn Actress I turned up on the first day of the course feeling like an abject failure, barely able to make eye contact with the people around me. It was as though the expectations I had put on myself were physically weighing me down and crushing me. I was endlessly crying that I felt lost and hopeless and I was living in denial, emotionally self-harming. I came away at the end of the week feeling brave, powerful, excited by life, and loved. The support that surrounded me and continues to surround me is invaluable. Six months on from doing the Hoffman Process, I feel more positive and healthy than ever before, with such increased awareness that it is difficult for me to get into an argument or get upset without thinking myself out of it almost immediately. By checking in with myself and looking at my own behaviour, I’m able to spot old habits in an instant and I find
‘Those closer to me see me as brighter, more straightforward and more optimistic’ I have no problem owning them and moving forward. Those close to me see me as brighter, more straightforward and more optimistic. It’s strengthened family bonds and brought back so much of the laughter in my relationships that I had lost sight of in recent years. I still have a lot of demons to face up to and a lot of work to do, but Hoffman well and truly set me sailing off down the right course, surrounded by so much love and looking life in the eyes.
Photo credit: Charlie Carter
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Hoffman Supervising Teacher Mairi Russell with Dr. Gabor Maté at the Breath of Life conference, London 2017
Dr. Gabor Maté is a renowned speaker and the bestselling author of In the Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. He’s internationally recognised as a leading authority on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development.
fter I participated in the week-long Hoffman Process, someone close to me told me I looked ‘ten years younger.’ That was literally true, since ageing — for many of us — means accumulating more psychic burdens, along with more age lines on faces.
By such means we become younger.
But what if we could let go of the old stuff, of the burdens imposed on us by difficult life experiences? What if we could be in the present and have some inner technology by which to recognise what is tired and tiresome and no longer helpful and let go of such material?
The Process requires commitment, not just for the week itself but beyond. It is a commitment to the practices learned and a commitment to one’s ongoing transformation.
The Hoffman Process is a highly sophisticated yet essentially simple means of transforming one’s relationship with the most important person in our lives: ourselves.
For those willing to commit to themselves to the Hoffman Process, the results are abundant.
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‘Dr. Gabor Maté is one of the most significant influences on my teaching and my own personal development. His humanity, extensive research, personal history and professional medical experience make compelling connections, which ring true for me.’ Hoffman Supervising Teacher Mairi Russell
by Allie Astell
‘I had what appeared to be a ‘jet-set’ life. But my passion or appreciation for that life had all but disappeared’
can’t really pin down what led my spirit to break so spectacularly back in February 2013.
I had been living in Dahab for two years by then, a beautiful area by the Red Sea in Egypt surrounded by clear blue waters, magical mountains, enchanting deserts and breath-taking sunsets and sunrises. Surely this was the stuff of dreams – but none of it inspired me any more. I felt empty.
others with a smile on my face, ignoring whatever I was going through in my own life, hiding my emotions and ignoring my real needs. That worked for as long as I could remember, but I suddenly felt a complete and utter inability to do it any more. And if that was the case, who was I? I seemed to be taking care of just about everyone around me in some shape or form, but I didn’t love myself, and I felt unlovable. I had lost myself.
‘I’ve never sobbed so uncontrollably or laughed from my heart so much in my entire life as I did on the Process’
In theory, the crucial jigsaw pieces for a happy existence were all there: a close family, amazing friends, living in an Islamic culture that meant the locals I knew were among the most welcoming and warm people I’ve ever come across. I had what appeared to be a ‘jet-set’ life. But my passion or appreciation for that life had all but disappeared.
My role since childhood had always been ‘the strong one’ who could handle anything and was always there for family and friends to lean on - maybe because of being an older sibling and looking after my sister at boarding school from a very young age. I’d learned to always care for
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Then my 92-year-old grandmother became very sick and I flew back to the UK to help look after her. As I went through yet more emotions watching her deteriorate badly for a few days, I made a decision to book the Hoffman Process. I’d heard about the course a few years ago, as I know two people who completed it and I’m still astounded by the changes I see in the way they live their lives. I never thought I’d do it one day too, but by this point I was psychologically hurtling towards a huge brick wall. I’ve never sobbed so uncontrollably or laughed from my heart so much in my entire life as I did on the Process. The techniques that the teachers use are tried, tested and effective. They brought me to my
lowest ebb, and then gradually built me back up again - think of stripping a dead and rusty classic car, then rebuilding it piece by piece with shiny new parts, a complete oil change and a brand-new 1000-horsepower engine. Learning to deal with the patterns I’d developed over the past forty years was a revelation. I finally realised exactly how much damage I’d been doing to myself without even knowing it, and I learnt the tools to reverse that damage.
‘I finally realised exactly how much damage I’d been doing to myself without even knowing it, and I learned the tools to reverse that damage’
We were encouraged to talk about our feelings, worries, hopes and dreams. We opened up to each other in a way that I’d never really encountered, which creates a very strong bond that is hard to describe. The people who attended the Process with me were a joy to get to know, and two have even visited me in Dahab over the past few years. After graduating we were constantly in touch, checking up on each other.
When two friends suggested that I meet a man they considered to be perfect for me, as I was in a very good place emotionally and physically, I accepted. As much as I hate being ‘fixed up’, I was fascinated, as they’d been trying to persuade me for months. My relationship with Sofian, an oud-playing Bedouin from North Sinai, turned out to be the antithesis of some of the relationships I’d chosen to have in recent years. He’s a constant ray of sunshine in my life and we married in Cairo in April 2015, two years after the Process. We had a fusion Bedouin/British wedding party in the mountains of Dahab in the May, surrounded by our friends plus my Dad, his partner and my sister who flew over from the UK.
On my return to Dahab, I reintroduced myself to the things that made me happy. I reconnected with friends on a very different level as I had neglected those I loved badly in my depression. I also found joy in photography again.
