ISSUE 5 | 2017
50 YEARS TRANSFORMING LIVES
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Available from and all good Natural Health Stores and Pharmacies. Also available at Sainsburyâ€™s, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Ocado, Revital, Planet Organic, Whole Foods Market, Harrods, Duchy of Cornwall, Amnesty International UK, Blacks, Morrisons and Robert Dyas. For useful tips and information on avoiding all insect bites and to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.lessmosquito.com. * Based on research carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, funded by the Gates Malarial Partnership that was published in the British Medical Journal, our PMD active ingredient is clinically proven to protect against malaria when used in conjunction with an impregnated mosquito net at night. PMD is recommended by Public Health England. Use insect repellent safely. Always read the label and product information.
HOFFMAN When Bob Hoffman created the Hoffman Process in 1967, he provided a structured programme for each of us to investigate our ‘emotional roots’. THIS ISSUE
We’re celebrating... It is 50 years since Bob Hoffman launched
If we can trace our beliefs and behaviours back to our childhood, then we have a choice: to continue to behave the way we do and pass it on to the next generation; or to stop negative patterns and choose a different way of being.
the Hoffman Process, and we’re still serious about change.
It was Bob’s intention that everyone who does the Hoffman Process can choose to come from a place of love, not fear, and to be the best person they can be in an ever-changing world.
Check out our new Parenting workshops, redesigned Relationship weekends and other events by visiting our website and subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter.
Even ten years after his death, Bob’s vision to “spread peace in the world one person at a time” lives on in his legacy. This is the fifth issue of our Hoffman magazine: as always a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed. I’m also grateful for the support of our growing Hoffman Graduate community, our teachers, staff and especially to Founder and Director Tim Laurence, who introduced me to the Hoffman Process (and Bob!) 23 years ago. At Hoffman, we choose to start with a vision. Let the Process begin… With love from Serena
The gift that keeps on giving
We asked our Hoffman Graduates what they got from the Hoffman Process. See our centre spread for their fifty top picks.
SERENA GORDON Hoffman UK Co-Founder and Managing Director
Editor: Serena Gordon email@example.com
Now in 15 countries worldwide.
Features Editor: Nikki Wyatt firstname.lastname@example.org Production Editor: Debbie Kennedy email@example.com Editorial Design: Holly Clark www.mylittledanger.com
Enquiries: For all enquiries, please call +44 (0)1903 88 99 00 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Hoffman UK Quay House, River Road, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9DF © Hoffman UK, 2017
Cover photo by Lizi Hill (See page 32)
See page 40 for international contact details.
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Contents ARTICLES AND FEATURES
RADICAL TRANSFORMATION: A NEW LIFE A workaholic and serial adulterer who binged on exercise, drugs, sex, alcohol and tobacco – journalist and author Nirpal Dhaliwal was a man on the brink until he made the decision to confront self-sabotage once and for all.
A DIFFERENT WAY TO GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD What happens on the Hoffman Process? Award-winning magazine editor and author Matthew Todd shares his story.
T HE FIVE MINUTE INTERVIEW “I’ve been an angry person most of my adult life…” Find out why Social Business Consultant Bilal Hallab travelled all the way from Saudi Arabia to do the Hoffman Process.
P OSITIVE CHANGE: A BUSINESS VISIONARY After international family lawyer Ayesha Vardag did the Process, her vision took her business to award-winning heights and her personal life to a new level of fulfilment.
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BOARDING S CHOOL B A G G A GE The perception of boarding school as a privileged, nurturing ‘home from home’ isn’t everyone’s reality. Michael Freeman shares his experience of overcoming an institutionalised childhood. UNLEASHI NG A CR EATI VE CA R EER Professional artist and Hoffman Graduate Lizi Hill talks about the effect the Hoffman Process had on her creative and professional life. SAME CAR DIG A N, DIFFER ENT M OTHER “I was forty-five when I finally told someone that I was adopted, and that person was my fiancée three weeks before our wedding…” Matthew Calvana confronts the legacy of adoption taboo.
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T O O C L O SE F O R C O MF O RT “It was the men who offered the biggest challenge who stole my heart…” Eleanor Moran reveals how a string of doomed relationships with unavailable partners led her to see how her relationship with her father was playing out in her adult life.
FROM THE EXPERTS
RO L E RE V E RSAL Family roles adopted in childhood can undermine us throughout our lives if left unexplored. Psychotherapist Evelyne Thomas explains how to identify unhelpful roles and let them go.
T H E T RO U BL E W I T H T RAU MA The word ‘trauma’ may conjure images of war zones or violent crime, but ‘small t’ trauma can also take its toll on our day-to-day wellbeing. EMDR consultant Mark Brayne explores methods of moving beyond hard-wired emotional triggers.
T H E SPI RI T U AL C O N N E C T I O N In our busy, practical lives, it’s easy to let the daily grind dominate our focus. Taking the time for a more spiritual approach can reap dividends, say Nikki Wyatt and Patrick Holford.
HOFFMAN GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT
T HE HOFFMAN BOOKSHELF Young People’s Fiction, the control of chronic pain, a new approach to the nature/nurture debate – books written by Hoffman Graduates are as varied as Process participants themselves. Take a few minutes to browse our bookshelf…
N OURISH & FLOURISH Food, glorious food – it’s impossible to fully nurture ourselves without it. Meet a selection of Hoffman foodies, including MasterChef semi-finalist James Villiers, and try a recipe from the cook book produced by Florence House, one of our most popular Process venues.
MORE ABOUT HOFFMAN
04 05 12
WHAT IS THE HOFFM A N P R OCES S ? Find out more about who we are and what we do. IS THE PROCES S FOR M E? Our handy self-assessment checklist could help you decide.
W HAT PEOPL E S AY The Process transforms lives. Don’t just take our word for it – read what past participants are saying about Hoffman.
50 YEARS – THE GI FT THAT KEEP S ON G I VI N G We believe that the Hoffman Process is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Process worldwide, Hoffman Graduates share fifty of their favourite Process gifts.
WHAT NEXT? We hope our magazine will give you a flavour of Hoffman. If you’d like to explore further, here’s how…
30 Contact us Visit:
Email: email@example.com Phone: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
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an, m f f o H Bob er of the found n Process, Hoffma1967
What is the
Hoffman Process? About the Hoffman Process, condensed,
intense The Hoffman Process is an ches us how to release tea t tha rse cou l experientia e behavioural patterns. and resolve persistent negativ fman Process in 1967, Bob Hoffman created the Hof onal development techniques drawing on established pers his own. Nearly 50 years and adding a few nuggets of , e relevant than it ever was later, his work is even mor tres cen 19 operates from and the Hoffman Institute now ide. ldw wor in 15 countries Hoffman Process as the Many participants see the ir life as it was, and their transition point between the life as they would like it to be.
as the core The theory of Hoffman – chifouldhndood effect on our a pro Our early upbringing has ciously adopt the negative ons unc we n, dre chil As lives. s, moods, attitudes and behaviours, belief system ers in order to be loved. insecurities of our caregiv are passed from generation These patterns of behaviour l when we recognise and dea to generation, and it is only . ken bro be with them that the cycle can
s us how to examine The Hoffman Process teache lives, trace the root of the major influences on our release any pain, grief, the adopted negativity, and that has been stored there. anger, shame or resentment cess is to help everyone The ultimate aim of the Pro ptance for themselves and reach forgiveness and acce e compassionate approach others. This allows for a mor family life. to personal relationships and
What happens on the coursewor? kshop where
of a The Process takes the form ls and techniques to each day you’ll be taught too support you for life. g ingredients from various It has a unique recipe, drawin , NLP, CBT, mindfulness, modalities including Gestalt amic work. Activities include bioenergetic and psychodyn l guided visualisation, as wel journalling, meditation and rcises. as physically expressive exe are usually between 24 In the UK, our Process groups fully explained beforehand and 32 people. Exercises are le group, in small groups, and may be done with the who ough you’re supported, in pairs or on your own. Alth by other group members, encouraged and often inspired your own journey. it’s important you focus on ues are in peaceful and Although our Process ven often in areas of outstanding comfortable surroundings, a pampering spa retreat. natural beauty, Hoffman is not emotional and physical There will be times of intense may feel challenging at the experience, some of which will be fully supported time. Rest assured that you team is on hand from the throughout. The Hoffman ne to guide you through moment you pick up the pho welcome you to the venue the registration process, to through the week and and to facilitate your journey as you return home.
