Issue 3 - Free copy
Weâ€™re serious about change
Welcome to Florence House A magical place where extraordinary things happen On the brow of Seaford Head, Sussex, sits Florence House; rock solid in the sea air and surrounding wild landscape - a haven for the spirit however the wind blows.
It is a much loved venue for life enhancing workshops and retreats, weddings, corporate off site training events, Bed and Breakfast and more.
The beautiful interior of the house itself, the abundant gardens, the proximity to the sea and the wildness of the Downs, make Florence House ideal for a
myriad of different events and our friendly and experienced staff are always on hand to help you with your planning.
We are renowned for our delicious and creative home cooking produced by
our own chefs. There are magical places within the gardens and we encourage our guests to enjoy these areas for activities and ceremonies.
Our aim is to create a unique, nurturing environment for life enhancing experiences here at Florence House.
We hope to welcome you soon to Florence House
For further information call Mairin or Steve on 01323 873700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org w w w. f l o r e n c e h o u s e . c o . u k
ince the Hoffman Process began in the early 1970s a wonderful variety of people have been drawn to experience the course. A huge thank you to all those participants who have shared their stories and allowed us to use their photographs for our vibrant magazine cover this year. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we react to things, and the articles in this third issue of our magazine are testament to that. Whether it’s rebuilding a house after a devastating fire, changing career path following an illness, overcoming addictions, choosing not to pass on negativity to the next generation or deciding to take your foot off the pedal, all our contributors have managed to turn life challenges into something positive and fulfilling. I hope you are inspired by some of these stories and that they might encourage you to seize the life you have and really live it.
Contents Where Hoffman began
Stress: 10 early symptoms
Elle Decoration article
What a Performance!
Many faces of Parkinson’s
Rising from the Ashes
Stuffocation: Social Trends
Bewildered by Choice?
Freedom from Conﬂict
Are you Addicted to Love?
Jekyll & Hyde: Addictions
Emotional Reboot: Adoption 35
Hoffman UK co-Founder & Managing Director
Running for your Life
Events, info and dates
If you would like to advertise or contribute in our next issue, we’d love to hear from you. Please use the contact details below. Editor: Serena Gordon email@example.com Designer: Jo Sennett firstname.lastname@example.org Features Writer: Nikki Wyatt email@example.com
For all enquiries please call +44 (0) 1903 88 99 90 Hoffman UK address: Quay House, River Rd, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9DF Photograph by Jo Sennett
international... The Hoffman Process operates worldwide under the umbrella of Hoffman Institute International, based in the UK. HII was set up to ensure the quality, standards and delivery of the Process throughout the world. Visit: www.hoffman-international.com Hoffman Institute UK
Institut Hoffman France
Hoffman Institute Ireland
Institut Hoffman Spain
Hoffman Institute Foundation USA
Hoffman Institute Switzerland
Hoffman Institute Canada
Istituto Hoffman Italy
Hoffman Institute Netherlands
Hoffman Centre Australia
www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk www.hoffmanireland.com www.hoffmaninstitute.org www.hoffmaninstitute.ca www.hoffmaninstitute.nl
www.institut-hoffman.com www.institutohoffman.com www.hoffman-institut.ch www.istitutohoffman.it www.quadrinity.com.au
Hoffman Institut Deutschland www.hoffman-institut.de www.hoffman-quadrinity.de
Instituto Hoffman Argentina www.quadrinidad.com.ar
Hoffman Institute Russia
Centro Hoffman Brasil
www.centrohoffman.com.br www.institutohoffman.com.br www.processohoffman.com www.institutohoffman-rio.com.br
Where it all began... The Hoffman Process is an intensive residential course that promotes personal discovery and development. With over 47 years experience, the Hoffman Institute has helped more than 96,000 people worldwide improve their lives and their relationships with others.
Published scientific research supports the positive effects that the Hoffman Process has in helping people cope with stress, anxiety and depression so that they can get more out of life.
Bob Hoffman was born in New York on September 5th 1922. Originally a bespoke gentleman’s tailor in Oakland, California, Bob had no formal training in psychology, psychiatry or psychotherapy but he identified a vital piece of the puzzle to finding wholeness: Love. It is the glue that keeps the family unit healthy. If Love is missing, we need it so badly that looking for it motivates almost all of our behaviour. Forgiving our parents, whether dead or alive, and learning to love ourselves, is the healthiest way to start living. With that as a basis, it becomes possible to genuinely love others.
Bob coined the term ‘Quadrinity’ to describe the four aspects of our Self: the Intellect, the Emotions, the Body and the Spirit. By engaging all these aspects and helping them to work in harmony, true healing could begin.
Bob grasped that, while we’re growing up, we imitate our parents in order to win their love and attention. By copying their moods, attitudes, beliefs and even their spoken expressions to gain their approval, we develop our personality traits. With that approval, we hope to gain the comforting security blanket that love provides. Love conquers all neuroses, and for Hoffman the fundamental neurosis was to grow up feeling unlovable.
Over the years Bob realised that offering a retreat setting would allow participants to deepen their insights and personal changes. So, in 1985, the first week-long residential Hoffman Process was held in Northern California. From there the course spread throughout the world with new Hoffman centres starting in Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Russia as well as here in the UK.
The Hoffman Process began in Bob’s office in Oakland, California in 1967. Bob would begin by asking a client to write an emotionally charged autobiography of their life from birth to puberty. Then he looked at the negative behavioural patterns of each of the birth parents and worked through their emotional history.
Bringing the Process to the UK
A structure of Awareness, Expression, Forgiveness and New Behaviour was born and to this day remains the foundation of all Hoffman Process teaching around the world. His book No One is to Blame was first published in 1978 as an introduction to help people understand how to change their negative or sabotaging habits.
In 1990, Tim Laurence trained as a Process teacher with Bob Hoffman. For the next five years Tim taught in both the US and Canada and in 1995, with Bob’s support, he and Serena Gordon returned to the UK to introduce the Process to the British.
He could see that parents had unwittingly adopted ‘negative traits’ themselves and were driven by their own upbringing. They could therefore not be blamed. These deep understandings lead to the experience of forgiveness and compassion for our parents. As Bob was fond of saying: ‘Everyone is guilty and no one is to blame.’ Bob would usually lead his early clients through a series of eight to ten, two-hour sessions. These involved a variety of techniques and cathartic exercises designed to help them reach a place of unconditional love for their parents. They learnt tools to break the habit of negative behaviours and were taught rudimentary self–awareness exercises. 3 Hoffman UK Co-founders & Directors Serena Gordon & Tim Laurence
Some of the Hoffman UK teaching team
For many years Hoffman UK grew faster than UK teachers could be trained, so an international teaching team was often flown in from Australia, the States or Europe. As a result, the UK team was able to choose what they considered to be the best practices from other countries. Now a stable, experienced teaching team has been established and the UK is the third largest centre in the world. In 2003 Tim’s book about the Hoffman Process was published, entitled You Can Change Your Life (Hodder and Stoughton). The book enables people to read more about the techniques and exercises used on the Process.
Hoffman Institute International
United, of course, we’re stronger. In planning for what would happen after his death, Bob Hoffman formally set up Hoffman Institute International (HII) to regulate and monitor the standards, safety and delivery of the Hoffman Process worldwide.
We’ve also introduced more pre and post course workshops, on topics such as parenting, relationships and a new workshop for teenagers. These are very popular, both as a way to get a taste of the Hoffman approach and to develop relationship and/or parenting skills further. Over the past few years Hoffman UK has worked on maintaining a strong reputation through word of mouth as well as ensuring that all participants are doing the course at the right time. This involves working in conjunction with therapists, doctors, treatment centres, corporations, and educational establishments in order to provide people with a safe way of resolving issues and restoring relationships, leading to a better quality of life.
‘Happiness is everyone’s birth right’
HII ensures that all the centres regularly meet and communicate with each other so that since 1998, they’ve pooled resources on such areas as research, teacher training, teacher exchange programmes and many other aspects that help Hoffman to stay fresh, effective and relevant. Last year the main office of HII moved from the USA to the UK, so now Hoffman around the world is coordinated from the south coast offices overlooking the river Arun in Arundel, West Sussex.
Innovations and Updates
In line with modern research into neuroscience and how people make lasting change, all the Hoffman centres have been recently working together on updating and evolving the Process. While we are all determined to keep what is most loved about Hoffman, the update will result in changes to how we best use the time of the week. We know people now have ever busier lives, and we also, like our motto, are ‘serious about change.’ In 2014 we are also allowing previous participants to redo the Process which has proved popular in other Hoffman centres around the world.
It was Bob’s vision to help families, bring love back into our lives and heal the world one person at a time. He passed away in 1997, warmly loved and admired by all those who had come into contact with him. ‘My dream’ he said, ‘is that this work will eventually be recognised by all scientific communities, that it will be recognised by the educational pontiffs of the world and that it will be placed into compulsory educational programmes.’
Tens of thousands of people worldwide have now benefited from Bob’s vision. As many have said after their experience, ‘It’s the best gift you can give yourself.’ It’s also a gift that’s shared with family, friends and colleagues as its effect spreads through communities, cultures and across generations. For more information on the UK Hoffman Process please visit www.hoffmanprocess.co.uk call or 01903 88 99 90. For more details about the Hoffman Institute International (HII) or to find your nearest Hoffman centre please visit: www.hoffman-international.com 4
Stress the early symptoms
by Keira Henry
Stress affects all of us at one time or another and learning to recognise the symptoms and deal with them before they have serious consequences for our health, work and relationships is fast becoming an essential life skill.
Hoffman graduate Keira’s business specialises in designing health and wellbeing programmes under the banner of ‘How to Heal’. Having overcome ME herself Keira is now helping other people with ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to recognise and overcome the debilitating symptoms. She feels that prevention is better than cure. ‘According to the World Health Organisation 80% of illness is caused by stress, so understanding the symptoms and learning how to relieve them is vital to ensure optimum health and wellbeing. When we are stressed we activate our fight or flight biological response. The response consists of various hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, being produced by the body. If these hormones are produced too regularly then they will affect other functions of the body. In the short term this can cause
colds, flu or headaches. But if the external factors causing stress continue and the person’s emotional and mental response remains the same, then the body can start to crack under the pressure. Chronic conditions caused by long term stress include Depression, IBS, Crohn’s Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These conditions generally persist over long periods of time and often without resolution to the sufferers. This is because the body is stuck in the fight or flight response and can no longer bounce back to health just by taking a few days off work. Sadly this can lead to negative consequences on our quality of life, in areas such as our career, our finances, our important relationships and our emotional wellbeing.’
10 Typical Symptoms of Stress 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Regular coughs, colds and feeling run down Habitually undereating or overeating Regular excessive drinking Disturbed sleep because you can’t switch off Feeling tired, irritable and snappy Waking groggy and unrefreshed Drinking coffee habitually to ‘get going’ Digestive disturbances Frequent headaches
Approaches that can help in reducing stress... Detachment: Apart from getting enough sleep and changing your physical diet, changing your mental diet is also vital. When the habitual link is broken between repetitive negative thoughts and stressful feelings, physical symptoms are no longer triggered. Breathing exercises and meditation are both excellent ways to detach thoughts from emotion. Anger: If your first response to stress is irritation which quickly builds to rage or aggression then cathartic anger exercises are a great way to release that.
Creating Positivity: Useful tools for letting go of negative associations and creating new, more positive ones include visualisations and positive affirmations. Two practical goaloriented approaches which both support this are CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). Some would say that if you change your emotional state then the mental stress takes care of itself, others argue that if you change your thoughts, your feelings will follow, along with your moods and stress levels. It’s a chicken and egg situation but whichever approach you choose, anything is better than feeling trapped and ever more exhausted. Remember: whatever tools you choose it’s important to practise them regularly in order to change your neural pathways.
Balance through breath
by Alan Dolan
Human beings have been aware of the healing power of their Breath for millennia. Oriental and shamanic cultures in particular developed a vast array of practices designed to bring about physical and mental-emotional healing as well as providing a means of connecting with their deeper selves. This powerful healing mechanism is literally right beneath our noses waiting to be explored and yet we rarely give it more than a passing thought. Breathwork is a powerful and safe way to infuse the body with much-needed oxygen and energy thereby enabling our own (often depleted) healing systems to bring about physical, emotional and/or psychological healing. Imagine owning the most high-specification TV in existence, keeping it plugged in on standby and then living with it for years and years without ever actually turning it on. Sadly most of us live in “standby mode” most of the time... Until now. Most of us are aware that we are not breathing to our full capacity. On average we use about 25% of our respiratory systems, sometimes even less. These facts become even more thought provoking when we consider that most of our energy comes from what we bring in through the breath and almost 70% of detoxification occurs via our breath. Energetically speaking, most of us have an energetic overload going on in the top half of our bodies hence our minds become overstimulated. Conversely, we lack energy in the lower half of our bodies and become increasingly disassociated from the physical aspect of who we are. The less we feel and connect with our bodies, the less they seem to be an integral part us and the less attention and care we give them. So if you have stress in your life then try some of the simple breathing excercises opposite and see a difference for yourself.