My web design and consultancy business which I’d been on the brink of selling, is now flourishing. Delegation was all that was needed, but I had always been such a control freak. I’m still care-taking but I choose the people I want to help very carefully. I’m allowing myself more time to sit and be quiet, to think. Sometimes it was all too easy to keep busy and surround myself with white noise to block out what my heart was trying to tell me. That’s a hard habit to break, but I’ve managed to do it. You can read Allie’s blog and see more of her photography at: allieseye.com
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n 2005, I went to war. I fulfilled a lifelong dream and started working for an international charity that provided medical and mental health services in conflict-affected countries. I was elated, filled with pride at putting on the official t-shirt that now represented who I was. I was a Humanitarian, off to serve, support and help others. I went with such excitement, convinced that this was what I was meant to do, and how I wanted to live my life going forward. So began a 12-year-journey of living in conflict zones while battling with the one playing out inside myself. Trauma lives in our bodies; it hides away and visits us
when we least expect it. It comes up in our dreams, our memories, our thoughts and our actions. It colours our choices and prevents us from being clear about what we need. For the first few years, I gathered traumatic experiences like badges to be proud of. I lived through bombs, robberies, fighting and witnessed unimaginable suffering. It’s hard to know what was ‘the worst’, but one experience has stayed with me. I was working in a hospital in the Central African Republic and a young girl in the feeding centre wasn’t getting better. She would sit and stare at the wall, as would her mother. Not interacting with
by Karen Abbs, Psychotherapist and Hoffman UK Enrolment Supervisor each other. Not moving. I was working with local counsellors and we began to ask more questions. It turned out that the girl and her mother had witnessed all of the children in her village being forced into a grass hut and burned alive by the Janjaweed (a militia group that operates in Western Sudan and Eastern Chad). We visited the village, saw the burned skeleton of the hut and the graves and with that came a profound feeling of hopelessness in humanity. How could a human being do this to children? Through talking with the mother and her daughter and doing counselling, we were able to support them and they left the hospital physically healthy, but I often think about
them. They were going back into the jungle, into poverty and conflict. What happened to them? Despite all of this, war zones felt ‘right’. I felt comfortable in a way that I didn’t understand. It ticked the right boxes: helping others, putting someone else’s needs first, witnessing and something even deeper that I found difficult to name. Then addiction set in. It wasn’t addiction to drugs or drinking, but addiction to adrenaline and risk. I was constantly seeking my next ‘fix’. Central African Republic, Darfur, Iraq, South Sudan. With each assignment, as I became more and more exhausted,
I would dream of going home to do… something else, something calmer. But home was foreign. I didn’t feel ‘at home’ at home anymore. It was like being on the other side of the glass looking in at other people’s lives. When I was at home, at first I was exhausted and wanted to rest and then I couldn’t wait to go out again. I’d start to scan the job ads, catch up on the latest humanitarian crisis and begin to assemble my backpack. My life didn’t fit ‘normal’ anymore, but war zone to war zone certainly wasn’t the answer. I had a vague sense of selfdestructiveness, that living with a constant adrenalin rush, moving
POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH by Karen Abbs Psychotherapist and Hoffman UK Enrolment Supervisor
‘Trauma lives in our bodies; it hides away and visits us when we least expect it’ countries each year because contracts are short term, and never having a home wasn’t healthy. But what was the answer? The problem was complex. The work was the most interesting, dynamic and rewarding that I’d ever done. I loved going to parts of the world where few others ventured. At the same time, the trauma and the stress took its toll. I felt tired much of the time, increasingly detached from my work, feeling that the need and suffering were just too overwhelming. They were classic signs of burnout, but I didn’t know what to do. I did therapy, took courses, looked at how to manage stress and build resilience, tried to find something that would help me to do the work without harming myself. In the end, my husband and I decided to come home but there was still a sense of restlessness. I was trying to come to terms with who I was and where I belonged. My work started to focus on assisting other aid workers and on finding the key that would help us all. Many people who work in areas where they witness terrible suffering have the same feelings. Is it possible to work in situations of intense trauma without harming yourself? Then I found Hoffman. When I did the Process I began to understand where my patterns of behaviour were coming
from and why I was so drawn to humanitarian work. I grew up in a home where it was very important to help others, to always be available to someone in need and to put your own needs second. This helped to explain why I had chosen a profession where I helped others, but it still didn’t explain the attraction to conflict. The ‘aha’ moment that the Process gave me was insight into why I was so attracted to adrenaline. It was as a result of several childhood experiences that paired high adrenaline experiences, danger, and approval. In that moment I understood that going to conflict zones was reinforcing childhood patterns of a desire for love and approval interplayed with danger. Through Hoffman, I’ve found a deep healing, an understanding of my patterns and why I’m drawn to the work that I do. I feel now that I can do the work from a place of compassionate detachment. I can work with others without taking on their suffering as my own and without harming myself. Hoffman has brought me a reconnection with myself and a renewed energy for my work. I feel that I can be playful, find joy and re-engage with my vision. I’ve found new tools to keep myself on a path connected to my creativity, my strengths, and my dreams.
magine your favourite mug, with a design that makes you feel content, happy when you look at it. Then it falls on the floor, smashes into pieces. This is what trauma can feel like. Your life that was whole and complete is now shattered, and you’re not sure how to put the pieces back together. You may try and re-glue them into what the mug was like before, but it’s not the same.
Traumatic and distressing events can overwhelm your natural ability to cope, leaving you feeling vulnerable and uncertain how to manage what has happened. This is especially true if the trauma happened when you were a child. When trauma occurs in childhood and isn’t processed, increasing research is demonstrating that it can have lifelong impacts on our health and wellbeing.
Or, you can try and create something new, a beautiful mosaic out of the pieces that are left. To do that, you may need some support - someone to show you how to glue the pieces and then someone else to show you how to make the finishing touches. In this way, you create your new masterpiece.
If you have experienced traumatic and/or distressing events, it is important to have therapeutic support prior to coming to Hoffman. Therapeutic supports such as EMDR and CBT can have a significant impact on processing trauma and beginning your healing journey. If you are looking for a therapist who understands the way we work, we can help you find one.
In therapeutic terms, we would call this process of repair ‘post-traumatic growth’. The concept, initially developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, refers to the positive psychological change that can occur after a traumatic event. Experiencing trauma doesn’t mean that you will never return to ‘normal’; you can go on to have significant shifts in thinking and relating to the world.
Where Hoffman can help We’re often asked when is the right time to do the Process after a traumatic or distressing event. While each person is different, it’s important that you’ve had some support after the trauma in order to make sense of what’s happened and begin the healing process.
A new beginning Once you have processed your trauma, Hoffman can assist with your post-traumatic growth, putting the finishing touches on your new mosaic of life. Hoffman helps you to achieve this growth through assisting you in developing a greater understanding of yourself, your histories, your patterns and creating a new vision of how you wish to live your life. Your beautiful mosaic is now more resilient than your mug ever was.
Our enrolment team are always happy to discuss whether the time is right for you to do the Process, and to advise alternatives if not. To book a call, email enrolment@ hoffmaninstitute.co.uk or call +44(0) 1903 88 99 90.
OU T CH A NGE
The Hoffman Process is a seven-day residential personal development course. Created by Bob Hoffman over 50 years ago, it is now available in fifteen countries around the world. More than 100,000 people have benefitted from the tools and techniques we teach on this experiential programme. The Process is not a quick fix, nor a replacement for therapy. But what it offers is the opportunity to delve
into your past. You will discover why certain negative patterns of behaviour keep coming up in your life. You have the choice to stay as you are, in a reactive way of being, or to move into a more conscious way of being. At heart the Process is an individual journey, taken in a safe and loving environment. Each day on the Process, our team of trained facilitators guide you through a series of different
techniques. Sometimes you find yourself sitting in silence, journalling or going out in nature. At other times you work in a group, doing guided visualisations, bioenergetic work and some Gestalt-based exercises. People who commit with their whole heart to the Process emerge with a deep sense of their own resilience. They gain a greater awareness of lifeâ€™s possibilities and a commitment to a better way of being.
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What happens next? Once you’ve done your research, give us a call and our friendly enrolment team will have a chat with you to establish whether the Process is right for you at this time. If we feel that you may benefit from some therapy or other advice before coming, we will give you some recommendations and suggestions. If all is well, we will explain the next stages of your journey: • Choose a Process date • Call the office to register or register online paying a £500 deposit • Complete the Enrolment Form • Receive a personalised Enrolment Call. If we feel that doing the Process might not be the best option right now we will refund your deposit. • Complete and submit the Pre-Course autobiographical work • Arrive at your Process venue
Now you’re on your way Our Process venues provide peaceful and comfortable surroundings, often in areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Process starts at 9.30 and finishes on Friday at 2pm. On the first morning, you’ll meet the three members of our teaching team and talked through the Hoffman ground rules around confidentiality and behaviour while on the Process. You’ll be asked to hand in your mobile phone, reading materials and any electronic devices; the Process is also a digital detox! Most mornings we start with breakfast at 7.30am and we finish at about 9.30pm. There are regular breaks throughout the day and the food is abundant and nutritious. When the Process ends on Friday we recommend that you keep the rest of the day and possibly the weekend as an extended time of retreat before you integrate back into your life. We can recommend places to stay locally based on your budget.