? e m r o f s s e c o r P e Is th s why people contains some common reason ow bel list ent ssm sse f-a sel e Th onate with you? an Process. Do any of these res ffm Ho the ing do to wn dra are
I feel stuck and something is holding me back. I find it hard to ask for help when I need it. will to do it. I know what I should do but can’t generate the barrassed or depressed. I frequently feel stressed, angry, resentful, em stration and grief. I’m scared to let go, I have so much anger, fru s of my life. I work compulsively, often to avoid other aspect make. I feel at a crossroads, with major decisions to I often feel anxious or nervous for no reason. There’s a lack of joy and intimacy in my life. I’ve messed up relationships with my children. lings. I’m unemotional and disconnected from my fee ls pointless. I’m struggling to ﬁnd meaning in my life, it fee I feel numb – on automatic pilot. alone! of these, you’re definitely not If you have ticked one or more be improved that there are areas that could ng idi dec to p ste t firs the en You’ve tak s could be of benefit t change, the Hoffman Proces ou ab s iou ser ’re you If . life r in you firstname.lastname@example.org ail: em or 90 99 88 03 19 (0) 4 to you. Call us on +4 sultation. to book a free one-to-one con institute.co.uk. Process, visit www.hoffman the t ou ab on ati orm inf re e-ins mo For an, including workshops, phon ffm Ho h wit t nec con to ys wa For details of other and newsletters, see page 40.
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A NEW LIFE
RADICAL transformation by Nirpal Dhaliwal
By his early forties, Nirpal Dhaliwal’s depression had resulted in him contemplating the easiest way to end it all. Reaching out to a therapist he began to unravel the source of his pain – his traumatic childhood. This is the moving and searingly honest story of how we pass our emotional pain through generations until someone has the courage to look within for the truth. For four straight years, from the age of 38, I suffered a continuous enveloping depression that ruined my career and relationships and had me regularly thinking of killing myself. Two years ago, I began weekly counselling sessions with a therapist who helped untangle my emotions enough that I finally stopped Googling suicide methods. She did this by helping me to confront the source of my pain – my toxic childhood – and recognise the psychological damage I carried, a pain I had kept buried for my entire life prior to that. Last January, determined to put the anguish of my past behind me, I spent a week at an English country house, undergoing the Hoffman Process with twenty-eight other people. An intensive therapeutic retreat that specifically addresses the trauma inflicted by a dysfunctional upbringing, the Process was developed in America by the late Bob Hoffman, and takes place at centres across Europe, North and South America, as well as Australia, helping people from all walks of life – from bus drivers to Hollywood idols – heal the trauma inflicted on them as children. Two months after doing it, I felt a calmness, selfacceptance and compassion, both for myself and others, that I had not experienced before. Through doing the Process, I looked closely and clearly at the circumstances in which I was raised, and found
the ability to finally understand and forgive my parents unconditionally for the mess they made of my childhood – and also to forgive myself for the mess I made of my adulthood as a result.
time I returned, my mother was busy raising my sister, and in a state of frantic despair at being married to an abusive alcoholic as she struggled on her own with two babies.
I’m the product of an embittered arranged marriage. In 1973, aged 23, my dad, who had moved to the UK from Punjab with his family in the 1950s, came home on leave from Belize, where he served with the British Army. He told his family he was marrying his pregnant girlfriend there. Within two weeks, he’d been forced to marry another woman instead. My mother, aged 20, raised in a simple Punjabi village and speaking no English, found herself stranded with a violent, hard-drinking adulterer who made his hatred of her apparent from the beginning.
As a child, I experienced a father who was by turns drunk, work-obsessed and a terrifying bully, and a depressed and resentful mother, prone to fits of stamping and ranting around the house, tearing her clothes and threatening suicide if I dared to be upset by her. To them, locked in their manic psychodramas, I was invisible. My own hurt, when expressed, was ignored, slapped or screamed down. I grew up holding my feelings within and remember my childhood mostly as a slow, festering sulk.
I was conceived almost immediately and, soon after, my paternal grandfather died. My dad, having abandoned the woman he loved and the child she carried, found himself married to a pregnant stranger and mourning the loss of his own father who had only months before, forced him into all of this. Into this stew of grief, rage and confusion, I was born. I was sent to live with relatives. Mum had to work and my dad – who was drinking as soon as he woke up – was uninterested in me. By the
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The pain of this, I never admitted to anyone – not even myself. But the anguish goaded me throughout my life like an invisible slave-driver: to become a stellar student, to achieve fame and success as a writer, to be a chronically unfaithful husband, and to binge insanely in turns on exercise, drugs, sex, alcohol and tobacco, and to be too restless and mistrustful to maintain healthy relationships of any kind with anyone. After a life lived like that, it was no surprise when, two years ago, I found myself broke and single, depressed and heavily overweight, surfing the internet for
“I FOUND THE ABILITY TO FINALLY UNDERSTAND AND FORGIVE MY PARENTS UNCONDITIONALLY.”
the most convenient way to terminate myself. The Hoffman Process took me back to the darkest periods of my childhood. Through a regime of group discussions, reflection, frank self-examination and brilliantly choreographed rituals, the Process helped me to revisit and release the overwhelming sense of fear, rage, abandonment and rejection that I had held on to since a child – feelings that were never properly acknowledged and thus lingered in my unconscious, sabotaging my life. Through the week, I felt and saw myself and my fellow twenty-eight participants undergo radical transformations. Like blossoming flowers, we unfurled from the constricted, suspicious and anxious individuals we were on the first day into open, warm, accepting and receptive individuals. From being people who could barely look one another in the eye when we began – so full of our own personal shame and angst were we – we ended the week hugging and declaring our love for each other, bidding each other weepy farewells with promises of staying in touch. We managed this because we had shared and witnessed each other’s pain. All of the anguish that we habitually keep bottled up and hidden for fear of being judged should it be expressed, we had openly discussed. All the painful things
that had been done to us, and the painful things we had done – and the guilt, self-loathing, anger, sadness and anxiety that came with them – was laid out in the open. For the first time in our lives, we had been emotionally naked in front of others, and we had found acceptance for ourselves, warts and all, and extended the same acceptance to others. The sense of belonging that we did not experience in childhood (and therefore could not recreate in our adult lives) we finally achieved in one another’s company – opening us up to finding it with others in the outside world. It was hard work. We had to look at ourselves and our lives, with all the mistakes and regrets, and see the patterns we had been locked into that made us live in a state of robotic dysfunction, unbearably miserable. And the blocked emotions that kept us trapped in this state had to be physically fought with. I will never forget pouring with sweat as I thrashed a cushion with a plastic bat, finally expressing all the rage I had kept within my body. As I recognised how trapped I had been in the patterns of my upbringing, I came to realise that my parents had been equally trapped and that, despite all the damage they had inflicted, they had loved me and done their best.
Raised by a brutal alcoholic father himself, my dad was broken when he arrived in Britain aged nine. Throughout his childhood in London, he experienced racist abuse and beatings. Battered at home and at school, he joined the army aged 17, hoping to ‘toughen up’. There he suffered horrific bullying and a relentless drone of racist insults, as well as the trauma of serving in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles there, where he faced the constant risk of being killed by IRA terrorists. By the time he married my mother, he was an alcoholic wreck barely out of boyhood. Meditating on my father’s pain – so much greater and more deeply buried than mine had ever been – I broke into heaving sobs. I have never cried like that before. Since returning from the retreat, life is much easier. I have a new circle of friends who I can be emotionally honest with, and a new, more open, attitude to the people I had in my life before. I have yet to meet my parents again, but the negative emotions that made me detest and blame them for the state of my life have receded immensely. I will see them soon, and tell them I love them. I have a new life, and I want them to share it. A shorter version of this article originally appeared in India Today. Reproduced with permission of the author.