Stress-Inducing Personality Patterns In my experience the common patterns that relate to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are: • over-achieving. • co-dependency such as being over-controlling/compliant. • perfectionism. • chronic anxiety. Each of these patterns lead you to expend more energy than is necessary which can be very draining. Don’t wait til you crash! Visit Keira’s website www.howtoheal.co.uk
Did you know we run on electricity? Its been called many names by different cultures across the globe... Chi, Prana, Electromagnetic Energy, all of which refer to our life force. Exercise one - Pulse Breath A soothing breath to calm the mind and elicit deep body relaxation. • Sit comfortably either crossed legged/straight backed on the floor or on a straight backed chair. and close your eyes. • Place three fingers of your right hand on the right side of your neck so that you can feel your pulse. • Place the middle finger of the left hand in your navel. • Inhale/exhale through the nose slowly and deeply in a continuous flow so there are no pauses at the end of each inhale and exhale. • Spend a few minutes breathing deeply and easily. • Place 3 fingers of your left hand at the pulse point on the left side of your neck and the middle finger of the right hand in the navel. • Breathe slowly and deeply in a continuous flow. • The amount of time spent on each side should be the same. • This can be practiced for 2 - 5 minutes each side. • The longer you do it the more relaxed you will feel. Exercise two - We Will Rock You Breath An energising and yet relaxing breath which can give a quick boost if we are feeling depleted or tired. • Sit in a semi reclined position. • Place both hands on the abdomen palms down and close your eyes. • Imagine a balloon in the abdomen and every time you inhale... inflate the balloon. • Exhale with a short gentle one beat sigh. • The inhale will be 3x as long as the exhale. • Breath in a continuous connected flow with no pauses inbetween the inhale and the exhale. • Speed of inhale is unimportant so take your time and inhale as slowly as you like. Now add a second inhale on top of the first inhale again ending with the short soft sigh exhale. • The rhythm is similar to the drum beat at the beginning of the queen song We Will Rock You. • In / In / Out... In / In / Out... • The main thing is to keep the pace very relaxed...don´t rush... make sure it feels comfortable and easy to do... • Practice for 3 minutes and then relax for three minutes noticing what you´re experiencing. www.breathguru.com 6 5
Meditate through awareness by Liz Dawes
Meditation has long been considered one of the best tools we have at our disposal to reduce stress and whilst there are many different types of meditation, the type that I teach and practise is mindfulness meditation. Through mindfulness meditation you learn to focus your attention and eliminate unhelpful thinking patterns that may be occupying your mind and causing stress. The good news is that you don’t need to sit on a cushion, cross-legged in a candlelit room to benefit from mindfulness meditation! It can be practised anywhere - whether sitting on the bus, out for a walk or even in a difficult business meeting. Here’s how to get started…
Step 1: Create a meditation practice Think Less: From time to time during the day, bring your attention to where your mind is. What thoughts are there? Chances are you will probably find that you are wasting a lot of time and energy by planning, worrying, daydreaming etc. When you notice what’s been going on in the mind, congratulate yourself on realising that you’ve been lost in thought and bring your attention back to where you intend it to be. Body Scan: Take a few quiet moments to mentally scan your body from tip to toe. Are you holding any tension? If so, destress by unclenching your hands, dropping your shoulders, stretching your neck, relaxing the jaw and slowing down your breathing. If you’re sat in a chair, see if you can imagine your seat taking all of your weight as you start to feel more grounded. Self-Compassion: Become aware of critical or judgemental thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I could have done better’ and let go of the stress of perfectionism. Instead, take a few moments to give yourself some positive affirmations: ‘I’m doing my best’, ‘I am perfectly capable of doing this job.’ Eating: Choose a piece of fruit. Imagine you have never ever seen this fruit before. Slowly examine it with fresh eyes, use your hands to explore it, your nose to smell it. Take a bite. Notice the sensations in your mouth, savour the taste, the texture. Enjoy this new enhanced experience! Walking: Bring awareness to the actual experience of walking. Intentionally focus on the sensations in your feet or legs. Notice what’s happening around you; take in the sounds, the weather, the feel of the air against your skin. Do it Now: Set a time to do something that you’ve been putting off for a while such as clearing out a drawer, phoning a relative, tidying your desk and turn it into a meditation practice. Make it as enjoyable as possible and bring your full attention to it. See how satisfying it feels to accomplish something worthwhile. 7
Step 2: Develop a healthy response As you begin to practise mindfulness meditation on a regular basis, you start to become much more aware of your thoughts and emotions and with this increased awareness comes greater self control in stressful situations. Yet you can develop even greater self control by enhancing awareness of your triggers, as you start to choose between continuing to react in the same old negative ways or opting for a calmer, more measured response. Here are a few of the common triggers in everyday life: People Consider if you repeatedly get upset, irritated or angry by the same work colleagues, family members or friends. If you are in touch with how you are feeling, then it becomes possible to break out of the passive or hostile reactions that automatically rear up when you feel put upon or threatened. Time Do you experience periods when there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day? It’s at these times when it can be par ticularly beneficial to do a meditation practice - if only for 5 minutes- as you step out of the flow of time altogether. You might find that the calmness you experience in those few minutes changes your experience of time as you go back into it. Roles Are you identifying too strongly with one of your roles to the detriment of another role? For example are you a high achiever at work and expect equally high standards at home in your role as mother? Consider and become aware of your various roles and the differences between them. Then commit yourself to separating your roles; by staying alert to them, you will be less confined within them. For mindfulness and stress reduction in the workplace see: www.mindyou.co.uk
Michelle Ogundehin, Editor in Chief of ELLE Decoration UK
Redesign your mind As we begin a new year, perhaps the first thing we should consider refreshing is ourselves, says editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin: and she doesn’t mean with spa treatments. There is a proverb that says ‘Give me a boy until he is seven, and I will give you the man’ the sentiment being that our characters are fully formed in those crucial early years of life: and it’s a theory backed up by contemporary psychological research. More specifically, some say our characters are dictated in those formative years by behaviours copied from our parents, or primary caregivers. Why? Because, before the age of seven, we learn intuitively, absorbing that which we observe on an emotional level, imitating without the benefit of a filter to decipher good from bad. As life progresses we accept these characteristics as ‘ourselves’. Teachers of the Hoffman Process, a personal discovery and development programme (it’s also been dubbed a psychological detox) founded by Bob Hoffman in California in 1967, believe that as a result of this, many of our adult emotional struggles are due to the disconnection between those intuitively learned behaviours and our true natures. We are not born impatient, angry, anxious, judgemental or with an inability to love; they say we are born ‘pure’ until someone teaches us to behave, or believe, otherwise. So is this the great get-out clause? An excuse to nonchalantly shrug off all the stuff we don’t like about ourselves as adults, blaming our parents instead? Ultimately, few could claim to have had visionary, perfect mothers and fathers. But as Hoffman was often quoted as saying, ‘Everyone is guilty and no one is to blame.’ After all, they too had their stresses and struggles as well as their own symbiotically adopted behavioural patterns to contend with. Instead, and especially at this time of year, ‘Who am I?’ continues to be an eternally proffered question, alongside ‘Who do I actually want to be?’ And often times it’s a crisis in life, or a major turning point such as a relationship breakdown, new job or the birth of a child that provokes, or prompts, such introspective self examination. For myself, the push to sign up for the Hoffman Process was simply a steadily increasing feeling that all was not quite as it could be. Change felt required but the trouble was, I wasn’t sure what it was that needed to change. And while I’ve always been committed to the notion of self-evolution, I can honestly say that this eight-day residential course (I did it in Seaford, East Sussex, but it’s available in 13 countries around the world) was the most intense emotional journey I have ever put myself through. And I sincerely hope I will never feel the need to do it again! From the moment you cross the threshold you hand over your phones, books and electronic devices, progressively letting go of everything you hitherto assumed defined you. In short, the Process seemed to me to be a carefully structured method of forensically cross-examining yourself, your parents and the dynamics within your family, followed by a regression of sorts back through childhood in order to jettison any baggage you no longer wish to carry, thus unlocking negative emotions and releasing potential. The real killer, though, was while all of us have stuff we know about on the surface, say a tendency to get wound up by certain types of people, or hurts that we know we haven’t Illustration by Nicola Rew
made peace with, we all bury a lot too. Ways of being that are so deeply ingrained in our psyche, we don’t even recognise that they are learned behaviours. So, just when you think you’re done, with any ‘issues’ resolved and demons neatly dealt with, you’re pushed further in order to truly face up to yourself. Usually, so anecdotal evidence suggests, it’s only on our deathbeds that we finally come face to face with our unvarnished truths. When we have nothing left to lose, the blinkers fall from our eyes and we see clearly how we could have been if we’d got out of the way of ourselves. How much better then to do the work rather earlier and be able to reap the benefits with a life still ahead of you! And it’s a unique opportunity to break familial chains that may have shackled whole generations, before they too are passed onto the next. But getting out of the way of yourself is a tricky concept for many to grasp. Surely, they say, we are who we are, and isn’t life about learning to accept that? No. We are a sum total of learned patterns of behaviour, both negative and positive. And if you can learn to be one way, with consciousness of that pattern, if it’s negative, you can learn to behave differently. Let’s take an example. You’re a pack rat, can’t throw anything away, always hoarding, just in case. But it annoys your partner, and your kids are perhaps rebelling by being unduly messy. Could you ‘snap out of it’, read a few books on Zen minimalism or have an annual purge to clutter-clear only to amass again? Or could you attempt to get to the root of your attachment to stuff, your fear of letting things go? In all likelihood too, this tendency to hang onto things wiggles its way into other aspects of your life in a sort of ripple effect... Bit possessive? Or needy? The point is, every behaviour has a cause. The question is, do you want to challenge yourself to investigate why? Do you want change? Not that an empty abode would, by corollary, be the epitome of self-contentment. It’s more the idea that before rushing to re-do, remove or renovate that which surrounds us, perhaps it’s worth taking a moment to consider that which is within us. After all, do you really need a bigger house, a new handbag, or the latest gadget or gizmo? And if you do need something, are you choosing an item that really reflects your true self, or just something to make a statement to outside observers? Consumerism today is deliberately driven by making us feel lack. If you buy X, then you’ll feel Y. We know it’s not true and yet at this time of year, following the shopping frenzy that Christmas has increasingly become, possibly strained by debt and suffering a touch of self-recrimination, perhaps this will be the moment that you clear out your inner basement in order to start the new year truly ready to make the most of everything that lies ahead of you. Article originally published in Elle Decoration February 2014 Follow Michelle on Twitter: @MOgundehin Or read her blog: http://www.elledecoration.co.uk/editors-blog 8
‘Every generation blames the one before...’
Mike & the Mechanics, ‘The Living Years’
What can you do when, despite a deepening self-awareness and possibly years of personal development work, some painful and life-limiting patterns still continue to surface and affect you? It might just be that the root of the problem lies not only with you but also belongs to someone else in your wider family system. If that’s the case, then a Systemic Constellation can be extremely helpful. We spoke to Gaye Donaldson, Director and Faculty Member of the Centre for Systemic Constellations to find out more about this valuable and powerful work. ‘Geoff was in his mid 60s when he first came to do a Systemic Constellation. He’d had a lonely childhood, abandoned by his mother and passed from pillar to post and it seemed to him that he was always being “got rid of ”. He felt extremely unloved and unlovable. ‘Through doing a Constellation, Geoff was able to see for the first time that his mother loved him deeply, only parting from him with unbearable grief and pain, because she had wanted to protect him from the TB that she carried. She had not held her son so as to protect him from the contagion that had killed so many of her family. Geoff had never seen this before and during the workshop, he experienced for the first time the depth of his mother’s love and the self-sacrifice that had ensured his survival.’ Systemic Constellations, developed by the German philosopher and psychotherapist Bert Hellinger, provide a solution-focused process for addressing personal, family and work-related issues in an original and rather wonderful way. This whole-system approach differs from other forms of therapy in that it explores each person’s place in the system to which they belong, rather than simply focusing on the individual in an isolated way. These systems may be our current family or our family of origin, our workplace or even the environment in which we live. While we each have our own personal history we are also, inevitably, deeply connected with our wider familial, social and cultural history, which exerts a strong, and often unacknowledged, influence over us. What Constellation work reveals are the hidden loyalties to the huge acts of fate or painful losses in our long family history, issues that are deeply held and can manifest themselves in the way we lead our lives today. Gaye has been involved with 9
Systemic work for over 20 years and leads workshops throughout the world. ‘At a Systemic Constellations workshop participants can either bring their own issue to explore or simply participate as an element or representative in another person’s Constellation. This issue may be personal or it may relate to their family, career or business. ‘By using members of the group to create a “living map” of any issue or situation, simple but hidden truths can be revealed and understood, giving new insight and opportunities for change and movement. When we’re supported in seeing the widest possible view of our story, we’re able to see what we’ve inherited and “hand back” issues to those in our ancestral field to whom they belong.’ Systemic constellations are an effective tool in the resolution of interpersonal problems in both families and organisations and have been successfully used in educational establishments, health care, prisons and other social services. This process can be used to assist communication and conflict resolution, and can help with team motivation, decision making and strategic issues. ‘My own experience of this work, both personally and professionally has been powerful and effective. Constellation work has helped Hoffman diagnose vital, underlying issues that have held back our growth and shed light on healing possibilities that had previously remained obscure.’ Serena Gordon Hoffman UK co-founder and Hoffman Institute International affiliate. Constellations can also reveal a different perspective on issues relating to marriage, relationships, addictions, physical and mental illnesses, You can contact Gaye: www.gayedonaldson.com www.centreforsystemicconstellations.com
What a Performance! In the past few issues of our Hoffman Magazine we have interviewed actor and DJ Goldie, British comedian Russell Kane, and actor Nathaniel Parker. Two common themes came out of our interviews: being authentic and learning to love your parents.
Goldie did Hoffman in 2005. ‘My life has changed considerably since I did the Process. Once we know what we are made up of, it is then that we can make the changes. I’ve learnt that if you can’t let go of everything then there is no room for growth. I have conversations with my kids that I would never have had with my own parents and I feel really proud about that. I learned so much about parenting and realised how much I am like my own mother. I discovered how angry I was with her, but I now realise she had such a hard time being a parent. I didn’t have that empathy before. Since Hoffman, I’ve put everything behind me so we now have a great relationship and can actually talk to each other. It’s helped me forgive my mother and forgiveness is very important in relationships. ‘Hoffman helps you get a sense of balance about life and not only do you benefit, but those around you do too. It’s an intense experience and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it cuts to the chase and doesn’t intrude like other approaches. I found out how to pace myself in my life, how to have empathy and how to be humble and now I’m doing things I never thought I could do before.’ Goldie’s theatre debut is at Stratford Theatre Royal in April 2014. He also has a busy summer ahead touring as a DJ. Catch up with Goldie on www.goldie.co.uk
Following the Hoffman Process, Russell toured with ‘Smokescreens and Castles’, a hilarious sold-out show based on personal material. Much of the show was about his father’s British bulldog attitudes and repressed masculinity. Russell described their relationship as ‘difficult and full of silent love’. He said there were some sections of the show that he found difficult to perform because they were so personal. He credits Hoffman for helping him through huge bouts of anxiety and depression and overcoming performance nerves: ‘Last year was so intense – I was so anxious that I would get to the venue fifty minutes early. With Hoffman I managed to calm down my internal energy. I found a better way to write and it stopped my magpie brain turning into lard with too many associations.’ In 2014, Russell will tour the UK with his new stand up show, ‘Smallness – on keeping things small when life gets big’. His regular podcast ‘The Kaneing’ can be downloaded from iTunes. Find out what he’s up to on www.russellkane.co.uk
Nathaniel Parker is probably best known for his TV role as Inspector Lynley. He is currently starring in the RSC’s Stratford production of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. The show transfers to London in spring 2014. Being back on stage was a challenge for Nat who many years ago had been gripped by devastating stage fright. ‘The difference in my attitude was apparently evident the moment I returned home. The Process allowed me to be more myself. It was a relief to find we were all treated as individuals with our own needs and issues.’ Nat also found that Hoffman helped him be really present with his mother when she was dying of cancer. ‘In that moment it was about pure love, intimacy and compassion, and, without words everything that needed to be said was said.’ You can follow Nat’s career via his website www.nathanielparker.com
The many faces of Parkinson’s Interview with Tim Andrews by Nikki Wyatt
Tim Andrews was a self-confessed workaholic, so finding time to do the Process was a challenge. He also wondered how much he’d benefit as he had little memory of his father. By the end of the first day of the course he’d realised that the absence of a parent can affect you just as profoundly as their presence. As he began to question many of his assumptions, his mind and heart opened to more love and intimacy as a husband, a father and a friend. Three years later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s which meant he had to give up work. However, as he let go of what gave meaning to his old life, he found the expression of a creative dream.
Visit Tim’s blog at: timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.co.uk View his films at: www.youtube.com Jane’s art is at: www.janeandrews.co.uk Photo: “Mad Hatter” by Paul Rider
Photo: “I’m looking through you” by Martina O’Shea
‘I’ve been married for over 34 years to my wife Jane who is an artist. She likes to explore her feelings through many different mediums, so I wasn’t surprised in the spring of 2002 when she decided to enrol on the Hoffman Process. She returned from the course saying that she’d really been through the wringer and was keen for me to enrol so that I could relate to what she was feeling. It’s only now that I realise the Process is a unique and different experience for each person, although the awareness, tools and emotional vocabulary that we now have in common stands our relationship in good stead. I didn’t feel any urgency to do the course at the time but I was quite happy to have a break from my pressured solicitor’s practice. I duly filled out the Pre-Course work which is designed to take you back through your childhood. All the questions about my father I answered rather flippantly. He died when I was 2 years old leaving my mother to bring up 5 children so I just didn’t have a memory of him. As a result I thought that the questions didn’t apply to me - I soon discovered how wrong I was! On the first morning I remember thinking; ‘I can’t believe I’ve given a whole week just for me.’ Back then I was a real workaholic. I‘d always felt a great sense of duty to my colleagues and my practice but rarely felt that towards myself and my own wellbeing. As this dawned on me I began to feel tearful. Then I went in for an interview with my Hoffman teacher and all the thoughts of ‘I have no issues, I didn’t know my father’ disappeared. I realised that the absence of that relationship can have a significant impact. When I confronted all that I’d missed through losing my father so young, it had a profound effect on me. I saw how that influenced my own role as a father to my two children.