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What else can I do? Included in your course fee are three follow-up meetings within three months of completing your Process. Your ‘Welcome Home’ is a support group held 1-2 weeks after the Process, the other dates will be given to you in advance. Within two weeks of your Process, you’ll be part of a worldwide support network and community to help you sustain the achievements you made on the course. Throughout the year, we also offer short top-up courses if you want to deepen or extend your Process journey. • Your personal post-Process support groups • Reconnection days – one-day tools refresher • The Mini-Process (Q2) – This is available three or four times a year • French Retreat – Our five day getaway in France held twice a year • Graduate Regional Support groups – monthly check-ins • Graduate workshops and social events – held throughout the year • Farewell/ Closure dinners – the last Thursday of every Process • Other Hoffman resources – our 365-day journal, Hoffman App, private FaceBook group and Hoffman graduate newsletter
Contact us: www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk Call us: (+44) 01903 88 99 90 Email us: email@example.com
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WHAT PEOPLE SAY ‘I travelled a long way to learn how to come back to myself and the innocence and wisdom of my childhood dreams. The young girl who started out feeling fearless eventually found the courage as an adult to live an imperfect life and embrace her flaws.’ Tara Ellison, Harper’s Bazaar ‘I found the ability to finally understand and forgive my parents unconditionally.’ Nirpal Dhaliwal, Journalist
‘The best piece of advice going into the Hoffman experience was to surrender to the exercises, instructions, and guidance. You can’t mess it up anyway, because the instructors are skilled in identifying resistance.’
‘You don’t need to have had a difficult childhood to benefit from the Hoffman Process - the ‘normal’ ones still offer plenty of material.’
Natalie Leadwell, Founder of Mind Movies
‘The Hoffman Process is the most powerful single thing that I did in my ongoing journey of recovery. It was emotional and magical and I learnt a lot about how important it is to focus on emotional and mental health.’
‘The Hoffman Process personally transformed my relationships as a result of the 7-day experience, and got me not only out of a rut at the time, but out of a cycle that had inevitably led to failed relationships.’ Patrick Holford, Author, The Chemistry of Connection
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Mark Brayne Trauma specialist, Braynework
Matthew Todd, Author, Straight Jacket - How To Be Gay and Happy
‘I discovered that a parent who’s physically or emotionally absent, or who’s passed away when you’re young, can continue to impact you through to adulthood in ways that you’re completely unaware of. During the Process I was finally able to completely forgive my Dad for ‘abandoning’ me. I could understand how he felt and reconnect with him in ways I never thought possible.’ Kim Murray, Entrepreneur and founder of Happy Heads
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE
TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF ‘You Can Change Your Life’ www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk Or call the Hoffman UK office on
Based on more than 50 years of the Hoﬀman Process
+44 (0)1903 88 99 90
Over 100,000 people have done the course around the world
What people say about The Hoffman Process
Thousands have changed their lives positively as a result
“It can do in a week what may take years with some therapists.” Oliver James - Clinical Psychologist and Author
“I learnt that letting go of anger is the most powerful gift you can give yourself.” Emily Dean – Writer, Radio Host and Podcaster
“By far the most eﬀective course I have come across.” Patrick Holford – Nutrionist & Author
“Hoﬀman should be on the school curriculum – as essential to living a good life as English or Maths” Tim Laurence, Author International Hoffman Teacher & co-founder, Hoffman UK
Aidan Campbell, Business Consultant
“I did the Hoﬀman Process because I want to fully become an adult. I just want to be the best human being I can.” Naomie Harris – Actress
‘Success in business often takes a huge personal toll on the leader; without a sense of vision, imagination and the Hoffman tools to overcome obstacles, I’m not sure I would have emerged intact.’ Robbie Steinhouse
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By Robbie Steinhouse Executive Trainer and MD of The Coaching Consultancy
hen I did the Hoffman Process, I’d recently lost my mother and the credit crunch was threatening my property business. My therapist was a big fan of Hoffman and convinced me to have a go. A couple of weeks later, I found myself in an attractive country house in the seaside town of Seaford in East Sussex.
manager effectively threatened to move my business into their notorious defaulter’s division. My initial reaction came from my emotional part; I felt betrayed and angry. My physical part wanted to fight and get even, and my intellectual part started to panic. I was heading for a potentially dangerous confrontation.
Part of the Hoffman Process is physically expressive, finding a way of releasing anger that builds up in the body and psyche. Although I found this release healing, it was the Hoffman ‘Quadrinity’ model that proved a lasting take-away for me. Quadrinity proposes breaking down the human psyche into four component parts: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
Thankfully, I had access to my spiritual part, or as I call it, my ‘Conductor’. Much like the conductor of an orchestra, the job of the Conductor is to detach, calm down and assess how and when is the time to act or if it’s better to withdraw and consider options later. I opted to withdraw and asked some questions to gain clarity about the potential threat. I didn’t lose control and I got some useful information. I managed to avert the crisis, and a couple of years later I was able to use what he had said to my distinct advantage.
During the Process there were exercises that helped me connect with my different ‘parts’. I had a profound sense of a physical part, which gave me a sense of personal power and agency. My emotional part connected me to a feeling of empathy – not just for others, but also an awareness of myself and my needs. The intellectual part gave me a sense of imagination and strategy, and was the one that I had valued the most. These ideas complemented my knowledge and expertise in NLP brilliantly.
I don’t follow any traditional religious faith myself, but I’ve practiced meditation for over twenty years. I found the Hoffman approach to spirituality very inspiring. It fits with my understanding and experience of mindfulness: being able to enter a space where I can be aware of, and also a silent witness to, my thoughts and feelings.
So, how does all this map onto my model of leadership? Here’s an example. During the credit crunch, I was often in high-stake meetings. I recall one when a frustrated bank
Leadership, in business or elsewhere, is truly tested under duress. The Hoffman Process introduced me to my Conductor in a new and compelling way. Not only is that part of me available and wise during a crisis, it also helped me preserve my energy and helped me steer the business through the seemingly endless storm that the credit crunch had created. When I did finally emerge in 2012, I realised the enormous value I’d gained from Hoffman.
Success in business often takes a huge personal toll on the leader; without a sense of vision, imagination and the Hoffman tools to overcome obstacles, I’m not sure if I would have emerged intact.
Robbie’s book Mindful Business Leadership is published by Routledge and available from all good
ANNI TOWNEND ‘The benefits of the Hoffman Process for people and for business are huge. A vast number of people struggle with stress, anxiety and depression, necessitating time off work due to ill health. They not only suffer, and sometimes seek to alleviate their suffering through self-medication and addiction, but also cause suffering to others - their behaviour can be aggressive, defensive, manipulative, passive and vindictive. Many business executives face the leadership challenge of how to help their workforce feel empowered and engaged, especially during times of uncertainty and transition. The Hoffman Process provides people with the tools to help them not only to manage themselves more effectively, but also to interact with others in a way that promotes mental and emotional wellbeing. The Hoffman Process is a journey of deep understanding, leading to greater self-compassion and compassion towards others, as well as a stronger and integrated sense of self and of self-responsibility. I recommend it wholeheartedly as a personal and professional journey to anyone who is tasked with supporting the learning and development of others and is looking for a course that will make a long-lasting difference to their people and to their business success.’
Anni Townend, Business Psychologist and Author, Assertiveness and Diversity
bookstores or from: coachingconsultancy.com
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â€˜When she left, I watched her drive down the road, somewhat into the unknown, hoping that she would find whatever it was she needed to find.â€™
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by Dan Williamson
aren and I met in a sea of orange. It was Koninginnedag and we were in Amsterdam. On this day, once a year, hundreds of thousands of people dress in the nation’s colour, filling the bars, streets, plazas and canal banks in a state of frenzied madness. We kissed in the orange haze and everyone and everything around us fell away. I knew that we were surrounded by thousands of shouting revellers, but at the same time it was just us, connected, as if we were the only two souls left in the world. In that moment, I knew that Karen and I had something incredible and soulful. We’re lucky. You can walk your whole life looking for this and we just stumbled upon it. I knew that immediately. That’s why it felt completely normal when we moved in together after four days and married after six weeks and then went to Nepal
HERE ARE MY TOP TIPS FOR SUPPORTING SOMEONE GOING ON THE PROCESS:
• It probably won’t be exactly clear what the Process is all about before your loved one departs, so be open and be trusting. • Agree the circumstances in which you can contact your loved one, before they leave. • When your loved one returns, allow them space. They’ve been through an incredible journey and they’ll share it with you when they are ready. • Understand that you will hugely benefit from the Process as well. If your loved one finds moments of infinite possibilities, that is good for you too.
to climb the Himalayas. After that, our humanitarian work took us to wartorn Iraq and South Sudan as well as Swaziland and Kenya.
because it filled in some blanks and reinforced that some of the intrigue and apprehension I was feeling was completely normal.