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REVERSAL by Evelyne Thomas
Identifying the roles we adopt in childhood can be key to changing behaviour patterns, setting us free to express ourselves more authentically, says psychotherapist Evelyne Thomas.
Do you find yourself playing different roles depending on who you’re with? Do you behave differently at work to the way you are with friends, family or even your partner? Imagine just being who you’re meant to be, with no fears of being unmasked or worries about being a disappointment or letting others down. I’ll never forget the day I realised that the personal work I’d embarked on would help me remove the principal mask I’d been wearing my entire life. I was going to be free of the role of ‘victim’ and I wasn’t sure who would be revealed or how I was going to live my life without this well-rehearsed role. It was six years ago and I was sitting with Eliza, my Hoffman teacher, in the garden of Florence House in Sussex. It was the first day of the Hoffman Process and I did not know yet how that week was going to change my life and my close relationships, in more wonderful ways than I could ever imagine. WH Y DO WE PL AY ROLES ? Every child needs to feel safe to thrive. As a child, if tension or dysfunction in the family means we’re in danger of being abandoned, neglected, unloved or even abused, we learn to hide parts of ourselves in order to survive or keep the family unit together. We’ll adopt a role to either deflect or attract attention. This could be by making our parent or caregiver laugh or making them proud of something we’ve accomplished, by misbehaving, or even by being ill. In her book Relationship Breakthrough, Chloe Madanes talks about children who divert their parents’ attention to themselves if they sense their violent dad is just about to hit their mum. They become mum’s saviour and take the brunt of dad’s temper. Over years, these diversionary tactics become habitual and we start creating patterns of interactions which are triggered when we’re faced with a similar situation as an adult. For example, if our boss bullies our colleague, we may go into a familiar response pattern, even though we’re no longer a child and we have other options available to us now. Most people usually have more than one role, depending on where they are and who they are interacting with, but many of us have a particular role that becomes our ‘go-to’ strategy, stemming from our core childhood experience. T HE IMPORTANCE O F S HA M E As a child, we learn to adopt one or more roles as a way of not being present with the reality of certain childhood situations because the emotions we’d feel if we acknowledged what was really happening would be too overwhelming. Roles help us to navigate our fear; to create a sense of safety and belonging.
“THE PROCESS GAVE ME PERMISSION TO BE ANGRY... FINALLY AND SAFELY, I COULD EXPRESS ALL OF THE RESENTMENT, FEAR AND SENSE OF INJUSTICE I HAD BURIED.” We are often shamed for our fears as children. We’re told not to “be silly”, to dry our tears or “be a man”. Shame is a particularly deep and toxic emotion, and when we’re in its grip, we’re unable even to see others or their pain. I see it as a major factor in relationship problems, as the couples who seek help are not able to connect to each other. When we’re trapped in a role designed to help us distance ourselves from shame, it can lead to particularly destructive behaviour, where we may reject or avoid others or sabotage any attempt at intimacy. H O W D O E S T H E H O F F MAN PRO C E SS F I T I N ? Working within the safety and unconditional support of a group is a hugely effective way to heal the destructive patterns and roles that we have adopted. The Hoffman Process provides the perfect environment for people to feel securely held. From the very beginning, in the pre-course work, you’re encouraged to become aware of the roles you’ve adopted. As we recognise our roles, work through them and release them, the emotion they were designed to avoid can surface in a loving environment created to help us express it safely. The Process gave me permission to be angry. I wasn’t allowed to be angry as a child. My feelings were acknowledged and welcomed so I could be fully myself. Finally and safely, I could express all of the resentment, fear and sense of injustice I had buried. I could say “stop” and feel safe. I also left the Process with tools to better deal with current relationship situations. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 9
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E X E RCISE: HOW TO LET G O OF A R OLE Step 1: Identify the role Gently, with full compassion for yourself (as if you were talking to a good friend), take a moment to go through the list below and ask yourself “Which were the roles that I needed to play in order to get attention (positive or negative) from my parents?” It may be that you are aware of a specific role applicable to you that isn’t listed, too. FA MILY ROL ES CHECKLI S T
The more you practice doing this, the quicker you’ll become at realising the role you’re in, and the negative effect it’s having. You’ll be able to give yourself compassion for having fallen back into your old pattern of behaviour. Finally, notice that you have a choice. You can stay in your role or you can choose to respond to situations differently. You can choose to face the fear that has thrown you back into your old pattern, so that you give yourself compassion and a chance to be the beautiful, creative and loving person that you were meant to be.
Evelyne is based in Dubai where she provides therapy for individuals and couples. Sessions are available face-to-face or via Skype in French and English. You can download her free e-book 5 Steps to Deeper and Richer Love Relationships by visiting: www.evelynelthomas.com.
The drama queen
Never good enough
The black sheep
The stupid one
The angry one
The wild one
The spoilt one
Relationship Breakthrough – Chloe Madanes
Homecoming: Reclaiming And Championing Your Inner Child – John Bradshaw
Healing The Child Within – Charles L Whitfield
The invisible one
When The Past Is Present – David Richo
The problem child
The odd one out
The control freak
The boring one
The sick one
The weak one
The trusted one
The sporty one
The brave little soldier
Step 2: Notice the impact Becoming aware of your roles is the first step towards healing, and is an important part of the preparatory work that you complete before doing the Hoffman Process. Once you have identified them, try thinking about the situations in which you tend to play one or more of these roles. It may be with your partner, at work or maybe when you’re with your parents. Notice the negative effect it has on your relationships at the time. Step 3: Loving acceptance Know that the role stems from fear. Fear is like a person who will follow us around until we turn and face it. Imagine you’re turning to face your fear. Put your hand on your heart and ask yourself “What am I afraid of? What is troubling me the most?” You may notice an old voice come up that says: “don’t be silly” or “you’re so stupid” – just ignore it. Listen to that part of yourself with compassion. Give it love and acceptance. Stay with it and acknowledge it for as long as you need to, until you feel at ease. It may only need a few moments, or it may take longer.
Individuals & Couples UKCP - MBACP
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The Hoffman Process: 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. You really listen to me now.” BETH NIELSON CHAPMAN, SINGER-SONGWRITER
Of the many therapies and awareness methods I have studied during the past thirty years, the Hoffman Process stands out as the most comprehensive and the most effective… It’s a practical, straightforward and useful therapeutic joining of the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical levels.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY My first steps (after the Process) were to make a lot of small changes at work and people noticed the difference. I was much less likely to get pulled into other people’s dramas and more able to handle the stress of quarterly targets. DENISE QUINLAN, FORMER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT
I’D DESCRIBE MY LIFE AS BEFORE HOFFMAN AND AFTER HOFFMAN – IT WAS THAT LIFECHANGING. IT’S WORTH EVERY PENNY. IT’S AN EXTRAORDINARY COMBINATION OF WORK AND PEOPLE. LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER NOW AND I’M IMMENSELY GRATEFUL. CANDIDA DE MELO, NUTRITIONAL THERAPIST
JUST ABOUT EVERY MEMBER OF MY CLOSE AND EXTENDED FAMILY HAS NOW DONE THE PROCESS. IT HAS HUGELY IMPROVED OUR RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNICATION.
JACK DOWNING, PSYCHIATRIST
WENDY MANDY, ACUPUNCTURIST
Hoffman helped me to get grounded, to realise that I am not my patterns, to forgive my parents, live a worthy life and be an asset in all my relationships. It should be on the school curriculum – as essential to living a good life as English or Maths. AIDAN CAMPBELL, RETIRED BUSINESS CONSULTANT
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SINCE DOING THE PROCESS, CHANGES HAVE BEEN MEASURABLE. I’M A MUCH, MUCH BETTER MOTHER. JO KEVETH, FULL-TIME MOTHER
MY CLIENTS ARE MOSTLY PEOPLE UNDER PRESSURE. BEING CLEAR AND PRESENT FOR MYSELF IS WHAT ENABLES ME TO GET THE BEST RESULTS FOR THEM. THE HOFFMAN PROCESS GAVE ME THE SELFKNOWLEDGE TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS CONSISTENTLY. I’D RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE WHO IS READY FOR THAT KIND OF CHANGE.