Opening the Heart - That first day I sat in the main hall watching everyone arrive and mentally pigeon-holed the new group of people that I now belonged to. Over the next couple of days my prejudices were largely confirmed. However the course encouraged me to trace my beliefs and my outlook on life back to my childhood and little by little I felt a shift. By the middle of the week, as I watched the rest of my group file into the dining room I realised that I adored all of them. We were such a mixture of personalities and backgrounds but our worries and fears united us. I saw that our common goal was to get on with each other and any ill will simply arose from looking at each other through the lens of childhood conditioning. That day I understood that my capacity to love wasn’t restricted to family and friends; it was possible to open my heart to everyone without diluting that initial love for an intimate circle. In fact, when we finished the course I was the lynchpin who kept my group in contact for quite a while and I still see two or three of them all these years later. The Honeymoon Period - My wife was worried when I left for the Process but I came home from the course feeling like I’d had the best holiday I’d ever experienced. Our children both said how
changed Jane and I were; that the Process had done us both the power of good. I’ve always been an open person but since the Process I express love more easily and I can show my feelings more spontaneously. I’m also much less judgemental and feel closer to my children. My outlook is generally optimistic but I’ve had more brio and joie de vivre since doing the course. Jane and I had a honeymoon period in our marriage for a while after the Process but of course we also had to adapt to the changes and new awareness that had come up for both of us. As Jane said; ‘My negative traits have learned to get on well with your negative traits’. So the next phase of growth in our relationship involved finding space for our positive traits. The dynamics of our relationship have changed as we’ve learned to dance differently with each other.The Process stirred things up which took time to find an even keel but there have also been wonderful times when we sorted things out. I often talk to people about the Process. It’s a big undertaking but it will pay dividends if you attend with an open mind and go with the flow. Refocusing with Parkinson’s - On the Process you’re asked to vision an ideal future for yourself and, when I created my vision, I was slightly surprised to see myself as an actor. At the time I was unconvinced that I’d ever give up law and express that creative part of myself. However in 2005, at the age of 54, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and my life changed radically. Looking back I realise that I probably had the early stages of the disease before I went to the Process but I didn’t realise it then. Luckily my insurance company was prepared to pay a proportion of my salary, as I had to give up work after 29 years as a solicitor. Cutting back our outgoings entailed selling our family home which was hard, as it held so many happy memories, but our move to Brighton has worked well and we both love it here now. Parkinson’s has given me the chance to do things I’d never done before and express another side to myself. My new direction began when I answered an advert looking for nude photographic models. I was intrigued by the creative possibilities, so from there a project was born documenting the different aspects of my personality and the progress of my illness through photography. So far I’ve been a model for 250 photographers and was recently invited to create an exhibition with my wife. The combination of my photographs and her pictures document how two people have coped with some dramatic changes in their lives and many people have said how much it moved them. Re-Creating Each Day - Now I have a blog where I’ve written about each of my photographs and created a youtube video of my exhibitions. These days my greatest pleasure is making films that allow me to enjoy constantly reinventing life through a different lens. As I say on my blog, I would love it if someone found a cure or a new drug that worked all the time, day and night. But the strange thing is that I am excessively happy and fulfilled. I realise that my self confidence has soared in recent years because what I am doing comes from me, from deep inside me. I’ m holding on tightly to that.
A Guardian Chantel, a nurse and James, a chef, ran into some relationship issues early in their marriage when Chantel was carrying their first child. Chantel’s uncle, Simon Donnelly, suggested that the Hoffman Process might bring them both some clarity. Thanks to his financial assistance, they’ve both done Hoffman and their communication is better, their relationship is stronger and they’re able to be the kind of parents they wanted to be for their beautiful new daughter, Alexandra. Chantel’s Story Shortly after James and I got married in September 2012 it became obvious that all was not well with our relationship. It reminded me of an earlier time in my life. My mother had me when she was only 17 and it was tough being a young mum. When I was 14 she finally had a breakdown so my grandmother became my guardian. My mother had acted very out of character in the run up to her breakdown so when I saw James acting strangely I felt a similar sense of shock and déjà vu. When it came to a head, I left James and went to stay with my uncle Simon for a few days to get some perspective. After talking my situation through with him and his lovely partner Carol (pictured right) I realised that I had to “fix” myself before I could fix our marriage. My biggest issue was that I didn’t feel good enough and I had a strong perfectionist pattern. I really didn’t want to pass that on to our baby. Simon had done Hoffman about ten years earlier and Carol did it in 2012, so they had a lot of insight into family patterns. Simon generously offered me the Process as a gift, so I enrolled on one in March 2013 which was the first suitable date, given that I was pregnant. In the meantime James and I began couple’s therapy but I didn’t feel the sessions gave us strategies for how to deal with our feelings when they arose. The Process, on the other hand, showed us how to deal with our feelings in the moment as well as encouraging us to prepare each day with a quick personal check in so we have an awareness of feelings before they become a problem. I noticed during our couple’s therapy that James didn’t just struggle to express his feelings but he actually wasn’t aware of them and that’s the difference the Process made for both of us. On the course saying we were “fine” wasn’t an option, we had to name our feelings every day (you’re even given a list to choose from!) and that really helped to build our awareness. 13
Carol had told me: “You’ll never cry so much and you’ll never laugh so much as you will on the Process” and she was right. The sixth day of the course was the turning point for me. I suddenly had a clear vision of the life I wanted to give my child, full of happiness and appreciation, so I decided that I’d be happy on my own account, whatever direction our marriage took. James’s Story I felt our relationship problems began soon after our wedding and the crisis point for me came in February 2013 when I walked out of my job. I could feel parts of me shutting down; it was quite frightening. Chantel went to stay with Simon to give herself some breathing space. I’ve known Simon a long time and he’s like our guardian angel. He’s a very good listener and he always gives great advice. When I went to pick up Chantel I stayed at his house for a couple of days. He and Carol were fantastic, they spent a long time talking things over with us. For much of my life I felt that people either talked at me or talked down to me whereas Simon talks to me. My parents are from a generation who don’t “do” emotions, so I wasn’t used to getting in touch with my feelings at a deep level and I found the couple’s therapy difficult. Then in March Chantel left for the Process and I didn’t know what to expect. She was depressed when we said goodbye but she came back a different person. She was happier, more open and more willing to discuss things, so when Simon offered to lend me the money for the Process, I decided to give it a go myself two months later. I have severe dyslexia diagnosed at Primary School. When I was eleven I had the reading and writing skills of a 5 year old. It meant I got a lot of stick as a teenager and I had extra tuition in special needs, classes. When I saw the pages of pre-Course Work for the Process I felt pretty daunted. I was worried about being judged for my spelling and that the teachers might not understand how I expressed myself. The journalling on the Process brought up difficult memories of when I was studying for GCSEs which was actually useful as I was able to work through them. I’m not very confident meeting people so I found the start of the Process quite challenging. There were people on the course who were highly paid professionals so I felt I might be judged for my tattoos and seen as a bit of a hooligan.
By Nikki Wyatt
But by the end of the week I felt totally comfortable. I could talk very freely in front of everyone; I came out of my shell and really blossomed. The fact we had no mobiles really helped, because it meant that we communicated without distractions. I liked the Process because nobody pushed me to open up before I was ready or to share when I didn’t want to. The teachers just created a safe space and waited until I felt willing to share. It was very helpful to have other people going through the same thing as me, because it takes guts to do the course. It was one of the best and one of the worst weeks of my life. I felt very sad when it was over but I was so excited to see Chantel again. I came home on such a high I don’t even remember the journey, I just remember seeing Chantel come round the corner and us hugging and kissing. I know now that I am who I am and I don’t need to be approved of. As far as the Process is concerned I’d say it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve come from or what you do - just go for it.
Chantel continues: When James was on the Process I went to stay with my mother and integrated more of my own Process experience. I hoped James would get some clarity about our relationship. As soon as he got back I could see he’d changed. I gave him plenty of space and time alone that first weekend to adjust to all the shifts that he’d made. I find that he can identify his feelings now and express them better. He’s much more at peace. We both know that our new daughter Alexandra is going to learn from our relationship. Now that we’ve done Hoffman we can see that our actions and emotions affect her more than our words. We try to be happy and positive around her and we do any emotional clearing away from her. Because we’re calmer we find Alexandra is calm too. We still have disagreements but they’re fewer because we’re more likely to speak up as soon as something bothers us rather than wait for it to become a major issue. As a couple we’re now looking at the future rather than dwelling on the past.
Relationship & Life Coaching Donna Lancaster
Relationship & Life Coach Hoffman Supervising Teacher Individuals - Donna works with individuals in supporting them to deal with various life challenges. Through offering a safe and confidential space for clients to express and make sense of their feelings, Donna supports people to make connections between the past and the present and offers practical tools to help facilitate new behaviour and positive change. Couples - Donna works with couples when they are facing blocks to intimacy or simply if they wish to regain or strengthen their loving connection. Sessions include understanding why we choose the partners we do. Learning how to communicate more effectively, how to express and address frustrations, recreating fun and planning a shared vision for the future. Donna also offers Coaching Intensives and Couple’s Retreats for deeper exploration. Donna is available in London, Sussex and Lanzarote.
T: 07843 687 738
Culture Clash? Finding a common language By Tim Laurence
It’s a warm summer night in Sao Paulo. A group of passionate Brazilians are laughing, dancing, shouting and crying. Some of them are managing all at once. It’s taken me twenty years, but I’ve finally realised one of my goals, which was to teach the Hoffman Process in Latin America.
What is it about the Process that attracts people from Latin cultures such as the Italians, Spanish, Peruvians and Argentinians, as well as those from more reserved cultures such as Germany, Canada and the famously buttoned-up British? Bob was once asked by a journalist interviewing him for an Austrian newspaper: Journalist: ‘Mr. Hoffman, who exactly is the Process for?’ Bob: ‘Anyone who had a mother or a father.’ Bob Hoffman’s vision was to help change the world ‘one person at a time’ and slowly, his work spread out from San Francisco around the world. It now covers North and South America, Europe, Australia and a corner of Asia. Now Brazil, itself the size of 30 European countries, has five Hoffman centres and, after the USA, has more people attending the Process than any other country. The UK, a land of slightly smaller dimensions, is in third place. Brazil is special though, not just because it’s so large and exerts a pull on our imagination, but because it was the first country where the Process was translated into a different language and, to some extent, adapted to a culture very different to that of the USA. Since I was first involved with Hoffman in 1989 I’ve been lucky enough to teach the Process in ten countries. In my first year of teaching, I alternated between the west coast of the USA and the east coast of Canada every single month. I was struck by some of the clear differences between the course participants. In California, people seemed to have more drama in their backgrounds: more divorce, more addiction, more millionaires and bankrupts, and were very forthcoming in laying it all out. The Canadians were more gentle, more quietly spoken, and took more persuasion to put their cards on the table. Yet all showed the same human qualities: wishing to change their lives, to have a clearer idea of who they were beyond any past conditioning. Everyone had known some emotional 15
distress in their lives, often depression or anxiety. Everyone wanted closer connection, whether with loved ones, friends or colleagues. In short, all of them were wishing to experience this great mystery and delight of being human. I’ve found this true of Russians, Sudanese, South Africans and Chinese, without having to travel these days. The UK probably sees more nationalities than any other Hoffman centre – many courses have between 8 to12 countries represented, since English is most people’s second language these days and London is such an international hub. A typical course will have some Dutch and Scandinavians, some eastern Europeans and a scattering of long-term expats originally from other English-speaking countries. Invariably there will also be some Arabs from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Perhaps it is Hoffman’s popularity among the Arab people that has been the most surprising thing for myself and, judging by their reaction, for many others as well. In 2006 on a Process at Florence House I met Abeer Almehfleh, originally Kuwaiti but living in Bahrain. I asked her then if there was anything we needed to be culturally sensitive about and, perhaps with her attention more on her own Process at the time, she replied that she needed to think about that before giving her answer. As it turned out, it was Abeer who invited us to work in Bahrain and a year later we were about to start a course there when she gave me the answer I’d been waiting for ‘Tim, you know I’ve thought a lot about your question. As long as you put on this Process with the clearest of intentions, then we will accept it in the depth of our hearts. Do it the way you do it best, not the way you think it needs to be adapted.’ I was surprised by that. Yet her remark reminded me of an insight that had jumped out at me from one of my all-time favourite books, a witty and learned commentary on my own people, Watching the English by Kate Fox. She, a social anthropologist, had been given this advice by her father, also an anthropologist (a family pattern, perhaps?) ‘Don’t be misled by the ethnographic dazzle’. By which he meant, don’t let your eyes be dazzled by the brightness on the surface; go underneath.
Hoffman International Conference, Barcelona 2012
But of course there are differences, and though Bob’s overall week-long structure is maintained by us and all the members of our International community, we are free to adapt certain aspects to a group’s or individual’s needs. For instance, in the UK, we are used to the fact that some people may have spent more time in a boarding school environment than they actually did with their parents. They will examine the influence on how their persona adapted to this ‘home’ and its effect now in the present: their attitudes to authority, how they deal with emotions, and of course basic issues such as trust and safety. For some groups, shame may be more of an issue than for others. I’ve noticed it particularly hits a chord with Irish participants, though it also gets a strong response with Arabs. Again if we feel it’s more appropriate, we may spend more time on transference, on how mother and
father figures set up the primary models for others in our lives. In France, the only country I know where philosophy is taught at secondary school level, and where Descartes’ ‘I think, therefore I am’ has lodged itself firmly in the national psyche, more time is spent on discussing concepts. Working there, I can remember at times having to fight with my own impatience, saying to myself, ‘Can we just please do the exercise and not keep talking about it?’ So the cultural differences are there and Hoffman reflects that from country to country. However, as Bob would be the first to point out, we’re all the same under the surface. Deep down we all want love and acceptance in our relationships and peace with our past. For more information on the Hoffman Process around the world please visit: www.hoffman-international.com
The voice of Hoffman is global Bahrain
Abeer Almefleh - Therapist and Transpersonal Counsellor I was worried that the Process might have views and ideas that would be in conflict with my culture, religion and upbringing but I was able to adapt the majority of the Process principles easily. Personally the course reconnected me to my higher self, deepened and widened my compassion for myself and others. It also helped me re-embrace the whole of me! On a professional level it helped me follow my ultimate desire to help others by studying to be a therapist and a transpersonal counsellor - dare I say one of the very first in my region speaking both Arabic and English. I have been working as a therapist for the past 6 years and have my own practice ‘Basicself’. The Process changed the relationship I have with myself and that affected all my other relationships, especially with my mum. We can now look into each other’s eyes and sit for hours talking. I have found deep love and compassion and a great sense of inner peace.
Monica Jones - Artist I decided to do the Hoffman Process after noticing that a few friends were looking younger and more relaxed and each one had the same answer. They’d done Hoffman and yes, I wanted some of that! I asked if they thought it’d benefit me and each one said ‘definitely’. So I booked myself in for what turned out to be the most memorable week of my life. I felt as if Hoffman allowed me to let go of more negativity and created a more positive outlook for myself and my life than any other personal development course I’ve ever done. It was worth every penny I spent in air fares and accommodation as well as the course fee. Since the Process, my life has changed immeasurably. My husband, three children, son and daughterin-law have now all done the course, and it’s impossible to measure how much better our relationships are now. I’d tell anyone considering the Process to only do it if they genuinely want to change their lives. I also tell friends thinking about it, that if they knew what they were going to get by doing the Process, then they’d put on their running shoes and run there as fast as they could, as I literally do think it’s the best investment I’ve ever made in myself. www.monicajonesartist.com 16
Mathieu Van Straaten Financial Consultant I’m an international consultant and manager at a financial company. I decided to do the Process in the UK in 2012. I was in my mid 30’s and felt stuck in the same negative behaviour and although coaching had brought me lots of insights, nothing had changed at a practical level. I was aware that a lot of things holding me back originated in my childhood and wanted to address them. Moreover I really wanted to give my two young children a different start, free of the baggage that I carried. The births of my children had also shaken up my workaholic lifestyle. I tried continuing to work the same hours, but I was torn because I wanted to be there as a father. The resulting internal conflict was exhausting and I ended up not enjoying either role. My advice for anyone thinking of doing the Process would be don’t do it because others do it. Do it because you want to change your life for the better. I really think it works best if there’s a pain that brings you there, something that really motivates you to change. Once you’re there, commit fully. Engage completely with whatever comes, it’s a unique experience and you’ll get the most out of it when you step into it 100%. Dutch culture is much like English culture and the spoken exercises on the course are all easy to understand. The Process is actually more about expressing yourself in other ways than verbally. After the course continue to work on increasing the positives and diminishing the negatives. You get out what you put in… Nowadays I often ask myself what I’m putting in; if the answer is ‘not a lot’ I stop complaining and escaping and try to invest. I call it life gardening; keep pulling out the weeds and planting the flowers.