We raced around the world, knowing that home was where we were at that moment, just because we were both there. Now, we’ve learnt that life can’t be turbo-charged all of the time and that’s OK. Life should be about change. We’ll both change in a thousand ways over the years ahead and that will be fine, because we always, always talk to each other.
When one of us goes away, we have a habit of agreeing the situations in which we should contact each other, for example if something goes drastically wrong. It might seem clinical to others, but it is something you get used to when you’re flying in and out of war zones, with limited means to communicate. So it felt comforting to know that there was a number I could call to contact Karen if something major happened. When she left, I watched her drive down the road, somewhat into the unknown, hoping that she would find whatever it was she needed to find.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Karen said she was doing ‘the Process’. We’re always looking to understand ourselves more and the Process was just a continuation of this. To me, the idea of Karen going on some sort of retreat for a week while our son, Ruben, and I enjoyed some father-son time wasn’t foreign at all, but still, in the back of my mind I did have a nagging voice. What was this Process all about? For a start, it is an odd name. A process is something you follow to get a mortgage, or something they do to cheese. Sometimes work can feel like going through a bit of a process, but can you really process people? That felt odd. We talked about it, but even Karen couldn’t really explain it. It wasn’t psychotherapy, or counselling, or life coaching, or mindfulness, or anything else I suggested. I couldn’t put a label on it. The intrigue continued when Karen had to do hours of pre-course work. Sitting in the garden, I could see her pondering things, searching memories, looking for reasons. Eventually, I just let go of trying to pigeonhole it and decided I’d just have to trust it all. Before Karen left for the week, she gave me an information sheet that Hoffman have written to provide partners and others with useful guidance. That was really helpful
Seven days later, a new Karen arrived at our doorstep. She had a huge smile on her face and was truly, truly happy. She was literally bouncing with freedom and oddly, seemed much, much younger again. She had a palpable sense of liberty. Sometimes in life, there are moments where all things align, when everything is conceivable and when your options are boundless. I call these ‘moments of infinite possibilities’. When you see this in others it’s inspiring, and when you see it in the ones you love, it’s truly beautiful and profoundly infectious. Ruben has a more relaxed and playful mum and together we all have a new sense of stability. We’ll always travel and explore, but now we don’t need to find that elusive and undefinable something, because it is here, with us, right now. We can feel it. If it takes just seven days for your partner to discover and to ‘move-on from’ the thing that has haunted them for years, then it doesn’t matter what it’s called or what it is. All that matters, is that you support them to do it, allow them the space to explore and be a part of the new and beautiful world when they return. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 33
Photo: Chelone Wolf
‘It sounds melodramatic, I know, but I do think the Hoffman Process saved my life.’ ‘It’s kind of like being in the Big Brother house, but without the glass walls that you can see the cameramen through on the other side. I compare the two experiences like this: I went to Elstrea for one, and Seaford – which is between Brighton and Eastbourne – for the other, met some nutters on both, and obviously you get paid for the first, while the second costs you an arm and a leg, but I know which experience did me more good.
The Big Brother house is full of people trying to hide who they really are, but the Hoffman Process is for people who want to get to the truth. It’s not going to work for everyone, but if you’re like I was – trying to get to the bottom of an addiction but frustrated with going to rehab and meeting people who were in there for the third time and still sprinkling crack on their cornflakes – it just might be the one that puts you on the right road.’ ‘What I can say is that if you think of the issues from earlier life which we all carry
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round with us as some kind of box in our heads, then Hoffman doesn’t just help you take stuff out there and have a look at it, it also deals with what f***ing branch of IKEA sold you that box and where it was manufactured. So by the end, you’ve got a much better idea of what you’re dealing with. Basically, what they’re saying is, ‘Let’s open this f***ing box. Pass me that screwdriver… you’ll need a crowbar for this one. Let’s rip it open down the f***ing seams. Let’s take it back to the flat-pack, and once we’ve had a look at the instructions, let’s go
Clifford Price MBE, better known as Goldie, is one of Britain’s most influential DJs, producers and record-label owners. He’s also a prolific artist, yoga devotee, writer and Hoffman Graduate, crediting his time on the Process as a major influence on his latest album The Journey Man. Below are some of the (more family-friendly) Hoffman mentions from his 2017 autobiography All Things Remembered.
and give the a***hole who designed it a bit of a talking to.’ ‘Before I did Hoffman, I felt that I had become very destructive – both in terms of my impact on other people and on myself. To be honest, I think I was a complete idiot – one of those people who should be culled with a pair of f***ing very big tongs with a big electric spark at the end of them… ‘
‘I’m not exactly a Hoffman Process poster boy. I just wanted to make it work in my own way, and now – more than ten years on – it’s something I still refer to constantly in my head.’ ‘I think what the Hoffman Process helped me realise was that a lot of us who are damaged goods in one way or another tend to gravitate towards feeling sorry
for ourselves. That’s what I mean by victimitis. My drug addiction was very bound up with that… But we just have to look inside ourselves to find the love and understanding that will stop us being so cruel to ourselves and others… However much the victimitis card might look like a winner, you’ll always lose by playing it.’
All Things Remembered ‘A whirlwind, charged and unsparingly candid memoir from the godfather of urban rave’ is published in the UK by Faber and Faber. For more about Goldie or to buy The Journey Man online, visit goldie.co.uk w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 35
HOW HEALTHY ARE M
ost people are aware of physical boundaries like not invading someone’s space, but we also have internal boundaries that protect our thinking, values and beliefs. We set them to protect ourselves and to allow us to treat others respectfully. We learn our boundaries from our childhood environment. If we’re not allowed to set them healthily from an early age, we’ll struggle to assert and maintain boundaries as adults. We’ll either be too distant and rigid, or others will be able to manipulate us without us feeling that we can do anything about it.
Various areas of our lives have different demands too, for example we may find it easier to hold healthy boundaries in a work role than in a romantic relationship. Boundaries are directly linked to our ability to respect ourselves, to see our reality clearly and communicate it appropriately. As our boundaries become healthier, our self-esteem rises and vice versa. Take our quiz from counsellor and Hoffman graduate Susan McGrath and see if you can identify any areas where you could strengthen your boundaries.
SCENARIO 1 – ASSERTIVENESS
SCENARIO 2 – PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES
A good friend asks to borrow £500 and says they will pay it back in six months time. You aren’t comfortable lending them the money.
You’re introduced to someone for the first time at a business meeting. They tell you how much they’ve been longing to meet you. They stand close and touch you on the arm as they speak. You back away but they come closer again.
DO YOU: A) Give them the money even though you aren’t happy but feel you don’t want to be mean.
DO YOU: A) Make your excuses and go to talk to someone else.
B) Give them the money but have a legal document drawn up for repayment which is signed by both of you.
B) Tell them you aren’t comfortable and ask them to stand back and stop touching you.
C) Say no, outlining that it doesn’t work for you. C) Put up with your difficult feelings and hope they move away soon. ANSWER: ANSWER: C is the healthy response: sticking to your decision even if the person shows distress or upset. B is healthier but you’re still going against your own wishes. If you answered A you may need some help with getting comfortable saying no.
‘AS OUR BOUNDARIES BECOME HEALTHIER, OUR SELF-ESTEEM RISES AND VICE VERSA’
Everyone has a different idea of what is healthy closeness and distance and this also varies depending on your culture and upbringing. However, everyone also has the right to control distance and non-sexual touch. Someone who you perceive as too close and too touchy may have had their boundaries invaded at some point. They may think it’s OK or get pleasure out of closeness, regardless of the other’s need. A and B are healthier responses, with C needing some work on asserting physical boundaries.