I did the Process because I was a very angry, egotistical and arrogant young man. My anger could reach catastrophic proportions. But now I have the tools to harness it and I am humble about who I am. Hoffman really helps you get a sense of balance about life, and not only do you benefit, but those around you do too. I’m doing things I never thought I could do before. GOLDIE, DJ AND MUSICIAN
HILARY GALLO, NEGOTIATION EXPERT AND AUTHOR OF THE POWER OF SOFT Hilary Gallo
Life still has its ups and downs but I deal with it very differently and I use the Hoffman techniques regularly. I have a much better understanding of myself and I’m much less stressed. LOUISE WANNIER, CORPORATE DIRECTOR AND CEO
MY LIFE IS VERY DIFFERENT NOW – I’M INDEPENDENT, DOING WHAT I LOVE, NO LONGER STUCK IN RELATIONSHIPS THAT AREN’T RIGHT FOR ME – AND ONE THING THAT I’M SURE OF IS THAT I WOULDN’T WANT TO GO BACK. MANUELA BERGER, ENTREPRENEUR
Before Hoffman, I hadn’t held down a relationship for longer than eighteen months – and now I have a family around me. I feel actively grateful for every single day. AMY JENKINS, AUTHOR AND CREATOR OF BBC’S THIS LIFE
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A DIFFERENT WAY TO
get out of your
HEAD by Matthew Todd
Award-winning magazine editor and author Matthew Todd takes the Process. this. On the last day, both sad and optimistic about leaving, I was given back my phone, which bombarded me with texts and news stories about the woes of the world. I may have been terrified of losing that connection when I went in but I wasn’t too happy to have it back when I emerged.
I wrote a piece in 2010 about dealing with the trauma of growing up in a homophobic society. It’s also the subject of my book Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy. After listening to scores of people’s opinions on what would heal my anxiety, I decided to try the Hoffman Process. I did it in the summer of 2012. I arrived at the picturesque country house where the Process was being held to discover — horror upon horror — that I would be sharing a room with a stranger. Yes. Really. Luckily, he was nice: a straight chap who I immediately decided would be expecting me to try to molest him. The next day Serena Gordon, who runs the UK Hoffman Process, welcomed the 15 of us — from all different walks of life — and then, more horror, took away our phones and anything else that connected us to the rest of the world. No telly, radio or computer. (Yes, I know, even the thought of not being able to tweet would bring some people out in a cold sweat). The week is severely regimented. Pretty much every hour is assigned. We all gathered in a room, and the two facilitators explained the concepts of the Process. Everyone had a private session in which we established what our ‘core shame’ was. The course focuses on childhood experiences and relationships with good old mum and dad. Over the week, every aspect of our lives was discussed, unpicked and, with any luck, released. The Hoffman Process is famous for pillow bashing, where attendees are encouraged to scream from their guts about the things that have held them back in life while smashing a baseball bat into a pillow. The idea is that this releases repressed emotions that might be causing anxiety or stress. It sounds horrendous but, believe me, we all soon got into the swing of it.
“It was emotional and magical and I learnt a lot about how important it is to focus on emotional and mental health.” I can’t tell you about what happens during the rest of the week because I’d have to kill you. I wouldn’t actually, but it would spoil it. What I can tell you is I spent a lot of time crying. In a good way. I wasn’t brainwashed and it isn’t a cult. Nobody sacrifices a goat (although the food was amazing). And it did change me. I made friends, including my roommate, who, unlike what my neurotic self had expected, was someone who had gay friends and family members. The Hoffman Process may sound like the stuff of nightmares for us British who apparently hate talking about our feelings, but we all needed
Did the Hoffman Process cure all my problems? No. That’s partly because I couldn’t spend the following first few days in peace and also because my exceptionally busy job means I couldn’t take the time to chill and do the follow-up stuff that is recommended. But mainly because the trauma suffered by many of us gay people growing up, sadly, needs more than a week to fix. However, the Hoffman Process is the most powerful single thing that I did in my ongoing journey of recovery. It was emotional and magical and I learnt a lot about how important it is to focus on emotional and mental health. It’s not cheap, but if you are trying to heal some of the pain of the past and can afford it, give it a go. As for me, my journey towards finding peace continues onwards. This article first appeared in Attitude Magazine 2016, and is reproduced with kind permission of the author.
Out now Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy By Matthew Todd. Published by Bantam Press.
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BOOKSHELF They say everyone has a book inside them and it seems that doing the Process is a great way to get that written! Even established authors say that the course revives their creativity by giving insight and a new voice to a buried part of themselves. Here youâ€™ll find a pick of Hoffman Graduates who have shared their wisdom, expertise and imagination.
PATR I CK HOLFO RD
The Chemistry of Connection Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, is best known for his groundbreaking books about how diet can help aspects of our physical, emotional and mental health. This new offering, The Chemistry of Connection, published by Hay House, includes two more: the sensual and the spiritual slants on wellbeing. Patrick argues that these five keys to connection are all essential if we’re to overcome some of the most common problems of modern life, such as loneliness, addiction, poor body-image, stress and depression. It’s full of insights into why we fall out of love with life and how we can rekindle a passionate desire to be here – engaged, present and connected. “(Hoffman is) by far the most powerful and effective course I have come across... I often get letters from people who want to express their gratitude for the introduction to this excellent course, and the transformation they have received from doing it.” www.patrickholford.com D IA NE MESSIDORO
How to Keep a Boy as a Pet Diane did the Process in 2005 and says that it put her in touch with her sparky inner child. How to Keep a Boy as Pet has been described as fun and quirky – much like Diane herself. Many people have bought it for teenagers and ended up finding it laugh-out-loud funny, with real emotional depth and some sniffles along the way. “The Process helped me to understand my family better and draw on my most painful childhood experiences dealing with an absent father to create the book I wish I’d been able to read as a teenager. It’s about love, hope and forgiveness. But, most importantly, it reveals the Official Truth about the mysterious Male Human Species!” www.dianemessidoro.co.uk
A NOUS HKA B EAZ L E Y
The Good Enough Mother Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies, she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan... unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition... “Hoffman is like nothing I’d ever encountered before. It’s not a quick fix, but it is a way to live separately from the pain of old wounds” www.anoushkabeazley.com
O LIV ER JAMES
Not In Your Genes: The Real Reasons Children Are Like Their Parents In Not In Your Genes, clinical psychologist Oliver James weighs into the nature versus nurture debate, asserting that it’s the patterns of nurture that we pass down generations which are key. He argues that, by bringing these into awareness, it’s possible to change the outcome of a difficult upbringing. Through emotional and cognitive understanding, we can transform, as James so eloquently puts it: “the lead of despair and fear into the gold of creativity and insight.” This means we can not only change our own lives, but those of future generations. “Hoffman is a remarkable shortcut to understanding what went wrong in your childhood as well as a highly imaginative way of cheering you up.” www.selfishcapitalist.com w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 17
YOGA - MINDFULNESS - MEDITATION - NUTRITION 200 EXHIBITORS - 48 WorkShops PAUL McKENNA Natasha Corrett
28 APRIL - 1 MAY 2017 WWW.MINDBODYSPIRIT.CO.UK
DR . DAVID HA NSC O M
Back in Control In his best-selling book, Back in Control, renowned spinal surgeon David Hanscom describes how to conquer debilitating long-term pain without surgery. His groundbreaking approach focuses on an aspect of chronic pain that today’s medical establishment has largely ignored – the mind-body link. Dr. Hanscom’s methods have evolved from his personal experience overcoming chronic pain, and are backed by the latest research on how the brain processes pain. “A high percent of chronic pain is a ‘Mind-Body Syndrome’ that is solvable. The Hoffman Process looks at your entire life as a mind-body experience, making it easier to examine, acknowledge, and treat both systems simultaneously.” www.backincontrol.com
NO R MAN BLAIR
Brightening Our Inner Skies: Yin and Yoga Norman Blair’s first book Brightening Our Inner Skies: Yin and Yoga is proving hugely popular. Its quotes, images and personal stories are already used as a reference by other yoga teachers and practitioners. Described as “an inspiring and multidimensional insight into the practice of yoga, both on the mat and in our daily lives”, it offers moments of sanctuary in a hectic world. “Being an element in the Hoffman Process is a wonderful way of finding our self. I know well from my own experience the discomfort and anxieties of conditioned patterns. On the Process, I felt release and a great appreciation of this precious gift: the gift of life and being my good self.” www.yogawithnorman.co.uk
ELEA NOR M OR A N
Too Close for Comfort Bafta-nominated TV producer Eleanor Moran is the author of four previous novels. Taut psychological thriller Too Close For Comfort sees the return of Mia, the high-flying psychotherapist from A Daughter’s Secret and concerns the apparent suicide of Mia’s closest friend. As the gripping plot unfolds and another death suggests that all is not as it seems, the police investigate further and Mia is invited to help them unearth the truth. “Something in me knew that if I didn’t change the way I was living, I’d spend the rest of my adult life in a prison of my own making. It was the Hoffman Process that handed me the keys to get out.” www.eleanormoran.co.uk
T IM LAURENCE
You Can Change Your Life Tim Laurence, co-founder of Hoffman UK, trained and worked extensively with Bob Hoffman. His insightful, moving, and practical book, You Can Change Your Life is inspired by many years of teaching the Hoffman Process around the world. Carefully crafted exercises gradually reveal the personality patterns that you’ve created to cope with life. As you come to a compassionate understanding of why these were needed at the time, you’re encouraged to find more authentic and life-enhancing ways to show up in the world. It really can change your life. “The book is a guide to greater awareness of what helps and what hinders us. It’s meant to help us understand ourselves and those around us, not only more clearly, but also with more compassion. It’s full of practical tips on areas such as bringing more peace into your life or having a better relationship with your body.” www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 19
THE HOFFMAN PROCESS allowed me to...