Dubai & New Zealand
Andrea Anstiss Transpersonal Psychotherapist I was inspired to do the Process after meeting Tim at a talk in Dubai. The course gave me many insights, but an unconscious vindictiveness towards my parents proved particularly significant. The pressure I experienced to be perfect, as the only daughter, prevented me from being able to relax and spend time with them. I had more fun, being myself, on the other side of the world. After the Process that changed quickly and dramatically. We bought a holiday house in a beautiful part of New Zealand where I spent precious time with them. I am profoundly grateful I did, as family bereavements occurred a few years later. Having this renewed connection with New Zealand meant I was present to support my mother through her prolonged grief around the sudden death of my brother and my father’s passing which occurred soon after. My husband did the Process just two months after I completed it. That was a major win for us! Our relationship improved greatly from then on. Remarkably he took up oil painting straight after his Process and our walls are now covered in his work. It was like his left-sided engineering brain suddenly welcomed this creative aspect of him. He is much happier and fulfilled in himself. He is less of a work addict Yey! My advice to anyone considering doing the Process is: just do it! In 100 years time maybe no one will remember you – but they will feel the extra light you contributed to the world. The Hoffman Process is available in 17 countries worldwide. www.hoffman-international.com
Matthew Pruen Life Coach London | Brighton | phone | skype for self esteem | relationships | life-vision creativity | joie de vivre
07976 843715 firstname.lastname@example.org www.matthewpruen.com
Image by Jonathan Perugia | www.jpphoto.com
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Rising from the ashes Interviews by Nikki Wyatt
The imposing granite walls of Raasay House stand on the stunningly beautiful Isle of Raasay near Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. Historically the seat of the Macleod clan, the original house was burned down in 1746. More recently the house has relived its dramatic past in another conflagration but, despite tremendous setbacks, the current guardians have fulfilled their promise that it would once more rise from the ashes. It’s a story of extraordinary tenacity, love and courage...
In 1984 Lyn Rowe started an outdoor activity centre at Raasay House. She was later joined by her daughter Freya and Freya’s husband David Croy in a shared vision to bring prosperity and appreciation to the island that they had all fallen in love with; they wanted to help visitors feel the same deep connection to its beauty and amazing wildlife including sea eagles, puffins, seals, whales and dolphins. The 200 strong island community banded together to buy the house in 2000 whilst Lyn, David and Freya raised funds for a major 4.5 million pound refurbishment.
Remarkably the trio picked themselves up and began successfully raising more funds to start a new refurbishment but their faith was to be tested once more 6 months later. As the recession tightened its grip, the company in charge of the rebuild went into administration. It happened at a critical point in the year, so the outdoor centre, which was operating from a temporary home, lost thousands of pounds in winter business. Of the 200 people on the island 120 now remained; the future looked desperately uncertain.
In January 2009, three days before they were due to pick up the keys to the lovingly restored house, Lyn received a call to say the building was alight.
beautiful place. It’s this elemental and beautiful island that we want to share, as much as the house. The house is owned by the island community; it has meant so much to people in the past and it could mean so much to people in the future. My reaction to the fire was that there was no loss of life and the rebuilding had been resourced once so it could be resourced again - we’d had setbacks before and this was just another setback. We three are very different people. I’m a dreamer whereas David’s a ‘doer’, a practical person. Freya has a lot of holding, grounding energy; she brings a lot of love and will to what we do.
Lyn: I was living in Raasay village when the call came through. I walked up to the house at midnight to see that the fire had really taken hold. Next to me stood a man silently weeping he’d just finished hand-carving 50 beautiful new windows and was watching them reduce to ash. David: I’m retained as a firefighter and I’d been training on Skye
with the local brigade on the day of the blaze. We were awoken by Lyn calling in the middle of night; her first words were: ‘it’s through the roof ’. It took us a moment to understand what was happening. As Freya and I travelled across the water to Raasay we could see the house burning a mile away; it was 2am and the flames lit up the sky in a dramatic display. It was incredibly beautiful to watch, the building was so alive, surreal and full of power. As soon as we docked I grabbed my kit and joined the team trying to douse the flames. Lyn, Freya & David from Raasay
Lyn: Through all the challenges what kept me going is this
David: The business has survived precisely because we’re so different, so we each bring something essential to the house. Also, since Lyn started the business it’s had input from many amazing people. We’ve employed over 1,000 staff since we started and some have been really inspirational.
Freya: It took five years to rebuild the house. It was a huge
strain; our children were 3 and 10 years old at the time and it inevitably impacted our family life. Now, if David and I go on holiday we never discuss work! Now in its third incarnation Rasaay House offers 22 rooms to suit every budget - far more than the trio had originally envisioned. When Charles Kennedy opened it in 2014 he described it as a ‘truly inspirational development. So what emerged from the ashes for each of them?
‘Next to me stood a man silently weeping - he’d just finished hand-carving fifty beautiful new windows and was watching them reduce to ash’
Freya: What emerged for me was freedom. For 30 years
we only had a summer business but now we can operate all year round. We can fulfil so many more requirements for our guests. We can have 50 children having an outdoor holiday plus honeymooners plus someone on a writing retreat and with such a huge space they can all co-exist in harmony. Also the first rebuild didn’t include replacing the roof but the second rebuild did, so we now have a warm, watertight structure.
Lyn: What emerged for me was hope. People don’t like broken
things and we’ve been a broken thing for 5 years. This is now a house of possibilities and the ethos is one of love. It can be many things to many people. The Phoenix has risen from the ashes - now it just needs help to spread its wings.
David: What emerged for me was beauty. The house feels as if
it’s now leaving behind its brutal history. It has spectacular views and a calm energy that people comment on. We want people to come in search of an emotional connection with nature. The island offers a chance to see deer, dolphins, sea otters, seals and basking sharks as well as activities that test your nerve such as coasteering, abseiling and gorge walking.
Lyn: You can rediscover fun and play here too. Everyone has
a different experience and takes away a different memory, but they all retain a sense of connection. Raasay is the same size as Manhattan Island yet you’re in a wild place with only 120 people and it’s only a 4 hour journey from Gatwick airport. It’s a 2 hour flight to Inverness and 2 hour journey from there to Raasay, taking in some breathtaking views. I remember when it used to take 24 hours. Now I can leave in the morning and be in my home town of Brighton having tea with a friend by tea time!
I needed to do something because I wasn’t happy. We were hosting a Shamanic conference up here and a lady called Dawn Eagle Woman suggested the Process to me. I wasn’t keen on weekly therapy because I didn’t want to bring emotional processing back into the family on such a regular basis - an intensive week away was perfect. I’d call it a leap of desperation rather than a leap of faith - I didn’t know what else to do!
Lyn: When I finished training in Psychosynthesis in 2002, I felt that was enough personal discovery work. But I could see an immediate difference when Freya came back from the Process - she stepped into herself. She asked me to take a year’s sabbatical from work and when I got back she gently suggested that I did the Process - I haven’t looked back since. It’s taken a wee while to merge the understandings of the Process and Psychosynthesis but they live together within me. Freya: My experience of Lyn when she came back from the
Process was that she was less in her head. She stopped overthinking things and did more bodywork such as yoga.
David: I noticed Freya had changed when she came back from
the course. She was more assertive. I was very resistant to doing the Process but in the end seeing the continuing effect of both Lyn and Freya’s experiences convinced me to go myself. Now, since we’ve all done the course, we gently and slowly give each other space. I feel we planted something at Florence House, where we did the course, which is flourishing now at Raasay. The Process has been such a huge kick-start.
Freya did the Hoffman Process in 2001 and Lyn followed her example in 2004. Having seen the differences it made in their relationships, David did the Process himself in 2011. How did the course affect their work and personal relationships?
Freya: I was 33 when I did the Process and our son was two and a half. I’d not done self development before but I knew
James Wallman’s debut book Stuffocation has been published to critical acclaim. Laura Atkinson at the Sunday Times described it as ‘The Tipping Point meets Freakonomics. Fascinating, inspiring, and great fun to read.’ Jame’s wife Thiru did the Hoffman Process in 2009. She came back feeling much more confident about starting a family. James, a journalist and trend forecaster, did the Process two months later and, in 2013, when their little girl was two, the couple decided to ‘go for the dream rather than the treadmill.’ As a result of their mutual vision he has published his first book and they’re now expecting their second child.
Thiru - 2013 has been such an exciting and challenging year. Since doing the Process James and I regularly review our family vision and if one of us has a wobble between times we discuss it. At the start of 2013 we set a goal for James to go freelance and publish his first book whilst we tried for our second child. When I found out I was expecting a boy - due in March 2014 - many people thought that we’d be focused on increasing our income to fund an extension, but our priorities have changed since doing the Process. It wasn’t an easy decision for James to give up his job but once we’d imagined a future that really lit us up we knew we needed to act on it; that was an insight I’d taken away from the Process. If I hadn’t supported James I feel sure I’d have ended up married to an increasingly unhappy man. He would have accepted a different decision from me but deep down I was concerned that he’d eventually feel resentful at not following his dream. James - Thiru came back from the Process so empowered and clear. I could see how she’d grown and I wanted to be in a position to move with her. I was between jobs at the time so I decided to go. I’m so glad I did. It was a fantastic experience and since then we’ve both gone for our dreams. Writing my first book was like climbing a mountain and the view from the top is magnificent. It’s brought me such confidence and Thiru has supported me all the way. The original working title of my book Stuffocation was ‘The new lifestyles of the rich and courageous.’ It tells the stories of people who have had enough of stuff and who are living extraordinary lives as a result, like technology millionaire Graham Hill, for instance. In the end he felt stifled by all his possessions
so he dramatically downsized to a flexible and ingeniously designed apartment in New York. His is just one of many stories in the book of how some people are reacting to a society that’s becoming increasingly disillusioned with the idea that ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’. The new mantra is ‘less stuff, better stuff, more experiences’. The premise of Stuffocation is that doing things makes us happier than having stuff; a link which has now been proven. That’s not to say that possessions don’t make us happy, they can certainly be fun, they just aren’t the best place to invest your time and money for long-term happiness. As a professional trend forecaster I’ve been aware that the answer to the question: ‘How should I live?’ has fundamentally changed. I’m not anti-capitalist. I don’t think people should stop spending - simply that they should spend money on experiences rather than things. Historically 20th century materialism took us from scarcity to abundance. My grandparents for example, married in 1940 and lived in just two rooms. Communal rooms such as the bathroom were shared with other tenants. As my father grew older he was given the bedroom and my grandparents made themselves up a bed in the other room each night until the1960s when my father left home. Their experience is typical of the way abundance and expectations have changed dramatically from one generation to the next. Economically speaking, the western paradox is that if you want to have more, you need to spend more. Materialism is the value which underpins consumerism. In the past materialism made us
to h t a st p atus e b ‘The ness, st s i p gi p n a i h n ea & m iences’ r expe
happier and gave us social status. By being materialistic, people were creating abundance for their children. However we’ve since seen that materialism leads to all sorts of problems, such as creating a scarcity of resources. It’s damaging our ecosystem and lowering the quality of our air, food and water. Psychologically, people have also discovered that being materialistic brings up status anxiety because you can never keep up with the Joneses. You’re in a constant game of snakes and ladders. With each social encounter we perceive someone as above or below us, underlining where we are in the social heirachy. In terms of our mental and emotional health, mass production has lead to mass consumption which leads to mass depression - and more and more people are now waking up to this. In the 1970s 80% of people said they were materialistic - now it’s 50%. In a post-materialistic world people increasingly feel that quality of life is more important than survival needs. Technologically speaking we’re moving rapidly from real things to virtual things such as CDs to iPods and books to Kindles, so it’s become easier and easier to live with less possessions. In the 20th century the best path to happiness, status, and meaning was through stuff. But now, in the 21st century, it’s through experiences. By having fewer things, and more experiences, the planet will benefit, and you’ll be happier too. Many people are already making the shift. As a forecaster, I’ve seen the signs of this happening. So the book isn’t only a warning, a manifesto, and wishful thinking - it’s a forecast. Stuffocation is available on Amazon. Discover if you’re suffering from Stuffocation by completing the quiz at www.stuffocation.org.
There are 6 main reasons why experiences bring you more happiness than things: 1. Positive re-interpretation - A faulty product simply leaves you frustrated and disappointed, whereas you can look back on experiences that don’t go according to plan through rose-tinted glasses. Your most challenging experiences can become hilarious or inspiring embellished with hindsight and a dash of poetic licence. 2. Bonding - Talking about a new possession you’ve acquired is usually of limited interest unless the listener shares your obsession with soft furnishings or collectibles, whereas describing an experience gives the listener a chance for empathy and connection. Experiences are also often shared with others which creates a memory that you can look back on together. 3. Status - Possessions tend to invite comparison, such as who has the most powerful car or the most expensive watch, which creates a sense of separation. Experiences, on the other hand, allow you to find common ground and can bring you a sense of belonging, such as when you discover that someone else also enjoys bird-watching or extreme sports. 4. Subjectivity - Even if experiences appear better or worse at first glance, they are always subjective. A holiday in the Maldives may seem preferable to one in the Lake District, for example, but if the person in the Malidives has unpacked a mountain of unresolved problems together with their sun tan lotion whilst the other is enjoying a romantic honeymoon, their experiences won’t be reflected by their surroundings. 5. The Hedonic Treadmill - This expression describes the idea that the novelty of any new possession will eventually wear off. Experiences, on the other hand, often have a much more longterm effect. 6. Identity - Experiences contribute more to your personal development and identity than things. They become an irreplaceable part of who you are. After all, you can’t give away an experience whereas you can give up your possessions whenever you want. Interview by Nikki Wyatt
Many treatments once described as ‘alternative’ are now seen as ‘complementary’ and we’re moving towards a more integrative medical system. The NHS and even insurance companies are increasingly recognising the effectiveness of therapies such as acupuncture, EMDR and homoeopathy. With the bewildering array of approaches on offer, here’s a helpful tour of some of the most popular, contributed by Hoffman participants who are all experts in their field.
EMDR - Shawn Katz
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a powerful, evidencebased integrative treatment. It’s recommended in NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines for the treatment of PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). It can help reduce symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, images, feelings and nightmares associated with trauma. It also produces shifts in attitudes and beliefs, often resulting in a more complete, accepting and resilient perspective about the past. The Hoffman Process and EMDR are similar in that they both help you come to terms with your past and often result in you seeing your history from a different, more accepting perspective. However, the Process is not a trauma therapy. If you have unresolved traumas that you’re aware of, you’ll be advised to address these prior to the Process. Occasionally doing the Process may bring difficult past experiences into awareness, in which case some form of therapy, such as EMDR, after the course, may be a valuable way to integrate that material. Both EMDR and the Hoffman Process facilitate healing, and they can be integrated in a very complementary way. www.shawnkatz.com
Five Element Acupuncture - Ged Ferguson
Acupunture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted at specific points along energy meridians in the body. In Five Element Acupuncture these are seen as having a direct effect on five elements within the body. Each element has its corresponding season: Wood (Spring) Fire (Summer) Earth (Late Summer) Metal (Autumn) and Water (Winter). By observing the flow of each season Chinese medicine identifies correspondences between our physical bodies, behaviours, attitudes and emotions and their direct effect on our health. Each element has a corresponding emotion, which can express itself positively or negatively. The Wood element, for example, corresponds to springtime. Spring reflects new beginnings and a bright outlook towards your future. If your vision of the future is impaired and you simply cannot see a way forward, you can become either angry and frustrated or apathetic or depressed. Five Element Acupuncture helps unblock energetic obstructions which allows the wood element to manifest itself unhindered bringing clarity, vision and ‘get up and go’. Five Element Acupuncture is suitable for both adults and children and can help to balance emotions and mental outlook as well as offer effective treatment for a wide variety of physical conditions. www.gedfergusonacupuncture.com
Therapeutic Voicework - Chantal Fabrice
Voicework is part of the wider field of Sound Therapy. It allows a freedom of self-expression that supports communication and healing on every level, bringing the potential for lasting change. The voice and throat can hold all manner of blockages which are then experienced throughout the body. Sound frequencies have the ability to go to the core of an issue very quickly. Using vocal exercises, breathwork and movement, this method enables you to release layers of suppressed emotions such as anger, grief and fear. Clearing this emotional pain helps create more space for joyful emotions, health, vitality and authenticity. It is like reprogramming yourself with a new song reflecting peace, positivity and harmony. The voice is the most powerful instrument we have and we certainly made good use of that during the Process! After doing Hoffman I trained in using the voice specifically as a therapeutic tool and it’s the most powerful healing journey I have been on.