YOUR BOUNDARIES? SCENARIO 3 – SEXUAL BOUNDARIES
SCENARIO 4 – INTERNAL BOUNDARIES
You’re getting to know someone new at a party. They tell you how attractive they find you, they put their arm around your waist and try to kiss you.
You confide in a close friend that you’re struggling with depression and self-harm and that you’re thinking of taking medication. They respond by saying you’re imagining your symptoms, that drugs are addictive and won’t help you and that you should snap out of it.
DO YOU: DO YOU: A) Allow them to kiss you. You aren’t sure if you like it or not but you don’t want to appear prudish.
A) Smile and say “you’re probably right”.
B) Tell them you’d rather not and find someone else to socialise with.
B) Smile and make a mental note never to confide in that person again.
C) Say no politely but continue to engage so as not to upset them.
C) Say you’re hurt and that you need empathy and understanding, not judgement.
ANSWER: ANSWER: You have the right to determine with whom, where, when and how you are sexual. When someone is intimate very quickly they may have weak sexual boundaries and they may sexualise situations inappropriately. Taking time to get to know people and finding out how they can contribute to your life before being sexual can save a lot of pain later. B is the healthiest response, with C less so and A allowing your sexual boundaries to be crossed.
SCENARIO 5 – OTHER PEOPLE’S BOUNDARIES You’re having a family dinner and you draw attention to the fact that one of your relatives has put on some weight. DO YOU: A) Serve that person less food, saying they probably want to be cutting back. B) Apologise and say you’ve been intrusive and that you’re sorry. C) Ask them what they plan to do about shifting the weight. ANSWER: It’s disrespectful and a violation of their boundaries to comment on and shame people about their physical appearance. Option B is the best bet, with A and C adding insult to injury. Others have the right to their boundary system and deserve our respect.
Your thoughts feelings and experiences are valuable. If others deny or belittle or dismiss them they’re not respecting your internal boundary. You have a right to block what they’re saying and not let it past your boundaries. C is the healthiest response with B protecting your self but perhaps not being totally honest and A may indicate some work on internal boundaries would be beneficial.
‘BOUNDARIES ARE DIRECTLY LINKED TO OUR ABILITY TO RESPECT OURSELVES, TO SEE OUR REALITY CLEARLY AND COMMUNICATE IT APPROPRIATELY’ Our boundary system is what keeps us separate and safe. It’s something that we take into every situation in our lives. It’s also important that we see others as separate unique human beings with their own boundary system that’s different but equally important to them. To find out about consultations with Susan McGrath or to sign up to her Enneagram e-course, visit her website: susanmcgraththerapy.com
Oh dear! I don’t know why you are bothering to read this piece. I’m sure that if you quickly move on you will ﬁnd a plethora of other articles that are much, much better and written by appropriately qualiﬁed people who really know what they are talking about. This article is rather pathetic by comparison. It is written by somebody who lives under the delusion of being able to write something for a publication as prestigious as this one – just one of many ridiculous imagined talents that they possess. I have been telling him for years that these silly ideas are only going to lead to his spectacular public humiliation and he’d be better to play it safe, get a normal job where he won’t get found out as an under-qualiﬁed imposter! I can only apologise on his behalf and suggest you don’t read any further than the end of this sentence. Image credits: Steve Chapman
eet my Inner Critic. My dark side. That voice who tells me that I’m not good enough. Nowadays I quite enjoy letting him write the opening paragraph. It lures him out into the light, makes him less of a shameful secret of mine and, rather bizarrely, seems to diminish his power a little. I have to admit that I also get some personal satisfaction from all of this as I don’t think he likes me doing it one bit!
One of my fondest memories of childhood was when I was at primary school. I was a keen artist and my very active imagination helped me come up with all sorts of characters and stories. My favourite was Yappy Dog. A friendly little creature who would have all sorts of adventures. My teachers also loved him and invited me to write stories to read to the younger children who adored him and would sit cross-legged listening to his latest antics. Sadly, Yappy Dog seemed to die shortly after this. I started ‘big school’ and there was no time for doodling. Even if I did, it seemed that nobody else at school was interested in these stories that would now be considered a bit childish. My teachers and parents continually told me I needed to take my education more seriously and that I wouldn’t amount to much in life without qualifications. My school reports shamed me by telling
By Spontaneity Consultant Steve Chapman the world that I simply didn’t try hard enough or make enough effort despite me trying my best with every ounce of my slightly dyslexic brain. At the age of 15, a careers advisor told my parents and I that ‘only the very best candidates’ could get a job in radio and I finally gave up on making a living through creativity, took the advice I had been given and got a job in a factory. My Inner Critic seemed somewhat satisfied with all of this and reminded me for the next twenty years that I should be eternally grateful that somebody as obviously unskilled as me could earn a wage.
As I sit here now, aged 44, I notice how easy it is to tell this story. I also notice that I have no anger or animosity towards the characters within it. I now realise that without these and many other events earlier in life, I would not be the person I am today. I have also come to realise that each time I share my personal story with others, I become more at peace with it. The influential Gestalt psychologist Arnie Beisser suggested that human change is paradoxical and that we get more change 38 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
by becoming more aware of who we already are, rather than striving to be something we’re not. There is a similar philosophy in Zen of surrendering to what is. I have taken these philosophies to heart as part of my ongoing self-development and have rediscovered my love of art and creativity as a means of making sense of who I am. Through drawing and painting I have found that I am able to get in touch with deeper parts of my personality and express it in ways that words alone could not achieve. Through tactile methods such as clay, movement and mask making I have learnt to dance with my Inner Critic rather than fight it, getting to know it in a kind and compassionate way that seems to take some of its power away. And, like the fine bristles of an archaeological brush, the immersive experiences of the Hoffman Process allowed me to sweep away many layers of thick dust that were obscuring the deeper levels of my own self-awareness. I had no particular objective when I signed up for Hoffman,
You can watch Steve’s TEDx video: This Talk Isn’t Very Good. Dancing With My Inner Critic on YouTube
other than I wanted to discover more about the origins of my own inhibiting self-doubt. I went into the Process blaming school for my lack of self-confidence and, whilst it certainly played a role in it all, I was surprised to learn that the seeds of self-doubt were sown much earlier in life and much closer to home. Even though I had kind and generous parents who did their very best to encourage me as a child, I began to realise that the heart of my Inner Critic was made up of a collage of my experiences of them that I’d either copied, modified or rebelled against. The Process offered me a number of different invitations to make sense and make peace with these memories – some creative, some cathartic, some rather bizarre.
I have come to believe that creativity is simply our human capacity to experience and express difference in service of change and transformation. Many of us lost touch with our naturally imaginative and playful selves some time in the past but, with a little bravery and support, we can all begin to reclaim and nurture our own natural creative abilities, through gently letting go of fixed self-images about who we should be, and become more deeply aware of what we already are.