Thanks to our Hoffman Graduates for sharing their experiences with us.
Build a vision for my future.
“Make life-long friends.”
“Experience being really seen and heard by others.”
“Hear my heart speak more clearly every day.” Know that “it’s OK to be OK.”
Learn to hug again. “Learn to love and appreciate myself again.”
“Have the tools to deal with life’s stresses.” “Learn how to let go of old resentments.”
“Be clear about my intentions again.” Feel grateful.
“Appreciate sunsets and the stars again.” Become more creative.
“Enjoy a week free of traffic jams – there’s nowhere to go but in.”
“Have time for myself and others.” Let go of the bad old past.
“Have a week without phone, email or social media.”
“Discover new behaviour.”
Reconnect with nature.
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Learn to play again.
“Feel loved and accepted, patterns and all.”
Share my story.
Find peace of mind.
“Have the courage to change.”
“Remember to laugh and have fun.”
Be more effective at work.
“Relish the amazing healthy food.”
“Have someone else shop, plan meals, cook, wash up and clean.”
“Sleep deeply again.” Learn to live in the moment.
“Leave behind a load of old patterns.”
“Avoid the phrase : ‘Sorry, I’ve got to rush’.”
“Feel more confident as a parent.”
“Look people in the eye.”
“Hear the amazing stories of others.”
gifts of Hoffman
“Laugh until I cried and cry until I laughed.” “Truly understand forgiveness and compassion.”
“Learn to love and appreciate my family again.”
“Learn to use colours and draw again.” Live a more conscious life. “Learn that it can be healthy to cry.” “Feel part of a worldwide community.”
“Learn to be myself and love life again.”
“Recapture my lost dreams.” Be able to ask for help.
Let go of shame and guilt.
“Be present to myself, and be there for others.”
“Dance like I used to, not caring about how I look.” “Experience a deeper sense of self, joy, awareness and spiritual connection.”
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WORD: the trouble with trauma by Mark Brayne
Mark Brayne is a former BBC foreign correspondent and an accredited consultant in EMDR therapy, a recommended treatment for PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. Mark did the Hoffman Process in 2002.
Most folk I meet in my work as a psychotherapist come to me thinking that trauma is about war zones and earthquakes, car crashes, violent crime and stuff in the news that happens to other people. The trauma most of us don’t immediately think about – and these are real stories from my practice – is the day you wet yourself on stage at six when you hadn’t dared ask to go to the toilet before your three lines in the nativity play. Or the time when as a nine-year-old you didn’t get the Barbie doll that your cute little sister was given for Christmas. Or when you were seven at primary school and the boys started calling you Lucy (a female name, for heaven’s sake) after you misheard the teacher’s instruction and joined the girls being invited to the front of the class. What’s important about trauma – something Bob Hoffman intuitively knew when he started the Hoffman Process an amazing 50 years ago – is that it’s not just the ‘big T’ experiences of nearly losing our life that can mess us up long term. The experiences which have the deepest and most lasting effect almost always turn out to be the ‘smaller t’ traumas of earlier life. It’s the accumulation of subjective misery that undermines our sense of being loveable and safe in the world. This can impact us suddenly or – in our closest long-term relationships – grind away over time. My client’s story of not getting that Barbie doll told me so much. Her nervous system had laid down the neural roadmaps in childhood which, 30 years later, were now leaving her self-confidence crushed and crippled as an adult. With the arrival of – to everyone else – an adorable little sister, my client’s emotional world of safety and love had quite simply collapsed. She only saw a loathsome cuckoo in the family nest, usurping her special relationship with her parents. 22 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
Of course, her parents probably saw it quite differently. What matters though is not how other people view things that happen to us but how we ourselves store them in our brains and nervous systems. This is especially important if those patterns are set up in our earliest years before we’re able to bring a more mature understanding to the experience. So, if most of us have got a trauma story within us, what should we or can we do about it? The bad news is that trauma, both ‘big T’ and ‘small t’, can seriously damage our emotional wellbeing for an entire lifetime. The very much better news is that given half a chance, our bodies and nervous systems know perfectly well how to heal. Mostly, they do just that. We get over bad things that happen. Time heals. Broken hearts mend, as do bones and flesh. It’s the same fundamental process. But if muck gets stuck in the wound, evolution’s natural healing mechanisms – built into us by three and a half billion years of life on Earth – get blocked too. Whether physically or emotionally, we continue to hurt.
That’s where I find the Hoffman Process can come in, helping us to see where these childhood events have created patterns that are still running us as adults. Whether it’s a ‘big T’, or a childhood of ‘small t’s’, Hoffman can play a big part in pointing you in the direction you might now need to go. With a ‘big T’ experience which you might never have looked at before, that may mean some one-to-one therapy before the course. Or, if you’re already on the journey, your therapist might recommend the Process as a way to fast-track the next stage. This clearing of old stuff isn’t just an emotional nice-to-have. Medical research now links a wider and wider range of physical and mental health issues, from chronic fatigue and diabetes to cancers and even the risk of experiencing domestic violence or abuse in adulthood, to what are termed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). My own preferred way of working is rather clunkily called Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, or EMDR. Recommended by health authorities for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR therapy identifies the origin of our trauma-driven dysfunctions and then works to resolve these in a tightly-focused way. We use EMDR to unpack the emotion, the thoughts and the body’s physical sensations that are locked in old wounds, and to kick-start the body’s natural healing process. This is done with short sets of bilateral sensory stimulation of 30–40 or so seconds. In the jargon of EMDR, we call this Dual Attention Stimulus or DAS. You may use buzzers in each hand, or headphones clicking alternately left and right, or side to side eye movements as in REM sleep to deliver bilateral signals alternately to the left and right brain hemispheres. Guided and witnessed by the therapist, these sets of bilateral stimulation take you back in time, into the roots of your traumatic memories big and small, with one foot in the safety and groundedness of the present and one foot in the past, as you work through the trauma memory and share whatever your nervous system is bringing back into conscious awareness. It doesn’t always do the trick, of course – there’s no such thing as a miracle cure – but after more than 10 years of practice I continue to be astonished by the power and speed with which EMDR can shift hard-wired distress. To illustrate this, and to explore where the roots of your own issues might lie, take a look at the exercise in the adjacent box. Dr. Laurel Parnell, author of Attachment-Focused EMDR and my own most influential psychotherapy teacher, calls this the Bridging Technique.