NLP - Robert Steinhouse
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) helps people by providing easy to use, tested techniques for personal change. It originated in the 1970s, studying the language patterns of two famous therapists. One was Fritz Perls the founder of Gestalt Therapy, the other was family therapist Virginia Satir. NLP created a model based on their patterns of asking questions and produced 14 key performance-enhancing and therapeutic interventions – which they then mapped onto the linguistic models of Noam Chomsky. For example there’s an NLP process called ‘Change Personal History’, which helps you accept the past by identifying the original experience that created a negative, current trigger. You then use a technique to release the pain and change the response. Another process, called Integrating Conflicting Parts, can help resolve destructive contradictions in motivation. Anger, for example, can often be an attempt at selfprotection, which when understood can then be achieved by other, gentler (but just as effective) means. I was an NLP trainer long before I did the Process, but I still felt the Hoffman Process was truly life changing. I loved the professionalism and dedication. It felt safe and visceral - something I value highly in NLP. I felt my NLP skills really helped with the Process as I was used to ‘personal change work’ – I felt like a duck taking to water. I genuinely believe that NLP and Hoffman work well together. www.nlpschool.com
by choice? It’s not all about medicine Myofascial Release - Sophie von Meister
EFT - Jacquie Campbell
The idea that trauma is an energy which needs to be moved through the body is common to both the Process and Myofascial Release. In the Process you move the energy by Cathartic Release and other physical movement whereas a Myofascial Release therapist uses a hands-on technique to allow the energy to flow once again.
It works on the principle that negative emotions cause a disruption in the body’s energy system. By working on various meridian points, any disruptions are neutralised, thereby reducing or eliminating the negative emotion. It’s as effective at treating war veterans as it is for releasing difficult childhood memories. As such, it complements the principles of the Process enabling you to have a future different to your past. www.positive-living.co.uk
Myofascial Release helps by decreasing pain, increasing movement and releasing trauma stored in the body. It’s a safe and effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create myofascial restrictions that can produce tremendous pressures on pain-sensitive body structures that don’t show up in many standard tests such as x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, and electromyography.
In Myofascial Release there’s a belief that without awareness there’s no choice. If you don’t realise that you’re making decisions based on false information you cannot make important changes to your life. Each treatment delves deeper into the layers that make up your physical, mental and spiritual self. Once you get through the restrictions, pain and beliefs which hold you back you’re able to go forward guided by more of your true self. www.sophiekdavis.com
Hypnotherapy - Kelly Buckley
The hypnotic state is a natural state that you experience every single day of your life. It’s that state of focused attention when you’re so deeply absorbed in a good book or film, that someone can call your name several times before you actually realise they are talking to you. With training and practice you can intentionally enter this state and use it to access your very own super-computer, the unconscious mind, where everything you’ve ever learned from all your past experiences is filed away. With the access to the unconscious mind that hypnotherapy achieves, we can begin to change the way you feel, think and behave. Like the Hoffman Process, hypnotherapy is based on the understanding that most of the learnings that affect your feelings, thoughts and behaviours came from when you were very young. As children, our minds are like sponges soaking in the entire environment in which we are immersed. As we get older, we may realise consciously that there are alternative ways to respond, yet we still find ourselves behaving in the way that we learned as a child. Using hypnosis, we can update those learnings to have you automatically responding in a way that better serves you in the present and future. www.kellyannebuckley.com
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) was discovered in 1980 by a clinical psychologist called Dr Roger Callaghan. Often referred to as ‘tapping’ because it involves tapping various acupressure points, EFT covers a wide range of issues from fears, addictions, cravings and phobias to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Homoeopathy - Lynda Gannon
Like all holistic medicine, homoepathy takes a broad view of the cause of illness and the way it manifests. Classical Homoeopathy sees symptoms as a manifestation of the body’s efforts to restore overall balance. As a result, homoeopaths don’t treat physical, emotional, mental or even spiritual disorders separately, but see them all as intimately connected expressions of imbalance leading to illness. When a disease threatens to overwhelm your capacity for self-healing, homoeopathy can provide support to ease symptoms, including weariness and pain. Following treatment you generally experience improved wellbeing, are more able to resist infection and have an improved sense of stability and purpose in life. Through seeking to overcome my own issues, I experienced two life changing ‘energy shifts’. The first was through the homoeopathic remedy Thuja Occidentalis (also known as the ‘tree of life’) which enabled me to stop pretending to be something I was not. The second was through Hoffman in 2003, which gave me the confidence to affirm that I was OK as I was. Its wonderful gift also provided me with the tools to direct my life in positive and fulfilling ways. The similarities between Homoeopathy and the Hoffman Process are apparent in the way both treat the root of afflictions and do not, as Paracelsus puts it, ‘try to remove winter by sweeping the snow from the door’. My own experiences and those of many patients I’ve treated who have also done the Process, confirms that the two complement each other most successfully. www.lyndagannon.com
Meet the Jacouts by Serena Gordon
On a cold, wet February afternoon I met up with the Jacouts: mother Rikki, who lives in Bath and three of her four daughters, Tiana, Lalie and Noemie, who have all done the Hoffman Process. They are strong, independent women who have found different and original ways to express their creativity. Tiana is studying acupuncture. Lalie has started the Wandering Chef, a pop-up restaurant. Noemie is an aspiring film producer. Rikki, having recently celebrated her 61st birthday, is about to tour Italy with a clown workshop. First of all, I was interested to find out how they would define their particular family role. Noemie considered herself daddy’s girl and the peacemaker who ‘made a bee-line to the person who was the most upset and tried to fix things’. Lalie, too, nominated herself daddy’s girl, but also the politician and entertainer. Tiana, who spent two years in India, claimed the role of the rebel, the troubled soul, ‘the one who got away with everything’. Rikki? A self confessed rebel clown. As a family group, they regard themselves as intense, possibly overwhelming, ‘we’re like Marmite; you either like us or hate us’. They all included Noemie’s twin sister Chloe in their conversations. Chloe hasn’t done the Process but they all feel she’s experiencing the benefits of the Process as a result of the shift in each of them, ‘Through us changing she’s changed a lot and by using some Hoffman techniques we can all move through stuff a lot quicker.’
Yet for each of them, their own personal stories were very different, so much so that Tiana laughed, ‘Gosh, Lalie, did you have the same mother as me?’ So what changes in their relationships did these insights bring about? Rikki says that ‘everything now just seems to flow with ease. Big knocks are just part of life, not personal. Now I can speak my truth and say when I’m feeling vulnerable. I loved my mother and spent more time with her before she died and she was difficult! I know her attitude was a defense mechanism and not directed at me. My kids are my greatest teachers. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I’m wiser. I’ve got a wonderful relationship with my daughters and I’ve dropped any neediness to be part of their lives.’
‘My kids are my I asked them if they had had any special insights saw a huge change in how she reacts to about their parents on the Process? greatest teachers. Noemie her father. ‘I’m now able to enjoy him for being They all agreed that it was a powerful moment Just because I’m himself. Hoffman allowed me to let go of an for all of them to see their mother and father as expectation of wishing he would change and now young children. Lalie saw that ‘every adult has had older doesn’t I’m able to just be in the present with him, which a childhood that affects them just as deeply as we feel ours has affected us’. For Noemie it was the mean I’m wiser.’ is a huge gift. Why condemn yourself and your family to a lifetime of issues when, for the small first chance to put herself ‘in their shoes’ and price of the discomfort of working through these, you and your understand how difficult it must have been for them. For Rikki, family can lead an infinitely more happy and interesting life?’ whose own mother is no longer alive, there was an additional generational perspective. ‘Remembering my mother with my Tiana also found her relationship with her father greatly girls, how she physically held them in a way she didn’t with me, improved, as well as the rest of the family. ‘We have always been made me realise how my vision of her was clouded by the a clan, but we now listen to each other. We give each other the negative.’ Tiana summed it up brilliantly, ‘In the end, the people time to process things. The arguments never last long and they who screw you up in the first place are the same people who usually end in us laughing. Being less attached to our egos make help you get out of it’. for some genuinely hilarious moments of insight. I also now live with Lalie, the bane of my childhood, and now my best friend. We’ve had one disagreement since we moved in and it was over cleaning up!’ Lalie agrees that family conflicts are resolved more easily and often with laughter. ‘We “Hoffman” the issue and more often than not it’s remedied far faster. Now we’re partners in building each other up and creating an emotional dynasty!’
The family dynamics of a dynamic family So, what about relationships outside this charmed circle of intelligent, vibrant women? Rikki has found that she is able to take responsibility for her actions and stop playing victim to her ex-husband. Noemie has noticed that she doesn’t take everything people say to her as a personal slight, ‘I’m much less desperate to please and learnt to validate myself, which has really changed my life.’
John Campbell, Process Mind Coach and author of The Secret of Intimate Relationships, enrolled on the Process 14 years ago. Since then four of his children have all done Hoffman. Recently he celebrated his 65th birthday.
Lalie’s still working on some relationship issues, ‘I am still hit and miss in my choice of gentleman suitors.’ Tip of the day
Tiana says, ‘The Hoffman Process has blown open the doors to connecting and understanding people and what drives them. It has made me much more patient. I’ve become such a believer that everyone is fundamentally good, and trying their best. They just need a little sympathy and empathy. The phrase “Oh God, I think I’m turning into my mother” is something I hear all the time. What I think the Process can teach people is that you don’t necessarily have to become your mother. If you are in full control of yourself, you can have more of an opt in/opt out attitude to inheriting things from your ancestors. That attitude would create a world of present and self-possessed individuals. What a world that would be!’ www.theemptyspace.org www.thewanderingchef.co.uk
‘If we don’t work it out, we will pass it on’
‘I found the Process in 2000 and it was my dream that, eventually, all my amazing children would also find their way to this work as well. Considering they are six in number, one might think that would be a big ask! However, in the five years following my Process each one of the four who were old enough, slowly but surely came to the Process and the two youngest who are now 20 and 18 are already asking “Dad when can I go on that Hoffman Process?” They gained a lot by attending the Teenager’s Workshop which Hoffman also run. I am convinced that us all doing this work is partly the reason we have a fantastic, open relationship with each other and it is a source of immense joy for me to watch them parenting my grand children in a far healthier way than they were parented by me. My parents had passed away 21 and 27 years before I did my Process and despite this, the peace and equality which I found for them during my Process week has been the major factor in my not constantly projecting my own childhood hurts onto my kids – and when I catch myself doing it, at least I can have compassion and forgiveness for us all and quickly come back to peace with them. Being a parent and having done this work has shown me that, without exception “if we don’t work it out we will pass it on” to the detriment of all concerned. I am thankful every day for the part the Hoffman Process has played in my family’s life.’
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Workplace Increasingly, law firms are becoming more aware of the need to improve the wellbeing of their employees. Liz Dawes talks about some techniques that can help and shares her journey from solicitor to mindfulness coach. Another Sunday morning and I’m sitting at my desk in a London law office. With no phones ringing, I thought that I could get much more done and achieve my targets. But the reality was that I just didn’t really want to be there.
Whilst these are useful traits in the workplace and serve lawyers well, being unable to disconnect from them can lead to serious health issues and burn out.
I used to put in this extra work because I thought that my solicitor colleagues were smarter than me and secretly I worried that I couldn’t live up to their perceived expectations. I often felt a fraud and my patterns of over-analysis and low self-esteem affected my productivity.
There are many techniques available to improve workplace wellbeing and two that have helped me are;
At home, my stress and anxiety would continue as I frequently over-analysed my day, wishing I’d done certain things differently, hoping that an email I’d sent wouldn’t be misinterpreted. Unbeknown to the firms I had worked for, I had suffered from self-doubt since embarking upon my legal career in 2001. A couple of years ago, I acted upon a long held desire to leave my job as a solicitor. I eventually moved to East Sussex and soon after in September 2013, I was intrigued to read an article in the Law Society Gazette about wellbeing in UK law firms. The article reported that a number of law firms had begun to recognise the problems associated with stress and were implementing measures to promote wellbeing in the workplace. It was a long time coming, but it was finally being addressed. I reflected back on my time in the London law offices and wondered what it was that had caused me to feel stressed, anxious and not good enough. Were these feelings common to any other lawyers and if so why? It transpired that many other lawyers, including myself, have a propensity towards certain common characteristics, including: Perfectionism: Essential for drafting agreements, writing advice and recording file notes. In an increasingly litigious society, this quality of perfectionism is an attribute. Scepticism: Again a very useful characteristic for legal work where much of the focus is on problems and assuming the worst. Over-analysis: Seeing a legal problem from many different angles and considering the many potential outcomes is essential. Being in demand: Lawyers love repeat business from clients. It is a seal of approval which reinforces self worth and of course helps in meeting targets!
So what can help?
1. Enhanced emotional intelligence ‘EI’ 2. Awareness of negative transference EI is the ability to understand your emotions and realise how they are affecting you and the people around you. In the workplace, this leads to better relationships, less burn out and greater personal success. According to Daniel Goleman, author of best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence (1995, Bantam Books), you develop your EI by increasing your social awareness, gaining better self-control, engaging in more effective communication and building greater self awareness. Enhanced EI is a common outcome of the Hoffman Process and a few of the 200 lawyers who have done Hoffman in recent years share their experiences (see opposite). Personally, the Process helped me to develop a greater understanding of my behavioural patterns, including perfectionism and over-analysis. With this increased self awareness, I now see a weak point as an opportunity for growth, instead of giving myself a hard time about it and not feeling good enough. I also became aware of negative transference on the Process. This occurs when you have an automatic emotional reaction to someone. It is then followed by a feeling or belief that you know what that person is thinking or intending and you react to them with the belief that you know everything about them. Why? Because unconsciously you perceive this person as if they are a significant figure from your childhood and you revert to ‘being a child’ in the way you react. Have you ever felt that your boss is just like your father or your mother?
Wellbeing Negative transference in the workplace can be damaging in a number of ways. It can lead to interpersonal conflict and low self esteem. As a manager or leader it’s helpful to recognise that there may be occasions when team members are in negative transference with you. It may be affecting their ability to communicate with you effectively. As for me, not long after making the leap from the legal profession, I enrolled onto a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and a business idea presented itself to me. Now, through my company MindYou™, my colleagues and I work with people from a wide range of sectors to manage stress in the workplace through mindfulness practice, developing emotional intelligence and recognising negative transference.
Are you in Negative Transference? Do you...
• become fearful, meek or childlike when asking your boss a question?
• harbour resentment because you are answerable to your colleague?
• try too hard to impress your boss? These are some typical examples of negative transference in the workplace. To consider if you’re in negative transference, ask yourself these questions. 1. Am I experiencing a strong emotional reaction to someone? 2. Can I put a name to the feeling e.g. anger, frustration, withdrawal, sadness? 3. With which significant person from my past did I regularly experience this feeling? By working though these prompts, you will start to become more aware of how much of your reaction is based in the present and how much is rooted in past associations. When you stop bringing your parent into the workplace, it can be a very liberating experience!
What lawyers are saying about emotional intelligence and negative transference... Latifa Yousuf is a lawyer practising in Bahrain. With increased social awareness, Latifa is more inclined to evaluate a situation and acknowledge any challenges a struggling colleague may be facing rather than becoming disgruntled by her colleague’s underperformance. Melford Deane is the in-house legal advisor at the Southbank Centre. Since doing Hoffman he has learned to trust his intuition more. He is a better listener and more patient, all of which have contributed to a more effective way of communicating. His clarity of thought has been greatly enhanced by the Process and he brings a sense of fun to his work. Robert Allan was on the brink of retirement after nearly 50 years of senior partner level practice when he did the Process in 2011. He enjoyed a very successful career as a lawyer and was well known for representing celebrities and blue chip organisations. He admits that always being in demand during his career was a great hit to his ego, but when he did Hoffman, he realised that he had come to rely too heavily on his work and his relationship to provide him with emotional support and an identity. Hoffman helped him heal some of his core issues and in turn brought about a newfound independence from the external supports that he thought he couldn’t live without. Jan Mugerwa is senior partner at Olephant Solicitors. Jan recalls instances when he felt uncomfortable with clients which in turn were affecting his working relationships. Having done Hoffman he realised that he was experiencing ‘negative transference’ with some of his clients. ‘It’s awful feeling uncomfortable and not knowing why. But if you are conscious of why you are feeling challenged, you can change. Hoffman gives you the tools and ability to change which in turn transforms relationships with yourself and others.’ NP is a former partner at a City law firm. Post Hoffman, he is ‘more inclined to look at issues from other people’s point of view and less likely to make assumptions about their motives or behaviour.’ Visit Liz’s website: www.mindyou.co.uk
Freedom from Conflict
An interview with Sammy Leslie by Nikki Wyatt
Sammy Leslie spent her childhood growing up in the beautiful but run-down Castle Leslie in Ireland. It was destined to be unusual. Her father, Desmond Leslie, was an eccentric Irish aristocrat. His book The Flying Saucers Have Landed underpinned the New Age movement and his personal life was equally unconventional. In her twenties Sammy began to turn around the now prosperous Castle Leslie estate in Glaslough, Monaghan where she still lives today. However her childhood, set against the turbulent backdrop of Irish history, left her with baggage that later led to depression.