Steve’s mission is to be playful with not knowing. He is a speaker, writer, consultant and artist who specialises in exploring creativity and the human condition. In 2014 he published his first book Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures In The Corporate World. His ten-year-old daughter is his mentor and Chief of Imagination. You can find out more about Steve at: stevechapman.org
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THE HOFFMAN PROCESS COULD BE THE KEY - BY TRISH LESSLIE
’m not sure what scared me most about the Hoffman Process. The prospect of having no phone or internet access for seven days was pretty daunting. I wasn’t too keen on sharing a room with a complete stranger, either. But what was truly terrifying was the prospect of a whole week of exploring exactly what made me tick. I needn’t have worried. My room-mate was an absolute delight, the lack of connectivity surprisingly enjoyable and, most surprisingly, a forensic examination of my past present and potential future turned out to be one of the most profound and rewarding experiences of my life. Often described as ten years of therapy in one week, there’s no shortage of celebrities waxing lyrical about Hoffman’s transformative effects. From Thandie Newton and Sienna Miller, to rapper Goldie and nutritionist Patrick Holford, Hoffman graduates claim shutting yourself away with 23 other nervous souls for a ‘psychological detox’ can be life-changing. As someone who’s struggled with abandonment (and a few other) issues, I finally decided to head to Hoffman last autumn. Although I’d read a fair bit about what the Process actually involves, not knowing exactly what’s in store makes the experience far more powerful. What I can say is that there’s a lot of ‘ritual’ involved - bashing cushions with a baseball bat, for example, to release negative emotional nasties such as resentment. Visualisation and journalling (shortcuts to self-awareness) also feature heavily. You don’t have to share anything with the other participants unless you want to. Still, I found myself opening up more to this group of strangers - many of them now friends than I would with even my nearest and dearest. There are a couple of venues to choose from, but I plumped for Florence House, a charming boutique B&B on the East Sussex coast serving exceptionally good hearty but healthy fare. Days were long and challenging, but boy, was it worth the effort. I came out the same person, but the shift in my attitude has made a huge difference. I’m less stressed, more patient and forgiving and my relationships are better for it. As they say at Hoffman, if a ship changes course by just one degree halfway across the ocean, it will end up at a very different destination. Having nudged at my helm, I’m a lot happier about where I’m heading. If you’re serious about change, check it out. This article has been reproduced with kind permission of Trish Lesslie and The Resident Magazine: theresident.co.uk
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â€˜I learnt that letting go of anger is the most powerful gift you can give yourself â€™
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Hoffman graduates Emily Dean and Russell Kane
By broadcaster Emily Dean
ou remember every detail when a phone call changes your life. I was on London’s South Bank when I called up the headquarters of the Hoffman Process and said, ‘I think I need some help’. The area was packed with shrieking tourists piling into group selfies by the Thames. A super-glossy, immaculately-dressed couple emerged from the Mondrian hotel in tailored coats, embracing. Some elderly theatregoers gently made their way arm-in-arm over to the National Theatre. ‘I feel as if everyone else is living their lives and I’m just getting through each day,’ I faltered to the man on the other end of the phone. ‘I want to know how to start again when you’ve lost everything.’ He listened, for a long time. Because that is what they do at Hoffman. And said gently, without any hard sell or judgement, ‘We might be able to help you.’ Several weeks later I had completed the Hoffman Process. And my life was never the same again. I bonded with eleven strangers in a way you wouldn’t think possible. I threw away everything I had ever been told about myself. I changed my job, opened up my friendship circle, tried new experiences and
committed to embracing an authentic life. I learnt that it was OK to have negative thoughts, but it was my responsibility to own them, not to change the behaviour of those around me. I learnt that my life’s work wasn’t to make everybody like me. And that it’s possible to forgive someone completely, even if you are never going to see them again. I learnt that letting go of anger is the most powerful gift you can give yourself.
Hoffman devotee - has become a good friend and was a guest on my Times podcast. ‘I thought you didn’t like me when you first met me,’ I told him. ‘I remember thinking, “he thinks I’m really stuck up…” and then I realised that was just me bringing some weird energy’. Russell shrugged and counter-offered, ‘Or you’d probably just read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Em.’ And we giggled.
When I left Hoffman, the first thing I did was to buy myself a rose gold bracelet inscribed with the words ‘Love and Truth’, as a symbol of the two things I prized above all else. The second thing was to walk away from my old career in magazines. I launched a podcast for The Times called Walking the Dog and devoted more passion to it, than anything I’d ever done before. Within a matter of months, it already had close to half a million downloads. I got offered a book deal. And I bought a dog, who helped me laugh and love and embrace life again. His name is Raymond.
That’s the thing with Hoffman. You’ll cry, you’ll shout, you’ll feel overwhelmed, but once it’s done, you will be able to smile and find joy in little things in a way you never imagined.
Sometimes I run into fellow Hoffman graduates. And we share a moment or even just a smile. When you know, as they say, you know. Russell Kane - the comic and fellow
Emily is the co-host of the Frank Skinner show, on Saturdays from 8-11am on Absolute Radio. You can download her podcast Walking the Dog on iTunes.
But don’t take my word for it. There are times in your life when you have to accept certain things. Like you’ll never play up front for England. Or win Olympic gold in the women’s 100m. And you’ll probably die never knowing exactly what Meatloaf wouldn’t do for love. But, honestly? It’s never too late to get your shit together.
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Photo: Guy Aroch
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Hoffman Graduate Daisy Lowe shares a recipe for a delicious snack from her recipe book Sweetness and Light ‘One of the many things I took away from Hoffman was the appreciation of food and the realisation that when you cook with Love, it feeds you with that positive energy and self-love. It feels so good.’
was visiting my friend Holly in LA and she had ordered the ingredients to make these. She was very excited about it, but I was less convinced, as I didn’t believe they could be good for you and delicious. So we made them together. As soon as I tasted them, I was convinced. They are amazing. You should only eat a couple at a time, especially at night, as they can make you slightly overexcited! If you can’t find mesquite, use an extra 1 tbsp of maca instead. • 450g cacao butter or coconut oil • 300g goji berries, plus more for the top • 60ml organic agave syrup, plus more if needed • 1 heaped tbsp coconut oil • 90g organic cacao powder • 1 tbsp maca powder • 1 tbsp mesquite powder (optional)
• 1 tbsp spirulina Makes 48 Bring a little water to the boil in a saucepan and place a heatproof bowl over it, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Place the cacao butter in the bowl to melt. Place the goji berries, agave syrup and 110g of the melted cacao butter in a bowl and stir to combine. L eave to soak while you get on with everything else. You can add extra agave and cacao butter if it looks like the berries need more moisture. o make the chocolate sauce, transfer the rest of the melted cacao T butter to a blender and add the coconut oil, cacao powder, maca powder, mesquite powder and spirulina. Blend until completely smooth. Using a funnel, carefully pour the mixture into a squeezy bottle or a jar you can accurately pour from. L ine two 24-hole mini cupcake trays with 48 mini cupcake cases. Carefully pour a layer of the sauce into each, so it just covers the bottom. Place in the freezer to set. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the berry mixture until roughly chopped but not smooth. Once the sauce has set, add 3⁄4 tsp of the berry mixture to each case, then cover with a final layer of sauce and sprinkle with goji berries. Freeze until solid and serve, or store in the fridge until needed. Daisy’s podcast Femme is available to stream on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud. You can follow @daisylowe on instagram and twitter.
Photo: Ali Allen Recipe reproduced with kind permission of Daisy Lowe/Quadrille Publishing
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by Craniosacral Practitioner Caroline Laurence personal functions. It was also impossible to drive. I couldn’t get any disability support as there was the possibility that it was still a non-permanent condition. The outlook was not great, and the surgeon gave me a 50/50 chance of recovery.
The thought of doing the Hoffman Process arose on a whim. And like so many whims, it became a pivotal moment. I had recommended the Process to people that I had treated, but somehow never really applied it to myself.
I took to walking, using buses and reminding myself everything had to change. All sorts of unexpected demons were manifesting themselves. The biggest eye-opener of all was that I realised I’d spent my entire life being busy, focusing on the next project and distracting myself by endlessly helping
things is that I was able to reflect on how my own parents had been brought up, to be curious about their childhoods and all the things that happened to them. By having compassion for what they went through, I allowed myself the freedom to move on from the past. Knowledge and understanding, applied with love and wisdom, is a great healer. The Hoffman Process completely rebooted my outlook. I saw that life can be fragile and you can get knocked backwards. But I also learned that sometimes the thing you’re most scared of can become the thing that you most need to embrace.