“Trauma, both ‘big T’ and ‘small t’, can seriously damage our emotional wellbeing for an entire lifetime.” The Bridging Technique Focus on a situation that bothers you and freeze-frame that moment as if it were a photograph. Once you see the picture clearly in your mind’s eye, ask yourself the following questions. Just observe whatever comes up for you, don’t judge it. 1. What does the image make me feel, emotionally? Choose just one word. 2. Where is that feeling residing in my body? It could be anywhere, from the heart to the gut to your little toe. Just trust what you notice. 3. What’s the negative thought I have about myself that’s attached to this? It could be anything – “I’m not safe, I’m a bad person, I’m incompetent, I can’t handle it”, etc. 4. And now, the key bit, three short instructions: • Drop back/trace it back in time • Go back as far as you can go • Above all, don’t censor what comes to mind. 5. Compassionately witness that experience. Observe those feelings and thoughts, which will probably be from childhood. Allow yourself long enough to take the experience on board, then come gently back to now. You may want to note down what you’ve observed and connected to. 6. Greater awareness. Take time, perhaps with a friend, someone you trust, maybe even a therapist, to reflect on how the long-term impact of those old – ‘small t’, possibly ‘big T’ – experiences are compromising your life and relationships today.
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“THE ACCUMULATION OF SUBJECTIVE MISERY UNDERMINES OUR SENSE OF BEING LOVEABLE.” While this particular technique isn’t a treatment of trauma, the insights it gives might prompt your thinking left brain and your feeling right brain (to seriously simplify how our nervous systems work) to connect the dots back to how you got to be the way you are. What better place to start the journey of profound personal change? You don’t need to have had a difficult childhood to benefit from the Hoffman Process – ‘normal’ ones still offer plenty of material. But as Hoffman quite rightly argues, we can all get more from or just ask more of life if we’re clear of unnecessary baggage. One final disclaimer: it ultimately depends on you. After all, how many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one. But the lightbulb has to want to change.
For more information, visit Mark’s website www.braynework.com.
Clare Gilsenan Solution-Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist EMDR, EFT, NLP, HeartMath Coach and Bereavement Counsellor
Mark recommends... The best and most accessible book about trauma and EMDR is probably Healing without Freud or Prozac by my sadly now-deceased colleague David Servan-Schreiber. For a very simple guide to helping yourself feel better about your past and future with the use of bilateral tapping, try Laurel Parnell’s Tapping In.
HOFFMAN TEACHER & RELATIONSHIP COACH
One to one sessions Couples’ Intensives The painless way to resolve anxiety, addictions, phobias, trauma and more
London or Bordeaux email@example.com
www.makingachange.co.uk T: 07957 621107 Based in West Sussex
24 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
5 minute INTERVIEW the
With Hoffman Graduate Bilal Hallab
HAT TRIGGERED YOUR DECISION W TO DO THE HOFFMAN PROCESS?
SO WHAT NEXT?
he tipping point was when I felt that I T loved my wife (Ruba, pictured) and I adored my daughter, but somehow I couldn’t express or show that love.
I went on a Hoffman Post-Process Q2 three day top-up eighteen months after my Process. It was surreal. A refresher, to say the least.
I’ve been an angry person most of my adult life, but right before going on the Process, I felt everything made me angry. I would be filled with rage – uncontrollable rage. I felt that I was disconnected from everything beautiful around me, but somehow inside I could see that I would be able to love, if my feelings were channelled property.
When we leave the Process, we are equipped with many tools to keep us on track. But tools are only as good as the commitment to using them. I have promised myself to keep being my true spirit in all situations and forgive myself when I fall.
Every once in a while, I practice one of those tools or meditate or do a breathing exercise, just to remind myself of how calm and peaceful and positive and genuinely happy I was the day I graduated from the Process.
WHAT SORT OF ENVIRONMENT WERE YOU WORKING IN?
I was starting to experience myself as someone with low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I would question every comment and every remark that came my way, whether it was about my appearance, my work or my thoughts and feelings and plans. Suddenly I felt that most, if not all, of the people in my life were against me in anything and everything I said or did.
5 “I have promised myself to keep being my true spirit in all situations and forgive myself when I fall.”
I would break things, a lot of things. I wanted to raise my daughter in an environment filled with love and support and compassion and positivity and smiles and laughter, not in anger and rage, negativity and self-doubt. She was the bullet that set me free and my wife pulled the trigger with the support she expressed to me to take on the Process.
OW HAS DOING THE HOFFMAN PROCESS ALTERED H YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE?
Life is always filled with ups and downs, but being aware and knowing how to cope with the downs is a beautiful gift. That’s exactly what the Process gave me in the long term. Being able to express exactly how I feel to people – whether positive or negative – is beautiful. The Process taught me how to let go and let love in. The Process allowed me to shut off all the negative love and all the patterns I inherited from my childhood that were eating me up from the inside and were so strong that they were able to completely hide and kidnap my true spirit. Inner peace, self-worth, self-confidence, love; all are the results of my Process. With those I am able to be the true gentleman my wife deserves, and live up to being my daughter’s superhero.
AND ONE FINAL COMMENT?
No matter how aware you think you are, no matter how in control of your life you think you are, no matter how cynical or sceptical you are, there are things in the Process that will blow your mind. You will be exposed to methods and tools to break through your ‘ugly’ patterns so strongly, you might not comprehend why or how you reacted in certain ways before the Process.
I don’t think that any psychiatrist or book is able to break you down and make you cry like a child and laugh like a child and then, on the seventh day, stand up on your feet communicating with every inch of your body and mind and spirit and heart. You will come out of the Hoffman Process a new person. People may even say you look different!
Bilal is originally from the Lebanese Republic, but now lives in Saudi Arabia, where he runs The Social Clinic, Saudi’s first Social Business Consultancy and Social Media agency. Bilal did the Process at Florence House in 2015, and came back to the UK to take the Q2 three day refresher in 2016. We would like to thank Bilal and his wife Ruba for agreeing to share their story with our readers. More Process Stories from Hoffman Graduates can be found on our website: www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk/process-stories. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 25
POSITIVE change by Ayesha Vardag
a business visionary
After years searching for a relationship that worked, award-winning international family lawyer Ayesha Vardag did the Hoffman Process. Transforming the relationship she had with herself reaped rewards that rippled out to all areas of her life. Her Process vision attracted a joyful new romantic partnership, a happily blended family and fast, innovative business growth. Hoffman is about positive change – about clearing the decks and using practical tools to make a good life for yourself and those around you. Of all the Hoffman Process tools that we learned, it was the visualisations that affected me most profoundly. One I still remember vividly involved relationships, which were my main motivation for attending. Up to then I’d chosen man after glamorous and unloving man, all hard-wired to end up rejecting me. The course helped me to see how this reflected my father’s lifelong absence and the sense of rejection that had left me with.
“Hoffman gave me back my capacity to dream, to plan for happiness and to make my dreams come true.”
So when I was asked to visualise where I should like to be in five years, I conjured up an image of a long, wooden table, with a huge window overlooking the sea far below. An intellectual, arty husband sat at one end, and his children mingled comfortably with mine. We were all chatting, reading the paper and exchanging jokes and ideas.
Last Christmas I had the sudden flash that what I was seeing before me was exactly what I had visualised. The same happened with my law firm, Vardags. At the time I went to Hoffman it was distinguished but small. On the course I fast-forwarded five years and saw it as the leading family law firm in England and Wales. After I left the Process I kept pushing the firm to the next level and the next, refusing to stand still. Now Vardags has the biggest presence in 26 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
the high-net-worth divorce field and is extending into other areas such as corporate and criminal law. It’s the only law firm on the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 list. I’ve even been voted NatWest Everywoman Woman of the Year for changing the legal landscape. I’ve set up flexible working for parents and we pay for their children to be at top nurseries, described by Vanessa Feltz as “a Rolls Royce package”, so they don’t have to wait to have children or choose between family and career. We also fund a graduate training scheme to combat economic inequality, so the most talented aspiring lawyers can get their qualifications while working with and being financed by us.