In 2009 I reached a tipping point. I felt overwhelmed with work and imprisoned by my past. I’d divorced 5 years earlier and work had become my life. I was concerned that I was heading back into depression. Encouraged by friends, I signed up for the Process in Ireland. I’m so glad that I did, because it was easier to do it with others who had that culture in common. An essential part of unravelling my past was understanding how I had embodied external and internal conflicts. I grew up in a culture where women weren’t seen as equal, especially in rural Ireland, and this had a real impact on relationships.
We were given the message that women were over-emotional unstable creatures and that there was no place for emotions at work. In Ireland as late as 1973 a woman working in the Civil Service who got married would have to leave work. It was simply assumed that a wife’s role was in the home and if a woman voiced an opinion it was called nagging. This external view clashed with my family culture where my unconventional father valued each person for who they were. I found that the Irish mentality liked labels such as ‘Irish Catholic’ or ‘English Protestant.’ There were many times as a child that I didn’t want to mention my surname because I knew I’d be put in a box though which one that was depended on their viewpoint. In addition to this I grew up during the Troubles. Monaghan is a border county, so whilst being part of the province of Ulster, it’s not part of Northern Ireland. The sectarian violence started when I was only 2 years old; neighbours were shot, burned out or involved in bombings. In most conflicts you’re clear which side people are on but during the Troubles lines
were blurred, even within families. It meant I grew up walking on eggshells, afraid of saying the wrong thing and either being punished for it or seeing someone else suffer as a result. I developed a pattern of adapting myself to each situation and of pleasing others to gain approval. Somewhere along the way that meant I lost a sense of who I really was. I also have dyslexia which was undiagnosed until I was 24, and that didn’t help me to feel that I fitted in. Looking back, on the plus side this meant that I became very good at reading people and I developed a strong intuition. It has also meant that being someone of integrity, who is reliable, trustworthy and honest became hugely important to me.
One of the most powerful aspects of the Process was being able to switch off from the outside world and immerse myself in the journey of self-discovery - not something you can do in an hour’s therapy session. The first insight I gained was to understand that behaviour patterns are learned and therefore within my power to change. I also loved the way that the Process separates intellect and emotions and asked me to give each a voice, because I used to avoid my emotions by going into my head. I’ve definitely become more articulate and open.
‘I grew up in a culture where women weren’t seen as equal’
I realise now that my parents’ generation had little emotional vocabulary but Hoffman gave me a new way to describe how I felt. When they say ‘How are you?’ on the Process, ‘Fine or Grand’ is not an option! It gave me a depth of awareness that allowed me to find my true identity. It was hugely liberating and energising; I left feeling on top of the world, finally comfortable in my own skin.
In December 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer which I’ve now recovered from. My oncologist says that people with cancer divide into two camps. There are those who take it personally, because at some deep level they have never felt good enough. Then there are others who accept the diagnosis but don’t take it personally; they feel they can fight and overcome it.
I also loved the subtlety of the spiritual side of the Process – it was gorgeous. There’s a school of thought in Ireland that any spirituality outside the Catholic church is ‘the devil’s work.’ Because I’d sometimes express my father’s unconventional spiritual views as a child, I would regularly be thrown out of class at school for being disruptive. The Process helped me find peace with the question of religion and spirituality and now I always tap into my inner guidance for advice and direction.
Before I did the Process I would have fallen into the first category but, because I’d done it before my diagnosis, I knew I didn’t deserve punishment, I just saw it as one of those things that happens and carried on as normally as I could, continuing to work through my treatment.
Because my relationship with myself changed, so did my relationship with those around me. Before the Process I had a pattern of wanting to fix people but now, although I still offer support, I expect them to meet me half way. I understand that sometimes people need to fall apart so they can find out what’s inside. I also used to beat myself up regularly but I don’t do that any more – in fact I give myself treats every day and can receive love and appreciation much more easily. The tendency to depression has gone. If that pattern of negative thinking starts up I notice it and sit down and talk to myself until I feel better. Now I know I’m worth it. I couldn’t have said that before the Process – it would have felt false.
The Process has continued to play an important role in my life. My sister Antonia did the Process a year after me, in Sept 2010 which has really deepened and strengthened our relationship. I’ve done two Reconnection Days since the Process which have reminded me of the techniques and insights I’ve learned and I’m really looking forward to doing a Q2 3-day intensive in Ireland this year, as I want to go deeper than I can in one day to deal with some current life issues and some patterns which have surfaced since the Process. Nestled on 1,000 acres of undulating Irish countryside, dotted with ancient woodlands and glittering lakes,Castle Leslie has an Organic Spa and Equestrian Centre, as well as being a wonderfully original place to stay or stage events. You can read more about Sammy’s unusual upbringing on RTÉ’s Four Live TV Channel - ‘Desmond Leslie’ Real Life Stories. www.rte.ie Visit: www.castleleslie.com
Love... By Sabine Young MA, Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert
We live in a love dependent society and the need for love is hard wired in all of us. From birth, irrespective of gender, our cultural, ethnic or religious background, we are exposed to receiving love or not receiving love. Whether we have the most loving or abusive upbringing makes little difference, because the need for love is always there, just as we need air, food and water to survive. And with some of us, in adulthood, that need for love turns into an insatiable craving and compulsion for more and more love. So how and why can this become an addiction to love? How would you know if you are love dependent? How would you recognise it? How can you overcome the consequences and the effect of love addiction and learn to create and build healthy loving relationships?
Love addiction is, like any other addiction, defined by selfdestructive compulsive behaviour and chemical dependency. The love addict gets a dopamine and adrenaline ‘high’ from their compulsion to interact with the object of their obsession (the other person). This compulsive attachment to another person allows the love addict to experience feeling special and validated - acting out the fantasy that they are most significant in their relationship with the other person. And in so doing, this codependent behaviour minimises and masks the love addict’s feelings of shame and low self-worth, and in the words of Pia Mellody, author of Facing Love Addiction, ‘Not all codependents are love addicts, but all love addicts are codependent.’ For codependents and love addicts alike, the genesis of their addiction is in early childhood trauma resulting from (often forgotten) emotional and/or physical experiences of neglect and abandonment (such as physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse, separation, domination, excessive control, high expectation/achievement pressure), usually from the opposite sex parent (and sometimes from the same sex parent or from both parents). This wounding causes adult attachment issues, whereby love addicts then look for the missing connection from their childhood, where the bonding did not occur or was abruptly broken – always seeking that idealised connectivity with the
target of their love - it is insatiable, no person can ever fill the love addict’s emotional hole within, no person can be intimate enough to satisfy the love addict’s craving for love. Yet the love addict fears intimacy, because love addiction is an unconscious underlying condition of identification with their being unloveable, worthless, rejected and abandoned. The love addict will continually create relationships which support this unconscious desire for rejection and the love addict’s (denied self) personality will always be drawn to connecting with an avoidant/unavailable person, putting the face of fantasy over the face of someone who comes into their life. This can be a romantic, emotional or sexual relationship with their idealised partner or it may be projected onto another person, who becomes the idealised love object. The idealised one is inevitably chosen because they are an avoider (who is equally incapable of being intimate) and together they are drawn into the endless dance of pursuer/avoider. Other more extreme symptoms of this addiction can be love and/or sexual anorexia (whereby the love addict withdraws from engaging in relationships, love and/or sex), psychotic breakdowns and suicidal/homicidal thoughts (death is the only way out). And so the cycle of disconnected relationships continues until the time of realisation that this behaviour is not benefitting anybody, least of all the love addict.
Are you a love addict? Sabine Young MA is a psychotherapist and relationship expert specialising in codependency and addiction recovery. She did the Process in 1999 and since then has been an advisor and supervising therapist for the UK Hoffman team. She has designed this series of questions to indicate traits and symptoms of love addiction. Answer the questions spontaneously and be really honest with yourself - it is not significant how many you identify with, it is the awareness of how much your life may be impacted by love addiction which is important. This could be your first step towards recovery.
o Do you fall in love with partners who will o Do you feel that you could not survive
not love you in return?
o Do you fall in love, get crushes on, or
obsess about someone who is unavailable?
o Do you rush into love relationships without
really getting to know your partner?
ending a love relationship, even when you know that the relationship is bad for you?
o Do you believe that the chemistry of love is
only made up of intense passion and desire?
o Do you only see what you want to see in
get stuck in relationships that don’t seem to ever change or go anywhere?
relationships in place of reality?
are not in a relationship?
yet are terrified of the emotional cost?
will find someone better than you or they will eventually abandon you?
o Do you
a partner and turn a blind eye to anything bad about them?
Do you have difficulties in agreeing or o Do you substitute fantasies in your o maintaining boundaries with your partner? Do you put your partner’s needs and wants o Do you feel lonely and unhappy when you o before your own? Do you idealise your partner and place them o Do you crave deep intimacy in your relationship, o on a pedestal? Do you find that you give much more of o Do you fear that if you love someone, they o yourself than you receive from your partner?
o Do you always think that your partner’s
opinions are more valid and important than your own?
o Do you need constant validation and
approval from your partner in order to feel secure and worthy?
o Do you either blame yourself for ALL the
problems in your relationship, or do you blame your partner for ALL the problems?
o Do you try to control your partner? o Do you use sex, or do you have inappropriate
sexual relationships in order to feel emotionally connected and loved?
o Do you only feel really alive, worthy and
valuable when you are in love with someone?
o Do you find that you compromise your own values in order to maintain your love relationship?
See over the page for Love Addiction Recovery Tips
Love Addiction Recovery Tips Recovery begins with recognising that you are a love addict and that you have the desire and determination to break free from your addiction, by choosing to learn to create healthy loving relationships and most importantly, by choosing to learn to love yourself.
Engage in therapy with a specialist in love addiction and attend a 12 step recovery fellowship such as SLAA (Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous) - the insights gained can provide the foundation and support to develop a new way to love and be loved and create healthy and nurturing relationships.
Also accepting that the underlying condition of codependency has to be addressed together with any other parallel addictions (such as sex, alcoholism, narcotics, over/under eating, gambling, shopping etc).
Commitment to recovery from love addiction is the key to a new beginning.
Set up your rules for love sobriety and put in place appropriate behavioural boundaries. Begin by abstaining from any love intimacy, romance and sex. As you start recovery, you will inevitably experience withdrawal symptoms setting in from the pain of facing reality, and yet the understanding of the condition and your determination to recover is the very motivation needed to go through this difficult phase.
You can contact Sabine on 07710 283 832 or via her website at: www.relationshiptherapylondon.co.uk
There are some ideal methodologies which may significantly help in your love addiction recovery – The Hoffman Process and Imago Relationship Therapy are an excellent means of identifying the childhood wounding and your self-destructive behaviours.
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Hyde Interview by Nikki Wyatt
Hoffman graduate Darren Yates is a Sushi chef and restaurateur specialising in Japanese food. Brought up in Bolton he struggled for much of his life with addictions. He was in and out of rehab for years and ended up sleeping rough on the streets. ‘As a boy I felt I lived in my own world. I had a strong sense of not belonging, not feeling connected to anyone. My addictions began with food. By the time I was 11 years old I was eleven and a half stone and was already smoking. Before my twelfth birthday I was drinking, taking magic mushrooms and had moved on to smoking weed. I skipped school a lot and always got the message that I was thick, although I had an aptitude for languages. I had a vivid memory when I was thirteen, waiting for my first date who stood me up. I told myself: “You see you’re fat and ugly, of course she doesn’t want you.” I moved on to stronger drugs – feeling they, at least, wouldn’t let me down. When I left school I went to work in the family retail business where you had to be tough to be successful. I was locked in a competitive relationship with my brother and had a strong pattern of peoplepleasing. I worked hard because I wanted a pat on the head but it never came. I married at 21 and had three boys by the time I was 24. In my twenties I also got into the club scene in Manchester and by then my drug use had escalated until I finally progressed to heroin. I was living a Jekyll and Hyde life where I was a successful businessman by day and using by night – like so many addicts, I really thought I could control it. Finally, my father sat me down and got the truth out of me and we agreed I’d go to the Priory to kick the habit. It was actually such a relief to have it out in the open. In the following years I went back to the Priory on two more occasions, each time coming off heroin and then going back on it again. Luckily my family took care of my finances, since I was certainly not taking responsibility. Over the years I must have spent a fortune on drugs. After my third time at the Priory I started using again and that dealt the death blow to my marriage. I wasn’t allowed to see my children and I turned to using needles, which I hadn’t before. I began stealing from my parents who understandably threw me out, so I lived on the streets in Bolton, sleeping in doorways and often being beaten up. This tough love stance from my parents was actually the best thing that happened to me. My addiction had put a tremendous strain on their relationship and had driven my mother close to a breakdown. One day in 2001 when I went to their house to be given some food, I went down on my knees and begged my father for help. He took me to a place called Paypoint – a last chance saloon for drug addicts in Blackpool where they have a very challenging programme. It was just what I needed and since then I haven’t touched drugs again. I began a 12 step programme and stayed in Blackpool for 12 months. I did voluntary work helping other addicts and it was during this time that I met someone and fell in love again. I was allowed to see my sons and I began rebuilding our relationship. Together with my new partner we built up a very successful Japanese restaurant chain called “Japan”.