‘Knowledge and understanding, applied with love and wisdom, is a great healer’
I was in my early sixties and had been single for fifteen years. My four children had left home and were all getting settled in their various careers. It was the end of an era. I had my work, and that filled a gap. But more than anything I just felt hollow. Then I developed a rare condition in my wrist and there was the possibility that I might not be able to continue to practice - a very bleak prospect. It took seven months from diagnosis to surgery and during that time I spent many mornings sitting at the kitchen table, sobbing. A good friend had given me a daily schedule including some meditations, but at times the hole was just too deep and wide. Cooking single-handedly is a real pain, as are dressing and other
others. Now here I was with nothing to distract me from the inner turmoil I was having to face. No props left. So I picked up the phone and booked on to the Hoffman Process. The comprehensive, gentle and firm week on the Process gave me an opportunity to understand, embrace and totally change my perceptions of my slightly weird childhood. It allowed me to evaluate all the lessons that I’d learned and work out why I reacted to things in the way I did. It also helped me look at the way I had brought up my own children and how our family systems can pass on behaviours from one generation to the next. One of the most interesting
I’m a much calmer and more easy-going person than before. I’m so much more at peace with myself and, as a result of that, with the world. I’m a more purposeful mother, grandmother and friend. My wish now is not to hide away, but to continue to embrace all and everyone. Of course, all of this has a happy ending… I have made a complete and total recovery from the serious wrist problem. I now work less, which is a good thing as I have so much else going on in my life. Being semi-retired can be very hectic but it can be great fun and fulfilling too. Who would have believed it…? You can find out more about Caroline and her work at: caroline-laurence.co.uk w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 47
‘We’re essentially spiritual beings having human experiences. Our bodies are our vehicles and our emotions and intellect ask for attention, but ultimately they’re all in service to our spirit.’ David Lurey
hy are the two of you taking a course like the Hoffman Process?’ was a question my wife Mirjam and I were frequently asked. ‘You have the tools of yogic and Buddhist philosophy, established spiritual practices and what seems like a healthy relationship that processes itself.’ Although these were all true, both Mirjam and I know that personal growth is a never-ending journey and no matter how deeply we’ve explored our inner worlds, there are always new perspectives that can support our evolution. We are a couple who work in the therapeutic side of yoga, we’re familiar with the holistic view of ourselves that Hoffman describes as the Quadrinity. I’ve always felt very connected to my parents and for the most part, I had a ‘drama-free’ childhood. I have a longstanding yoga practice that keeps me in touch with my body. I meditate, chant mantras and have an open attitude to my emotions. I was extra curious as to what Hoffman would be able to offer me. Then I got a pre-course phone call from my Hoffman teacher, I felt an connection to him and after some brief small talk, he
cut right to the point. ‘Where can we go with someone who appears to have it all together?’ I was unsure, so he offered a perspective from reading my application that the ‘amazing’ childhood I’d had may have put unnecessary pressure on me. It had created an intensity and a need for attention and perfection. Mirjam had a similar experience on her pre-course call and although both of us had been confident and emotionally prepared, at this point we both gained a sense of humility and anticipation that carried us through to the first day of the course. You’re not allowed to do the same Process as your partner, so Mirjam went first. One week later, I was eagerly awaiting her call to say that she was on the way home where we’d have one week together before it was my turn to travel to England. The reunion was quite special in many ways. We had a heart and soul connection from her openness. Layers of her past had been peeled away and during that week together, I can honestly say we grew even closer thanks to what she experienced on the Process. Off I went one week later to dig into my own patterns; to dive even deeper into the
It’s long been recognised that a link exists between physical and emotional wellbeing. Meet three Hoffman graduates - David Lurey, Carmen Barral and David Hanscom - who each work with the body in very different contexts, but who all credit the Hoffman Process with enhancing their understanding of this emotional, mental and physical connection.
By David Lurey
shadows. The week had a profound impact and once I got home, Mirjam and I began to re-establish ourselves as a couple only this time we had greater awareness of our patterns, habits and pitfalls and great new tools to support each other. For several weeks after the Process, we enjoyed pausing, looking into each other’s eyes and connecting to and from the heart. Triggers appeared, bickering happened, fussing and accusing each other were there, but when those things came up, one of us was usually able to take responsibility for our actions and clear the tension. Our home life had a new depth that allowed us to navigate fights and disagreements with greater understanding and empathy for one another. These were tools and words we knew and used already… but the Process supported both of us in recognising the patterns sooner and defusing
accusations and blame through greater ownership of our emotions and triggers.
connection in our own lives and now carry that forward into the lives of our students.
Since then, we’ve co-taught several yoga trainings and the Process tools are extremely valuable in our work. Thanks to the other students on our Processes, we can now see that each of our yoga students have a young girl or boy inside calling out to be seen and loved. We’re more aware that much of our characters are made up of patterns and triggers and by meeting emotions and intellect with empathy and compassion, we can see the spirit in everyone. The teachings of yoga, as we follow and teach them, remind us we’re essentially spiritual beings having human experiences. Our bodies are our vehicles and our emotions and intellect ask for attention, but ultimately, they’re all in service to our spirit. We’d been teaching this for many years, but through Hoffman, we both gained a new relationship to that
For us as a couple and both of us as teachers, coming to the Process with established practices for all aspects of our Quadrinity has truly ‘deepened the dream’ of living a more fulfilled and enriched life. Bad days still come and go, we’re still triggered and fall into patterns, but some of the veil has been lifted. We now have great tools and a community to connect to while we keep making choices to follow the path of our highest potential. And luckily for us, this work seems as if it will last a few more years yet!
You can read more about David’s practice, teachings and retreats on his website: ﬁndbalance.net w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 49
interest. I wanted something that would open up and reveal more of those unconscious parts of myself that had shaped the way I relate to myself and to life in general.
EMBODIED EMOTIONS By Alexander Technique teacher and psychology graduate Carmen Barral
‘Our body, emotions and mind are intricately connected. We’re a unit and we act and change as a unit.’
‘ve always been interested in finding out why I feel the way I do, in particular what was behind the anxiety I felt at certain times in my life. This led me to choose psychology at university and later on to study psychophysical re-education and become an Alexander Technique teacher. Things changed in 2009 when my eldest child left for University. That triggered very deep feelings from my childhood, so I started looking for something to help me understand those old emotions. I was discussing this with someone who mentioned they’d looked into the Hoffman Process but decided against it as it was supposed to be very tough. That immediately caught my
‘Recent research would seem to show that our brain processes emotional and physical pain in a similar manner and the body’s chemical response in terms of stress hormones is identical. From this perspective, physical and emotional pain can be considered equivalent entities.’
e’ve all experienced someone who’s a ‘pain in the neck,’ but when is pain a physical phenomenon and when is it actually emotional stress – and are they linked? Recent research would seem to show that our brain processes emotional and physical pain in a similarmanner and the body’s chemical response in terms of stress hormones is identical. From this perspective, physical and emotional pain can be considered equivalent entities. Your brain is processing millions of bits of sensory input every second which you’ll ultimately experience as pleasant or unpleasant. Flashing bright lights or unexpected loud sounds – such as an approaching emergency vehicle – will elicit adrenaline and cortisol. An expected response would be an increased heart rate, sweating and anxiety. Recent studies have demonstrated that negative thoughts have the same effect as those flashing sirens. Unfortunately, as human beings we cannot easily escape our thoughts. In fact, unless we find strategies that offer them a healthy outlet, they tend to intensify over time. We can adopt masking behaviour which temporarily diminishes anxiety but this often leads to addictions, ranging from staying compulsively busy to medicating with food, drink and other substances.