These things have made me and others very happy, as well as making sound business sense. So that vision, too, came to pass. I can’t overemphasise how important learning to visualise has been for me. Of course it’s nothing supernatural – it’s as simple as defining your goals clearly, then allowing the myriad of unconscious and conscious choices you make every day to take you towards them. Sooner or later, like magic, I realised I was exactly where I wanted to be. Hoffman gave me back my capacity to dream, to plan for happiness and to make my dreams come true. That has had a wonderful ripple effect, as I have tried, with the power, responsibility and confidence my firm and my family has given me, to create positive change for those in my world.
“SOONER OR LATER, LIKE MAGIC, I REALISED I WAS EXACTLY WHERE I WANTED TO BE.”
NOURISH flourish &
Many people understand the relationship between meditation, mindfulness or walking in nature with nourishing their inner life. The Hoffman Process teaches us the importance of nurturing our physical self in finding self-balance too.
The experience of being sustained with delicious, natural food at Process venues plays a huge part in our journey of growth, and often leads to a renewed commitment to a healthier, more wholesome diet in those who have taken the Process. On these pages, you can hear from some Hoffman Graduates who have been inspired Post-Process to spread their enthusiasm for food and its nutritious value, and a recipe from the cookbook produced by Florence House, one of our most popular Process venues.
T H E AU T H O R AN D C AMPAI G N E R:
Rachel Kelly Rachel is a writer, journalist and mental health campaigner who runs workshops in prisons, for mental health charities and companies. Her success in treating depression through diet led to her latest book, The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food, cooked up with the help of nutritionist Alice Mackintosh.
Image ©Libi Pedder
“Even though I completed my Process nearly a decade ago, many moments are still vividly etched on my memory. Hoffman’s holistic approach to good mental health is one that’s stayed with me. Nurturing ourselves extends to how and what we eat and the Hoffman kitchen was indeed a happy one: I remember delighting in wholesome, nourishing food and a celebration of eating communally. Thank you to the Process for making me curious about the healing power of food – and much else besides.” www.rachel-kelly.net
T H E MAST E RC H E F STAR:
James Villiers We were in awe of the courage shown by James for putting himself forward as a contestant in BBC cookery show MasterChef: The Professionals. Week on week we found ourselves gripped by his progress as he braved challenges set by judges Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti, faced some of the country’s fiercest culinary critics and cooked for the French Ambassador, eventually making it all the way through to the semi-finals. What we couldn’t see on screen was the extent that James had challenged himself beforehand by agreeing to take part in the series, claiming to have been “a bundle of nerves” at the prospect of taking part; “This year I turned a corner and what better way to get over the cycle of fear of being judged and criticised than to do what I do best and go on the well known TV show? This whole experience has made me stronger and more confident and has changed me. My Hoffman work has played more of a role this year than any other, so I want to say thank you.” @ChefVilliers on Facebook and Twitter. 28 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
T HE NUTRITIONAL THER A P I S T:
T H E SC I E N T I ST:
Joan Borysenko, PHD
Nutritional therapist and author of Eat, Nourish, Glow, Amelia Freer found a change in diet to be key in resolving her own health challenges. She’s now passionate about making healthy eating accessible.
Psychologist and cell biologist Joan Borysenko is world-renowned as a pioneer in integrative medicine and an expert in the mind-body connection. More recently, her focus on nutrition has resulted in the publication of The PlantPlus Diet Solution.
Her recent successes with clients such as Kirstie Allsopp, Boy George and James Corden are helping her raise awareness of food as an important element in self-care and self-empowerment.
“What’s become clear is that there’s an interdependent relationship between nature and nurture… Changing your nutritional habits as part of a recovery programme can make a vital difference.
“The Hoffman Process gave me the tools to grow in confidence and hence to pursue my career and my own happiness. I benefited enormously from the experience and recommend it regularly.”
The Process boosts self-respect and encourages greater self-care, so improving your nutrition tends to move higher up your list of priorities by the end of the course.”
THE HOFFMAN QUADRINITY PROCESS IS A BANQUET FOR THE SOUL.
MARK VICTOR HANSEN, CO-CREATOR OF THE CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL BOOK SERIES
Feta and sweet potato frittata
T HE HEALTH- CONSC I OUS RE C IPE DEVEL OPER :
Emma Carlton Doing Hoffman in 2005 ignited a passion in Emma for healthy food and she decided to train in nutrition. Bringing her originality into the kitchen led to her creating an award-winning pudding company and national recognition. Emma now develops healthy recipes that cut out or reduce sugar content and increase nutritional value.
This frittata is a great wheat-free alternative to quiche. You can find dozens of delicious recipes like this in the Florence House Cookbook, available to order from: www.florencehouse.co.uk.
Image ©Irena Childers
“My life has taken off in directions I could never have imagined before doing the Process. I found the courage to explore new creative territory. I’m now focused on recipe development and the need to educate both the public and manufacturers about the use of healthier, innovative ingredients. There is such a measure of love in what I do now that it doesn’t feel like work.” www.emmacarlton.com THE S TR EET FOOD S UP RE MO :
Michael Djuric Michael Djuric’s new venture as ‘M’Lord of the Fries’ is definitely a Hoffman first – from frustrated owner of a pet grooming parlour to a happy vibrant street food vendor is a leap we haven’t seen before – and perhaps neither has anyone else! “The Process provided me with the courage and confidence I needed in order to follow my adventurous side. I’m now on an exciting journey following a dream of my very own. I really have to credit Hoffman for allowing me to unlock my true self and just live life to the full.”
Ingredients 2 – 3 large sweet potatoes Handful of pumpkin seeds Sprinkle of Cajun spice (optional) 1 block of feta cheese
Small bunch of fresh chopped parsley 8 eggs 125ml milk (or cream) Freshly ground black pepper
Method Preheat the oven to 200° C, Gas Mark 6. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Place in a roasting tin with the pumpkin seeds, Cajun spice (if using) and olive oil and toss until the sweet potatoes are coated. Roast in the oven until soft, without browning too much. When cooked, turn the oven down to 180 °C, Gas 4. Put the sweet potatoes into a flan dish, then crumble the feta cheese over the top and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Whisk the eggs and milk together (or cream if feeling indulgent!) and pour over the potatoes and cheese. Top with some black pepper and bake in the oven until just set. Serve warm with a nice salad and some crusty bread.
www.mlordofthefries.com w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 29
“DURING THE HOFFMAN PROCESS I CAME TO TRULY UNDERSTAND HOW MY EXPERIENCE OF BOARDING HAD SHAPED ME.”
by Michael Freeman
What does it mean for a ten year old boy, barely four foot tall, to leave home? What does it cost him to fit into the systems of an institution?
Boarding schools, those peculiarly British institutions, play a significant role in the moulding of current and future generations. They promise academic success, the development of potential and the prize of a ‘good job’ at the
spontaneous and unabashed playfulness? In a crowd of faces, what chance is there for that which is unique and special about us to be seen and nurtured?
end. At least, that’s the story with the happy ending. This is my experience of what it meant to grow up in this environment and to call school ‘home’.
The longing for home was strong. One Sunday I convinced myself that my parents were coming to visit. Throughout the day I returned to the window, looking to see if the car in the street was theirs. By the end of the afternoon I’d swallowed the disappointment and stopped looking. The hoped-for reprieve didn’t come.
‘Home’ can feel like the whole world to a child. The unwritten rules of the family are followed as naturally as breathing and when this system is disrupted it can be upsetting and confusing. Soon after my 10th birthday I went to boarding school. From the safety of home it seemed an exciting prospect. I was flying the nest, following my older brother and growing up. A few days into the school year, the sense of loss hit. School had become everything and the security of my known world was shattered. As a boarder I woke up in a shared dormitory, ate meals in the dining hall, studied in a classroom, played in a games room and fell asleep in the same dormitory. Every aspect of my life was defined by school.