Successful? Something was still missing. There was a great deal of love and passion in this new relationship but looking back with my post Process awareness I can see I was running family patterns of co-dependency, overworking and with a need to be superman and fix everybody, but at the time I was oblivious to it. I just knew that I wasn’t happy and, despite the endless therapy I’d been through, I frequently thought about ending it all. When this relationship ended too, I knew I had to do something different, so I enrolled on the Hoffman Process. The Process was a case of right place, right time. I was in a mid life crisis which I realised later was actually a spiritual awakening. I arrived at the Process in tears of grief and left in tears of joy. From a 12 step perspective the Process developed the 11th step of “conscious contact” and it gave me new pathways into my real self. It took me beyond addiction and into connection. I realised that, far from being stupid, ugly or unwanted, I’m actually a deeply romantic, compassionate and loving man. Since the Process I can delegate more easily and I’m more courteous. I no longer micro-manage and I feel that I love myself enough to set myself free of this endless need to control. Now I see my parents more as people with patterns. I can be a real father to my sons without needing to be their friend, so I set better boundaries and enforce rules with them. I respect and value myself more. What I’ve got now isn’t something you can buy or put a price on – if the Process was £10,000 it would still be worth it. It’s given meaning to my life and given me back myself. My relationship with my parents is so much better. When my mother saw me after the Process she said she could see that I’d changed just from the way I was now holding myself, walking straight and confidently up the path to their house. The long trip I’ve just been on to the Middle East, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia and French Polynesia was booked before I went on the Process. At the time I intended to “do a runner” and not come back. However, despite being offered a job in Bora Bora, I decided to return and talk things through with people in a more mature way, rather than repeat my old pattern which was to cut and run. The trip was an incredible experience and it helped me realise how much I’d changed – nothing impacts on me in the same way any more. I’ve never spent so much time on my own and I’ve loved it. It’s been challenging but wonderful at the same time. I’ve trekked through rainforests and spent the night alone in the desert. I had to push through the fear of being alone until I felt a deep universal connection that gave me the faith that everything will work out. I’m back, rebuilding my life and relationships with new maturity and I’m looking forward to a bright future.’ 34
An Emotional Reboot
Interview with Sam Obernik by Nikki Wyatt
Singer songwriter Sam Obernik had a global dance smash with the song ‘It Just Won’t Do’ with Tim Deluxe which launched her career as an in-demand vocalist. Despite her creative success, her adoption as a baby created issues that were hard to move on from. ‘I was always aware that I was adopted at birth and I grew up with a sense common to so many adopted children of ‘I don’t belong’. I was also an only child until 14 when my parents adopted a baby boy. Shortly after I spent a time away on a language exchange when I taught myself to play the guitar and my desire to become a musician was born. On my return I began busking and with the guidance of a manager started to develop my career as a singer-songwriter. Over the years that followed I travelled all over the world and had a son myself. After his birth I felt a great need to find my birth mother so I contacted Norcap and other agencies. It was no easy task and although I eventually managed to correspond with a member of my birth family, I never knew if my letters were passed on to my birth mother or not - certainly she didn’t get in touch. In 2008, when a family conflict surfaced I decided to go into one to one therapy. There I realised that family issues were eating into my self-confidence and my sense of purpose. Finally a series of difficult events brought things to a head: my son was reaching the point where he was ready to leave home, I had a falling out with a close friend and this was topped off by my birthday which is always a sensitive time. I always feel that my birth mother will be thinking of me on that day, which triggers a lot of emotions. My GP offered me anti-depressants which I didn’t want to take, then a friend of mine who had recently done the Hoffman Process, mentioned that it could be very useful for adoption issues. I rang the Hoffman office and managed to get a cancellation so I was able to get onto a course just a few weeks later. I’m a great procrastinator so the only way to get myself there was to do it relatively quickly. I was scared but I felt that I needed to take a
Visit Sam’s website for her concert dates
leap of faith and trust that I’d be caught. Before doing the Process I felt that I was pretty self-aware but once I got there I realised how much my behaviour and my patterns of emotional reaction had created this outer façade that people thought of as me - but inside it was quite a different story. Outwardly I always looked like I was coping, but inside I was struggling. On the Process you have to look at your parents’ patterns and how you’ve reacted to them; whether you’ve copied them or rebelled against them or set people up around you to re-create them in your life. I found the work with my mother’s patterns particularly challenging. I connected straight away with a newborn part of me that felt very isolated, shocked and helpless but my Hoffman teacher was very supportive. The part of the course which asks you to connect with your mother and her childhood was doubly hard for me as I had to do it for my adoptive and birth parents but looking back that was also the turning point. In the past I’d tried to accept my childhood and adoption as a matter of fact, but it always seemed to get in the way. Whereas the Process takes you on a journey that is meticulously planned, moving seamlessly from acceptance into compassion. I was finally able to look at my mother through the eyes of acceptance and compassion and I was also able to find a way forward for myself. Compassion is a key that I’ve taken into my daily life since the Process. I’ve always felt able to discuss things with my father but now it’s opened up a new way of connecting with him. I also find that I deal with conflict differently and more effectively. Learning more about causes and effects of conflict and how I can manage it in my own life, left me stuck with understanding how I could extend that to other people in my life. I recently completed a course to become an accredited mediator in conflict resolution. It was helpful to be able to draw on the knowledge Hoffman had given me. The greatest gift of the Process is awareness. It’s a tool I can’t switch off. It means that I’m less caught up in emotion and I’m more able to consider other people’s point of view. In the past I would have just reacted, but now I ask myself why I’m reacting in a certain way and how this will affect the other person and what consequences it will have for me. During therapy my key issues were sadness and feeling unsupported, so doing the Process in a group and sharing accommodation was very challenging. It made me aware of how important it was to be witnessed and to appreciate the give and take of a group and the effect we have on others.
‘Rather like a snow globe, the Process shook everything up and now the flakes slowly settle around me.’
One of my patterns was being unable to ask for help but I learned this in the group. There was also a lot of fun on the Process - particularly towards the end. The collective contagious laughter was a wonderful way to decompress after the earlier drama - it reset the emotional button and served as a reminder to take myself less seriously and to be more sociable. The Process wasn’t a magic wand, nor was it an easy journey, but it has certainly been worthwhile. The more time passes, the more I understand that the small lessons have the most impact. Rather like a snow globe, it shook everything up and now the flakes slowly settle around me. I also feel fortunate to be a creative professional, thereby intrinsically understanding that new ideas need time to become reality. I have the luxury of having ‘contemplation time’ already built into my work process, and therefore more trust in whatever transpires. I’ve needed patience and the change has been little by little. From the start I’d felt a sense of frustration which stuck with me throughout the Process and post Process for a time. Even with the acceptance and compassion exercises, and using various Hoffman tools, the fact is, that as much as I would sometimes like to, I had to accept that I cannot change anyone. I can only keep moving forward with my new understandings, and hope that the influence of my new behaviours on others may allow for a freer life. Walking into the Process is like walking into a Harry Potter film. Everything is packed away but then it starts to fly off the shelves and demand your attention. Since I left the Process I’ve spent time doing emotional and physical housekeeping. I’ve been chucking out stuff I never thought I could let go of and filing away other things in a new way. Before the course I could never have let go of half my past clutter - in more ways than one. Perhaps because what the Process has given me above all, is faith in the future.’
Shadows of the past
Interview with Anke Green by Nikki Wyatt
Many of us need to unpack our emotional baggage as part of maturing. However, there’s increasing awareness that we may not only be the sum of childhood conditioning, we can also be influenced by unresolved events which go back generations. Anke’s story shows how historical events influence the present and how Hoffman helped her find a way of coming to terms with unhealed ancestral grief.
Anke was born and brought up in Germany by parents both traumatised by war. Unable to deal with the atrocities they witnessed and the tremendous losses they experienced, Anke’s artist father had violent outbursts and turned to drink, whilst her mother suffered severe depression and eventually ended her own life when Anke was in her 20s. ‘By the time I reached my early teens I was trying drugs and eventually I was taken into care in a home run by Franciscan nuns. The humiliation and abuse I was subjected to is something I largely blanked out but recently people in Germany have been talking about similar experiences. In 2012 I revisited the home with my second husband Michael (pictured above) to find they had erected a monument to acknowledge and apologise for the way they’d treated vulnerable adolescent girls. After I’d run away from the home several times, I was placed in an experimental anti-authoritarian commune, but instead of the love I’d been hoping to find, I ended up on heroin. Aged 15, after a profound spiritual experience, I joined a Fundamentalist Pentecostal church. I was told I’d been born again and if I submitted myself to Christ and the church everything would be fine. At 19 I went to live in another Evangelical community in Spain. Whilst there, I married and had a son. When I was pregnant with our second son we moved to the UK. Following the tragic deaths of my mother and brother I abandoned my faith, and later divorced. In 1995 I started a degree in translating and interpreting which was very empowering, as my early education had been so truncated. My third son Paul was born just before I began the course and, although it wasn’t easy to study with a new baby, I was thrilled when I graduated and began work as an interpreter and translator. In 2000 however, tragedy struck again when Paul drowned aged 5. The grief overwhelmed me. I could no longer ‘put a brave face on it’, so I contacted a bereaved parents, support group and started trauma therapy. For the first time I heard that it was fine to feel my feelings; that there was no ‘right way’ to grieve and no one can tell you how long you can grieve for. I also made good friends in the group and saw how healing it is to share. At first I worked through my immediate loss, but over the years that followed I also grieved the loss of my mother and brother, and became aware of unhealed ancestral grief. My childhood pain surfaced and I felt there would never be an end to it. Just when I thought that I was too screwed up to be helped, I kept coming across articles about Hoffman. Looking back, I had a naive expectation that the Process would finally sort me. I did it in Germany and found it really challenging. 37
I saw how my experiences had led me to believe there was something fundamentally wrong with me. The course wasn’t a magic wand but I connected with my rejected child and teenager. I stopped judging myself for thoughts and feelings which I’d previously considered unacceptable or wrong. I emerged from the Process with a clear vision of what I wanted to live for and a deep yearning to connect with the people closest to me. Rather than continuing to run away or trying to reinvent myself, I got in touch with who I really am. I’m now able to feel more gentleness and compassion for myself. The Process also gave me back a connection to my spirit that’s been very sustaining. What I like most about Hoffman is that it leaves room for an individual’s journey. There’s no ‘right way’ to do it. It encompasses wisdom from many sources so you can take what you need. Two years after the Process I did the Hoffman Q2, a 3-day follow-up course. I didn’t want to discuss my son’s death, as I thought people might feel overwhelmed, but a Hoffman teacher encouraged me to talk about it and the group were actually very moved. It became a magical moment. I returned home much more energised. I started reading books by Hoffman graduate Debbie Ford about investigating our shadow and I saw that blocking off the pain of the past had also blocked off the gifts it had for me. I’m writing a book about my experiences - When I Was Coming Back - and I can feel joy and creativity coming into my life. In 2011 I married Michael and although we met in the UK, Michael had lived in Germany for 30 years. He had a lot of insight into my ‘German-ness’ and played a crucial part in encouraging me to seek therapy and heal my past. When I first considered the Process I felt I was too old, it was too late and I had too much baggage. I was scared that if I investigated the past the pain would never end. I realise now that I needed to know I was worth it. In 2012, at the annual meeting of the VEH (Verein Ehemaliger Heimkinder), I interpreted for Jim Goddard who’s the chair of the UK Care Leavers Organisation. They support adults who were in the care system. The German government has now agreed to pay compensation for the suffering inflicted by the Franciscan nuns’ care home. I invested mine in a retreat to Maui, as a symbolic gesture of turning the abuse and humiliation into its opposite - an affirming, joyful, creative experience.’
‘We don’t change our past, but we can make different choices for our future.’
Moving forward with a loving connection... In 2013 Anke brought her family together to commemorate what would have been her son Paul’s 18th birthday. She was very touched when three brothers, who used to be Paul’s playmates, were also keen to join them in remembrance. ‘Even though not everyone understood my reasons, they came out of love to support me. Many were apprehensive but the facilitator Buz, who is also a healer and hospice chaplain, helped it feel normal - as indeed it is in many cultures - to remember those who’ve passed at key moments. For me the most moving aspect was to see the young people bravely expressing their grief. My niece, aged 15, was unable to speak but started sobbing, then wanted to run out of the room in embarassment. I told her that crying was nothing to be ashamed of. She sobbed in my arms for what seemed a long time and then returned to her seat smiling. This freed up the others to be even more genuine about their feelings and it also healed my own lifelong pattern of leaving when emotions overwhelmed me. Paul’s friends all thanked me for the chance to talk about what happened when they were so young. I mentioned that I used to see a robin on Paul’s birthdays and the anniversary of his death, then one of them laughed and said when they used to dress up
as Superman and Batman, Paul always wanted to be Robin! My ex-husband and I shared memories about our time together which our sons found very moving, as they were able to witness how much we’d meant to each other. Together we created a safe space where tears could flow and it ended with a sense of tremendous love and connection, not just to Paul but also to each other.’ Anke has had several short stories published and is just finishing writing a fairy tale about a robin. It deals with the themes of war, transgenerational trauma, vulnerability and authenticity in a way that’s accessible and universal, as well as ultimately uplifting. References: Compassionate Friends is an organisation which helps those with children who have died: www.tcf.org.uk Article in The Independent, entitiled ‘Germany admits enslaving and abusing a generation of children’ was published in February 2014. www.independent.co.uk More information: www.veh-ev.eu VEHeV (German Association of Former Care Home Children) & www.careleavers.com (UK).
Bearing the Unbearable: Dealing with Trauma The human psyche is always striving to heal itself and move forward; one might say this is evolution in its most basic form. We may not understand how this happens, yet working as a trauma therapist for close to 15 years, I’ve born witness to the capacity for people to tolerate the seemingly intolerable and to bear the unbearable. Confronting one’s own traumatic past and working through the layers of emotions this entails, can seem an impossible and daunting task. If you’re considering this then ask yourself if you’re truly ready and willing to do this emotional and psychological work. The first stage is to solidify, and if needed, develop one’s own resources and strengths; to ensure that stability and much needed social support is in place. For some this is done quickly, for others it can be a lengthy process, including learning to trust another. Some people choose
to stop once they feel stable, preferring not to delve into their past, and this is always a legitimate option. If one chooses to continue the healing journey, the next phase is to confront one’s own trauma, one’s own past, which, as Anke’s story shows, is often passed down through generations. This is the hero’s journey, the descent into one’s own underworld, and I have the utmost respect for the courage it takes to navigate these old wounds. Seeing the transformation is humbling. Some heal, others come to a place of acceptance. The wounds often remain, but how we relate to them changes; we don’t change our past, but we can make different choices for the future. The final stage of trauma work is integration and rebuilding one’s life, in a more authentic and whole way. www.shawnkatz.com
Ph.D. - Psychotherapist and Trauma Specialist
Running Musician and teacher Erica Wilson grew up in a tense atmosphere which led to habitual anxiety in adulthood. In 2003 she did the Process hoping to find the serenity and joy that she yearned for. With her new-found confidence she then discovered an unexpected passion for running. She ran the 2013 London marathon aged 66 and a half years and is still reaping the benefits of her Process experience.
‘I spent my childhood walking on eggshells. There was a lot of potentially explosive anger in the atmosphere which undermined my confidence and gave me recurring nightmares. Once I left home at 18 I no longer felt threatened but certain words would still act as triggers so that I’d feel fear quite viscerally in my body. It was as though the legacy of my childhood was eating away inside me and in the end it was worth facing anything to get rid of it. I tried therapy after my marriage broke up and my GP referred me for an hour a week but in some ways it made me feel worse because the therapist only had a limited amount of time. I was aware of the clock on his desk, and each session I’d have to psyche myself up to discuss a painful event and then, just as we were getting somewhere, we’d have to stop. Part of me felt that my childhood wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as some other people’s. I felt so ashamed about what I saw as my inability to deal with it that it was hard to talk about it. I lived on a knife-edge of fear, so when I read an article about the Hoffman Process in the Sunday Times it really spoke to me. The cost of it was beyond me at the time though, so it went onto my wish list. Finally in 2003, after careful financial planning, I committed and enrolled onto the Process. Given my patterns of anxiety, my Hoffman teacher Mary, rang me before the course. She was so supportive and genuinely interested in me that I began to feel excited instead - I couldn’t wait to meet her. I felt so well looked after during the enrolment procedure and in the run up to the course that I was actually pretty calm. The staff were all so reassuring. Goodness knows when the teachers got any sleep! Once I got to the course it was such a relief to leave the outside world behind and to begin to purge myself of all the toxic beliefs and patterns that I’d lived with for so long.
‘Life continues to offer new opportunities for growth and now I have the confidence not just to face them but to run towards them.’ 38
for your life... By Nikki Wyatt
The Process was certainly very different from counselling. The most difficult part for me was bashing cushions, although it was also the exercise which ultimately benefitted me the most. As a child I was so controlled. I’d learned not to show emotion in case I triggered my father’s anger. With the teachers’ help I got over my inhibitions and the amount of anger that finally came pouring out initially scared me. However it was such a safe environment that I remember crying and releasing all the stuff I had wanted to express as a child. By the end I was exhausted yet purged; so much lighter and freer.
the Process I think I’d have gone under. I still keep the Process tools card by my bed as a reminder and I use the tools regularly, especially the brief check-in which I do quite often. As I live near the sea I also like the technique of writing things in the sand and then allowing the water to wash it away.
One aspect of the Process I liked was the fact that we were all anonymous. Apart from a brief comment about what brought you to the Process there was nothing that we were obliged to share. My only regret is not staying for the optional weekend afterwards. The feeling when it was over was so wonderful that I’d love to have enjoyed it for longer. Unfortunately I had to leave for a gig. Mind you, the rest of the band couldn’t believe the new me - they thought I was on something! They also noticed that I used to wear my hair over my face but after the course I pulled it back and faced the world more openly.
I’ve realised that I need to find happiness for myself rather than looking for it in others. I find it so fulfilling taking an interest in others and watching them flourish. Even when people are grumpy I find if I take time to listen and connect they often cheer up. I make it a goal now to find the best in everyone I meet. One recent example is that I’ve been interviewing older people in my running club who may feel a bit invisible. As a result of telling their stories, the rest of us have discovered amazing things they’ve achieved like Iron Man and Ultra Marathons and we appreciate them more.
The initial euphoria lasted quite a while and even all these years later I still feel calmer and more able to keep things in perspective. I’ve stopped taking on other people’s problems and find I have better boundaries and a healthier detachment. In the months following the course I felt able to extricate myself from the unhealthily controlling relationship that I was in. I find I’m no longer triggered by anger. I’ve developed skills to deal with it rather than adopting a passive role. The Process helped me to appreciate other people’s positions so that I could understand their reactions. Most people simply want to be heard. Once they feel heard and acknowledged they calm down.