I found that the physical expression in the bashing sessions brought to the surface emotions I never knew were there. I realised that letting the body talk was a fantastic way to bypass the rational and censoring mind which is the main obstacle to feeling more of ourselves. It’s also a great tool for shedding some of the burdens you’ve been unconsciously carrying most of your life. The Process reinforced and confirmed what I knew through the Alexander Technique: that we think, move and feel as a whole. Our body, emotions and mind are intricately connected. We’re a unit and we act and change as a unit. When we think about stressful events, our body releases cortisol; when we think about happy events, oxytocin is released and the muscles relax. Over the years that I’ve been working with people to help them change the habits of tension that cause their pain, I’ve noticed that, in the majority of people, their muscle tension has deep emotional roots. Read more about Carmen on her website: rosenealing.com
HOFFMAN & CHRONIC PAIN By Spinal Surgeon Dr David Hanscom
An additional factor is that your brain memorises your physical and mental input and these circuits become permanently embedded. Rather like riding a bicycle, you cannot unlearn them. These repetitive negative pathways can place you under a relentless adrenaline attack with resulting progressive anxiety and frustration as well as a myriad of physical symptoms. Trying to solve this with certain types of talking therapy alone may even reinforce these circuits, as your brain will develop wherever you place its attention – so what can you do? Hoffman’s role in fighting your pain is in addressing stress and changing your outlook on life. The Hoffman Process systematically encourages an awareness of family patterns that have been programmed into your brain. Any time that you’re anxious or angry you’re likely to be in a patterned survival response, which adrenalises your body. Until you become aware of this automatic reaction you cannot solve it. On the Process you choose the most disruptive of these patterns and then engage in a physical separation process. The next stage is to substitute more functional, creative and enjoyable responses. Hoffman tools are brilliant for reprogramming and include writing, visualisation, mindfulness, meditation, and play. Many aspects of the week involve engaging the physical senses, which
50 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
addresses the unconscious brain and helps to quickly embed new pathways. I frequently tell my patients that Hoffman accomplishes about five years of reprogramming in about a week. If I had done the Hoffman process when I was younger, it would have changed the trajectory of my life and helped me fight my pain a lot sooner. I feel I’ve now been given a second chance and I cherish every second of it. Thank you Hoffman. David’s book, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain provides a framework to re-organising your thinking and finding your own solution to chronic pain. His website, where you’ll find the Direct Your Own Care action plan is: backincontrol.com
FOUR FOUR by
You Can Change Your Life
A selection of wisdom from the Hoffman bookshelf
Give YourSelf Permission: 44 Inspirational And Insightful True Stories
by Tim Laurence Hoffman UK co-founder Tim Laurence worked directly with Bob Hoffman before bringing the Hoffman Process to the UK. You Can Change Your Life is packed with moving and inspiring personal stories as well as exercises designed to raise your awareness and bring insights into how your past may be impacting your current life. If you’re serious about change, this book really can help.
by Priya Rana Kapoor
‘You Can Change Your Life is meant to help us understand ourselves and the people around us more clearly and with more compassion. It’s full of practical tips on areas such as bringing more peace into your life or having better relationships - whether that’s with your body, your family or your finances.’
‘Hoffman changed everything for me. I’d already done my Master’s in Counselling Psychology and was working with patients, but I‘d neglected my spiritual side. Hoffman was a crash course – the principles of which I‘ve carried through my everyday life. It has allowed me to explore my instincts with coaching clients and have more confidence in our work together.’
Order a copy from our website: hoffmaninstitute.co.uk
East Meets West: Simple Recipes For Ultimate Mind-Body Balance by Jasmine Hemsley Jasmine Hemsley When bestselling author, cook and TV presenter Jasmine Hemsley travelled through India and Sri Lanka, it ignited a passion for Ayurveda – a 5,000-year-old holistic approach to self-care. Her new book contains 140 recipes that combine the flavours and ancient wisdom of the East with seasonal produce available locally in the West.
‘On the Process I watched everyone around me transform in a matter of days – everyone looked younger, the weight of the world off their shoulders. I left with a sense of lightness too, a deeper sense of knowing and understanding of myself and my roots, as well as the challenge set to me by the tutors to go forth and be daring. So here it is, my first solo cookbook, something very daring indeed!’ Discover your ‘dosha’ and browse Jasmine’s recipes at: jasminehemsley.com
Priya Rana Kapoor
Coach, author and speaker Priya Rana Kapoor wanted to find a way to inspire others going through difficult times and let them know they’re not alone. The Give YourSelf Permission anthology is a collection of these courageous and uplifting stories. It won a Nautilus Book Award in 2017.
For a free visualisation and information on courses and coaching visit: priyaranakapoor.com
Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege by Nick Duffell and Thurstine Bassett
Boarding school is sometimes regarded as an option reserved for the privileged few. However, there‘s often a high emotional price to be paid for growing up away from the family unit, and we regularly find people bringing issues around boarding to the Hoffman Process. Psychotherapist Nick Duffell and social worker Thurstine Bassett ‘s Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege is aimed both at ex-boarders and at therapists working with them. It includes a contribution from Hoffman graduate, coach and business psychologist, Anni Townend. ‘Often one of the first goals for ex-boarders is to get back in touch with their emotions, in particular the sadness from their original abandonment…’ boardingschoolsurvivors.co.uk offers help to ex-boarders and specialist training for therapists. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 51
With ﬁtness trainer, model and actor Daniel Ventura
’ve always tried to be a positive person, but there was always something deep inside of me that was holding me back and making me unhappy. I knew I had to do something about it.
‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and anyone who is in my life. I wish I had done it earlier I would have been free a lot sooner.’
achieve that is life-changing, because that it was the poison inside of me that was holding me back; the hatred I had for the people that had hurt me.
My partner at the time discovered the Hoffman Process and took the course. When she came back, I was amazed at her transformation. She was so different, positive, full of life and ecstatically happy that I knew then it was something I needed to do for myself.
Before the Process, I hadn’t spoken to my father for 15 years. After the Process, I couldn’t wait to jump on a plane to see him. Having never bought a Father’s Day card in my life, I found myself in a position where I felt the urge to buy one.
One thing that I never ever thought I would be able to achieve is forgiveness for the people who had had hurt me in my life. I used to live with my step grandfather and knew that when I entered the Hoffman Process, I’d have to forgive some people, but thought there was no way I was going to be able to forgive him as he was pretty bad. I’ve now completely forgiven him and understand why he did what he did. I have nothing but compassion and unconditional love for him. For me to
At the end of the Process I felt absolutely high on life; I now feel incredibly grounded, collected and calm. This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and anyone who is in my life. I wish I had done it earlier - I would have been free a lot sooner.
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Read more about Dan on his website: danielventuraﬁtness.com
Retreats to nurture your body, inner child, intellect & spirit
Emma Pruen and Hoffman Teacher Matthew Pruenâ€™s beautiful holistic centre near Bordeaux. Intensive Couple Coaching with Matthew Pruen All Year
Hoffman Graduate Retreats 15-20 April & 24-29 Sept
Hatha Scaravelli Yoga 29 Mar-3 April (Easter)
Art from the Heart 6-13 June
Guitar Adventurers 8-14 July & 10â€“16 Sept
Couple Connect: 3 Day Retreat 11-14 Oct (Max 9 couples)
Want to find out more or looking for a venue for your own course? Please get in touch: 07508 920583
Welcome to Florence House A MAGICAL PLACE WHERE EXTRAORDINARY THINGS HAPPEN On the brow of Seaford Head, Sussex, sits Florence House; a much-loved venue for life-enhancing workshops and retreats, weddings, corporate oﬀ-site training events, Bed & Breakfast and more…
RETREATS & WORKSHOPS CONFERENCES WEDDINGS 3 ★★★ BED & BREAKFAST 10% Discount to Hoﬀman Graduates booking events or workshops. For further information, contact Mairin or Steve on t: 01323 873 700 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.florencehouse.co.uk
The Hoffman Process allows you to take an in-depth look at how your past has shaped your present – and how it continues to impact on your fu...
Published on Jan 8, 2018
The Hoffman Process allows you to take an in-depth look at how your past has shaped your present – and how it continues to impact on your fu...