I’d never gone running before the Process, although I loved swimming and ice-skating when I was younger. Six months after the course, once I was single again, I joined a gym and enjoyed it so much I started going three times a week. Then, just before my 60th birthday, one of my friends asked me to train with him for the Hastings Half Marathon. After that I was hooked so I joined a running club which is a lovely community. I find I can’t think of anything else when I’m running; I’m just living in the moment which is very therapeutic, plus the London Marathon and all Hastings’ Half Marathons that I’ve done are in aid of St Michael’s Hospice in Hastings, so others benefit too.
I appreciated the course particularly in 2010 when my mother died and I was appointed to administer her estate. That task was very stressful because old family conflicts surfaced and without all that I’d learned on
I’ve read a lot of the inspirational books featured on the Hoffman website and one of the pieces of music on the Process has become a favourite. I play or sing it whenever I want to relive the quiet, contemplative atmosphere that it always evokes.
months of 2012/13 I ran a baseline of 13 miles per week. Two good friends did the very long training runs with me to offer encouragement. One lady in my club, who was faster than me, gave up the chance to put in a good personal time in the marathon to accompany me to the finishing line. There were under 100 people in my vet 7 age group and I came in 60th in my group. Not bad for a first attempt! The Process planted a seed of learning that I’m constantly cultivating, trying to build my skills. It was the best thing I ever did and I wish everyone would do it. I’ve just applied to do the 2014 London marathon - life continues to offer new opportunities for growth and now I have the confidence not just to face them but to run towards them!’ If you’d like to sponsor Erica on one of her future marathons email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year, in a burst of enthusiasm, I entered the 2013 London marathon, so through the record-breaking cold winter 40
The business of friendship Interview with Claire Dunphy & Toni Dicks by Nikki Wyatt
When Claire Dunphy heard about the Hoffman Process it seemed beyond her means as a single mum but a surprise windfall in 2008 meant that she was able to attend. She now runs Breeze Yoga - offering not only yoga, but holistic therapies and personal growth courses. In the challenging start up period Claire met Toni Dicks, whose business expertise and shared vision made her the ideal partner. This is the story of how they saved not only their business partnership but also an important friendship. Claire’s Story My mum suffered from severe postnatal depression after I was born which put a lot of pressure on the family. My brother struggled with our mum’s absence through her illness and his resentment grew towards me as the new addition to the family. Sibling rivalry kicked in at a very young age and prevented us from having the close relationship that I yearned for. The highlights of my childhood were the times I spent with my father, whom I idolised. He was incredibly busy in his career but I particularly loved that he would make time to take me out to dinner, just the two of us.
incredible. It gave me a safe environment to release the rage I’d been holding in my body, which left me feeling light and clear. The most healing moment on the Process was experiencing my parents as children. I felt such love and compassion for my mother that after the course I couldn’t wait to see her and talk openly and lovingly for the first time about both of our lives. It brought a newfound understanding of her and her childhood, which had been very difficult. Before the Hoffman I would never have imagined being able to talk with Mum on this level, it seemed like the beginning of a whole new relationship. My father and I have always been close. In common with many of my generation I didn’t see him as much as I’d have liked to as a child but I’m thoroughly enjoying his retirement. We’re taking the opportunity to really know, understand and appreciate one another. The Hoffman has played a huge part in developing the wonderful and rewarding relationships I have with both of my parents now.
‘I felt such love and compassion for my mother’
My parents eventually divorced and in my early 20s I moved to London. With little sense of identity or purpose I found it hard to settle into a career or relationship. I’d put up a happy front but sometimes I’d unwittingly sabotage good things that came my way. At 27 I married and had two daughters. The birth of my first daughter brought on postnatal depression which meant that I finally got help via psychotherapy and support groups and began to deal with the past. In my mid 30s I split from my husband and not long after that I heard about the Process, but it felt too much of a stretch financially. Then, at 38, I came into some money and was able to go. I felt so loved and supported on the course - to be listened to without judgement was 41
My choice of partner has totally changed. Although I began seeing someone new after the Process, I soon realised that I was repeating an unhelpful pattern. During that time I went on a Relationship workshop run by Donna Lancaster and Matthew Pruen who are also Hoffman Teachers. It was a light-bulb moment – finally understanding why I was attracted to
people who are superficially charming but who can be unreliable and manipulative. With that awareness I chose to be single for a while. Now I’m with a lovely man the type of person I’d never have chosen before the Process. He’s kind and caring someone with whom I can be my true authentic self. My relationship with my children is different too. I enjoy their company so much and I can be playful with them. Not having experienced a playful childhood myself, I just didn’t have the template. At Breeze Yoga we encourage people to explore beyond yoga. What can start with intially venturing into a yoga class as a means of exercise, can lead to surprising discoveries - we’ve seen many people really enhance their lives on every level through starting with a simple yoga practice - it’s a joy to see! When Toni came along I could see that she understood my goal. We shared a similar emotional landscape. Having seen how much more easily I dealt with things since the Process I decided to give it as a gift to Toni. It’s amazing to be around someone who’s done the Process. We can be totally authentic with each other. which is just as well, because it can be hard to mix business and spirituality. We constantly get opportunities to grow. My business would have failed a long time ago if Toni and I hadn’t done the Process - whereas it’s incredibly successful now. I just hope to do my bit in passing it forward.
‘Our goal is to help others find meaning, something that benefits not only them but all those that they interact with. We get letters of gratitude all the time - it’s by far the most fulfilling work we’ve ever done.’
Toni’s Story I threw myself into my career after university and, thanks to my perfectionist patterns, was very successful, but it was at a high cost to my health and happiness. I travelled a lot and worked long exhausting hours - insomnia and depression were frequent companions. A few years after starting work, when I was 24, my father died. After that I lost my appetite and began living on cigarettes, alcohol and coffee. Looking back I was burning out, trying desperately to avoid facing my emotional pain.
Claire valued my business experience and people skills and I shared her vision of bringing awareness, wellbeing and a balanced lifestyle to others. I knew working for Breeze would mean a big salary cut, but it offered a platform to develop as a yoga teacher which was fast becoming more important. Then a surreal set of circumstances occurred and I lost my job. However, this gave me the opportunity to go and work with Claire.
‘Challenges are still there but we deal with them quickly and directly’
The turning point for me came in 2008 when I started yoga. Little by little I began to feel better. Then I read two self-help books, one by Neale Donald Walsch and another by Yehuda Berg, They gave me a new perspective which led to me enrolling on a Kabbalah course. After practising yoga consistently for 3 months, I began training in Thai yoga. Gradually I gave up my punishing 7 hour commute and worked more from home. My yoga teacher, Sherrie, invited me to hot yoga at Breeze Yoga centre and that’s where I met Claire. She needed someone to supply soft drinks for the business and I offered her some help. Our work connection meant I followed Claire’s journey opening the yoga centre. The first 18 months were very stressful and Claire began to run a lot of business decisions by me, and gradually we became friends.
The Yoga Centre had a lot of teething problems. A staff reshuffle meant we took on more work ourselves. It was a hard slog but great fun too. Generally our partnership worked really well but every 2 months or so I’d have a blow out and a lot of anger and erratic behaviour would surface. It was at this point that Claire offered to pay for me to do the Hoffman Process. I knew very little about it but I absolutely trusted her. The Process transformed my relationships and my sabotaging habits. I found such compassion for my parents that my relationship with my mum is now wonderful. I feel such love for her and she recommends the Process to all her friends. She feels that, thanks to Hoffman, she has got her daughter back. Looking back with the awareness I gained on the Process I realise that I had a pattern of helping others at the expense of myself which led to resentment because I was ignoring my own needs.
Six weeks after the Process I met a lovely guy and we’re really happy. He’s a martial arts instructor and we’re yin and yang in every sense. I get goosebumps talking about the Process and I’d love to be wealthy enough one day to pass it forward. I’m now a qualified yin yoga teacher and I’ve recently finished further yoga training with Sarah Powers, who is also a Hoffman graduate. Because Claire has done the Process too, we can speak openly. It makes work much easier. We’re direct with each other but very compassionate. It often surprises people who aren’t used to such honesty! Challenges are still there but we deal with them quickly and directly. www.breezeyoga.co.uk
The facts in black and white ‘Prior to the Process I would have been rather sceptical that you could achieve the kind of profound change that we saw in such a short time. But I experienced for myself that the week-long Process can change body chemistry.’ Oliver James, Clinical Psychologist
‘When I did the Process my son was about 15 years old. I had no idea that some of the things I was doing were affecting him in a negative way... After about three weeks back at home, he said, “I don’t know what you did but that was really good.”’ Beth Nielson Chapman, Singer-Songwriter ‘The Hoffman Process provides a safe place for you to look at unexpressed grief and loss of all kinds, possibly for the first time. This helps you to understand how your losses have affected your ability to form loving relationships and to find meaning and purpose in your life’. Sue Brayne, Author & Psychotherapist ‘Before the Process I was very conscious of what I ate. I either denied myself what I really wanted or binged and felt guilty. One of my Process promises was to listen to my body and enjoy what it asked for – including food. Since the Process I’m no longer focused on my weight, yet a year later people tell me I look better than I ever have.’ Lina Ghazal, former L’Oreal Account Manager ‘In a world of countless and often endless therapies, it is significant to find one that is without question one of the most focussed, organised, systematic, time-limited and helpful.’ David Deitch, Ph.D. National Institute of Mental Health ‘I recommend Hoffman to any leader who wants to fully realise their potential. It’s profound, robust in its psychological foundations, with gifted teachers and meticulous attention to detail.’ Janine Clark, Business Consultant
• 97% of Hoffman participants said they were better equipped to deal with life’s difficulties. • 89% found increased compassion for their parents. • 83% found they had better relationships with themselves and others. • 80% found a greater enjoyment of life after the Hoffman Process. Survey conducted in 2012 by the Hoffman Institute International with 2,497 participants
‘One of the strengths of the Hoffman Process is its follow-up support which feels as caring and thoughtful as the rest of it. There are three post-process group meetings held over a six-month period, an email forum, support materials, 1:1 coaching with Hoffman teachers, Reconnection Days…’ Jayne Allen, Therapy Today ‘My biggest realisation on the course was that I’m not only more than my job; I’m actually more than my thoughts too. Although life still offers constant challenges, the way I react now is quite different and far less stressful.’ Jon Treanor, Mindfulness Leadership Training ‘Just about every member of my close and extended family has now done the Process. It has hugely improved our relationships and communication.’ Wendy Mandy, Five Element Acupuncturist
‘Taking the time required at the Process to empathise with my father’s upbringing and background helped our relationship enormously. After the course we had a wonderful heart to heart which completely changed our relationship.’ Jonathan Ward, Human Potential Coach ‘I’m much calmer and since the Process in 2009 I no longer take anti-depressants. The course enabled me to release stuck childhood anger in a way which years of therapy hadn’t enabled me to do. In my role as a trainer I’m more understanding, more empathic and more patient.’ Tony Hertz, Author & Radio Advertising Specialist ‘The Hoffman Process is the fast track to selfawareness, self-understanding and ultimately self-mastery. I recommed it to approximately 80% of my clients with consistently positive results.’ Lois Evans, Psychotherapist ‘The benefits of the Process for people and business are huge. I recommend it wholeheartedly as a personal and professional journey to all HR professionals looking for a course that will make a long lasting difference to their people and to their business success.’ Anni Townend, Leadership Consultant
Scientific Research available on the Hoffman website; www.hoffmanprocess.co.uk
Is it time to live life in colour?
43 Neale Cousland/Shutterstock.com
T: 01903 88 99 90
If you are interested in the Hoffman Process Our participants come from all ages, professions and cultures. Despite varied backgrounds, we find those coming to the Process have in common a desire to get more out of their lives. As the Process is a week-long programme, its intensity and effectiveness appeals to people who have demanding lives with little time.
What does the Hoffman Process do? The Process teaches us how to release and resolve the persistent negative feelings of being unloved and unloveable. We examine the major influences on our lives, trace the root of the behaviour, and release the pain, grief, anger, shame and resentment that has been stored there for years. We understand how important it is to receive continued support after youâ€™ve undertaken any kind of personal development work. At Hoffman we provide numerous support events running throughout the year.
Confidentiality The Hoffman Process is a private and personal experience for each participant and your personal safety and confidentiality is assured. Due to its popularity we frequently have celebrities and public figures attending and you will be asked to sign a document agreeing to respect the confidentiality, identity and experience of every Hoffman participant.
Process fees and registration procedure The week long residential course costs ÂŁ2,700. This includes, food, accommodation, a comprehensive assessment, over 100 hours of tuition, 4 follow up support groups and VAT. All course prices are correct at time of print. Please refer to the website for Process prices outside the UK. Each course starts on a Friday or Saturday morning, 9.00am for a 9.30am start and finishes the following Friday at around 2pm. If you are travelling a long distance, we suggest you stay at the venue the night before. We also recommend that you keep the weekend following your Process free from any commitments. This allows you time to integrate and to complete any post Process work.
What happens when I register? As part of the registration procedure, we ask everyone to complete an Enrolment Form. This form asks for your medical and therapeutic history. If, for any reason, we think that the time is not right for you to do the course, we will refund your fee and recommend some alternative options to you.
www.h offman pro ces s .c o. uk
We have a comprehensive list of therapists and health practitioners to whom we often refer people prior to coming on the Hoffman Process. If you are currently in therapy, Hoffman has a dedicated handover system which helps health care professionals understand the course techniques and support your continued growth. Guidelines for therapists are available upon request that explain how they can support the participant/client.
Prior to attending the course, we ask everyone to complete a comprehensive autobiographical questionnaire, the Pre-Course Work. This allows us to ensure that the course is appropriate for you and that you will derive the greatest possible benefit from it.
On the Process In order for each participant to get the most out of their experience we create an environment that is free from distractions resulting in a much deeper and longer lasting experience. With the pace at which todayâ€™s society pushes us forward we are all inherently slaves to modern technology; mobiles, laptops, mp3s etc. With these removed, we are more consciously aware of ourselves, and therefore able to focus more intently. We do not recommend any contact with work or home unless in exceptional circumstances and this will be agreed with you and the Hoffman staff before your Process. Experience has shown us that this will ensure you receive the best possible benefits from the course. When you register we will also give you a letter to give to a member of your family. This letter explains more about the course as well as offering them phone support should they need it while you are away. A 24hr number is available at all times for relatives or colleagues to contact people on the course in the case of an emergency.
All Processes are held at Florence House, East Sussex, unless otherwise stated. Please arrive by 9.00am for a 9.30am start. All Processes finish on Friday at approximately 2pm. For more information on venues and for online registration please refer to our website.
April 18–24 May 02–08 May 23–29 June 13–19 June 27–July 03 –The Old Rectory, Ireland July 04–10 July 18–24 August 01–07– Dunford House, W. Sussex
August 22–28 September 12–18 September 26–Oct 02 October 10–16 November 07–13 November 21–27 December 05–11
T: 01903 88 99 90
Hoffman Process dates 2015
These one-day events are held in London and offer an opportunity to experience the Hoffman methods, engage with some practical tools and gain insight into the positive and negative aspects of your life.
Saturday May 9 Saturday July 11 Saturday September 26
Information Evenings These evenings are held at Regent’s University, London NW1 and Brooks Hotel, Dublin from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. They’re a wonderful opportunity to find out more about the Process and meet participants.
April 28 May 12 June 23 July 07 Ireland July 28
August 11 September 22 October 20 November 17 December 15
The Phone–In is a monthly conference call held on a Tuesday evening using PowWowNow 7..30pm to 8.30pm. See website for phone details.
April 7 May 5 June 16 July 7 August 4
September 15 October 13 November 10 December 8
Finding out if the Hoffman Process is right for you If you feel that you would benefit from a one-to-one call with someone prior to registering for the Process, please contact the office and we will arrange a time to call you. One-to-one coaching is offered by many of the Hoffman teaching team before and/or after the course and we can also help make referrals where appropriate. We have strong links with therapists, health professionals and treatment centres. We’d be happy to assist you find the best alternative should the Process not be suitable. Hoffman has two Facebook pages: one for those who would like to find out more about the Process, hoffmaninstituteuk; and a private Hoffman graduate page where graduates can share their experiences, hoffmanprocess. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, and follow our tweets and blogs. T: +44(0) 1903 88 99 90
w w w.h o ffma np ro c e s s. co .uk
Published on Apr 6, 2015
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...