The physical changes of adolescence are dramatic and personal. Shared dormitories and shower rooms and a backdrop of corporal punishment and medical examinations meant this very personal transformation was exposed and laid bare. The attitudes and beliefs of the institution shaped my understanding of my physicality and emerging sexuality. The realisation that I was gay came with the understanding that this was something to hide. Boys observed and judged each other, looking for any indication that someone might be ‘queer’. The way that a boy walked, sat or talked was scrutinised and judged. The consequences of not conforming were harsh and unforgiving.
“The pecking order of seniority was firmly established and bullying could be relentless and unforgiving.”
In the 1980s the image of boarding schools as fearsome places where fagging was the norm and staff were the dictators of their domain was changing. The threat of violence was nevertheless constant. Prefects had power and the freedom to exert it as only young men know how. Staff still used corporal punishment, or the threat of it, to maintain order. The pecking order of seniority was firmly established and bullying could be relentless and unforgiving. To stay safe, I learnt to adapt. I followed the rules and studied hard. I made myself small and unthreatening and, when violence erupted, I absorbed the pain and made myself smaller. A new normal was established. If school replaced home, then teachers replaced parents. Every year a new group of children arrived, as a group of young adults departed. Our safety and security was managed with universally-applied rules and expectations. The very best teachers inspired a lifelong interest in their subject, but as children caught up in the academic cycle, what space was there to feel uniquely cared for?
Behind the school gates, who is there to notice the ups and downs, to meet the often unexpressed needs, to soothe and hug? What space is there for
So I learned what was needed in order to stay safe, buried what needed to be hidden, left unsaid that which couldn’t be voiced and evolved in response to my environment. I got the grades, started work and became an adult. “It was just the way it was.”
I said this a lot. I wanted what had been there to be what was right. I’d passed each academic checkpoint, taken part in the activities, followed the rules, shown up on time, been a team player and paid the price of fitting in. I’d enjoyed privilege and opportunity, so why the deep sadness? Why the anxiety and sense of loss? Why my fury? During the Hoffman Process I came to truly understand how my experience of boarding had shaped me. I became aware of the structures of the institution and how I had been forced to adapt. I found a safe space to let go of the anger and the fear. Breaking down 8 years of institutionalised upbringing I found freedom and a new sense of possibility. A new chapter could begin.
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Image Â©Lizi Hill
UN L E A S H I N G
Image ©Fenby Miskin
Hoffman Graduate Lizi Hill is a professional artist with a passion for the creative arts. She shapes materials into sculptural forms exploring the idea of movement, taking inspiration from the natural world and the laws of nature. We asked Lizi how doing the Hoffman Process affected her work. I create sculptural pieces in ceramic, wood and metal, exploring the nature of movement and movement in nature. My aim is to create a calm and peaceful space, making full use of light, reflection and shadow. The Hoffman Process enabled me to gain the confidence to complete my art degree with a distinction and to work professionally as an artist on an international level. I am now working on Percentage for Art projects in the UK with two sculptures in Jersey and a third, 6-metre piece under construction. In addition, I have work in Switzerland, France, Holland and Finland and have just embarked on a exciting project called Paper Dialogues with a Norwegian and Chinese artist, creating papercutting art/sculpture. After making the career transition from teaching to art, this is a dream come true. I’ve made such a massive leap thanks to the courage and confidence I gained from completing the Process. I feel so valued and proud to be creating art with passion and love. My inner child is in absolute bliss to be pursuing the passion that I’ve had all my life. Thanks to the Hoffman Process, my creativity has been unleashed.
You can see Lizi’s work on her website: www.lizihill.com. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 33
SAME CARDIGAN different mother by Mathew Calvana
For years, Matthew Calvana found it difficult to emotionally integrate the circumstances of his birth and adoption. Finally, in his forties, he found the courage to get support. In March 2013, I received an email from my birth mother with a baby photo attached. She wrote: “this picture was taken on the day you were adopted, so it’s very precious to me. We weren’t really allowed to take pictures of our babies, but one of the girls sneaked a camera in.” I am lying on a bed in a sort of bonnet, looking like an oompa-loompa, staring up at the camera. My little hands are clasped on my chest as if I am braced for something. I’m wearing a hand-knitted yellow cardigan. The first photograph in our family album is one of me at two months old wearing the same cardigan. The lady kneeling behind me is holding me upright on a rug. She is my adoptive mother Margaret, who’d picked me up from the adoption agency that day. She has a Dusty Springfield hairstyle and sits proudly next to a large wood-encased TV that sets the scene in the mid-1960s.
“This picture was taken on the day you were adopted, so it’s very precious to me”
Same cardigan, different mother. My young birth mother had been rejected by her Italian boyfriend, my birth father. When she returned to England, her parents disowned her. The shame was too great. The no.1 song in the charts the week I was adopted was You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield. A cover of an Italian song, a song about abandonment. Coincidence? I was five when my mother told me that I was adopted. I loved the story of being ‘chosen’ and wanted to hear it again and again. But after this brief episode, it was never spoken of. We flinched if adoption was mentioned on TV. I came to believe that my side of the bargain was to stay silent. I was forty-five when I finally told someone that I was adopted, and that person was my fiancée, three weeks before our wedding. One of the few things I felt control over in my life was the nontelling of my story. It was mine; messy, scary, not even completely clear to me, but it was mine to air…or not. Not saying what was really going on inside me, or where I came from, meant that I appeared ‘normal’ or – more importantly to me – just like everyone else. I had created a varied cast of characters to convey this message: ‘Always try my best’ Mathew, ‘Joker’ Mathew, and above all ‘Everything’s fine’ Mathew. These versions of me had one thing 34 | Hof fman Institute UK: +44 (0)1903 88 99 90
in common; they were all exhausting. Anyone who knew me would say I was fun perhaps, hard-working always, loyal even, but always ‘full-on’. Eventually I ran out of steam. My first panic attack was so severe that I blacked out and was carted off in an ambulance. Many more episodes followed, annoyingly with no real pattern: one watching TV; one on a train where I was convinced I was having a stroke; a spectacular episode of blindness on a conference call; another watching Tom Cruise being electrocuted in Mission Impossible, which triggered several hours of violent shaking and head pains and another visit to A&E. Two years of medical examinations followed; numerous MRI brain scans, gastroscopies, and heart examinations. Finally it was the neurologist who broke the news, peering over his reading glasses. Panic, or anxiety. I sat staring at him, speechless. I had imagined anxiety to be like nettle rash: irritating but no big deal, especially if you ignored it. But he was right. I was in the grip of frequent panic attacks and more bodily sensations than I could describe or handle. I was still pretending all was fine. To preserve energy, I withdrew socially. But this only fuelled the anxiety. “Did they notice I was anxious?” was my constant thought.
“I LAUGHED A LOT, CRIED A LOT AND REALISED THAT I WAS NOT ALONE IN FEELING UNHAPPY.” I could not pinpoint why I was this way. I understood intellectually that what had happened to me in my life might have affected me. I was obsessed with knowing the precise cause of my suffering. Was it the adoption or some other unpleasant event in my life? But thinking was never going to be the way out. Thinking is part of the problem. I needed to be safely guided through my past and to process the emotion of it all. I knew I had to talk to a therapist of some kind. I found myself sneaking off in my lunch break to a cosy, twin-armchaired room in west London. Amazingly, this room was only 300 metres from
I went on to trace and meet my birth mother, discover and meet two half-sisters (very powerful, having been an only child with no grandparents or aunts/uncles in my life). I told anyone who would listen that I was adopted. I discovered that my birth father had had the same job as me, in the same city in Europe. Another coincidence? Adoption is everywhere and yet secrecy still surrounds it. Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Marilyn Monroe, Mother Theresa, Leo Tolstoy and Eric Clapton. I’d bet my Crystal Maze winners medal that no-one reading this would have known that all six were adopted.
the agency where I had been adopted over 40 years earlier. My first taste of therapy was bearable once I got over the “I know why you’re here” look from the receptionist. But I must have been an exhausting and frustrating client. I spoke too quickly in sessions, trying to analyse what I had just said. I made Ronnie Corbett look concise. My therapist said I was like a pressure cooker; we needed the lid to come off slowly. Trusting in therapy was difficult for me. My urge to control was so strong; letting go was frightening.
“I was forty-five when I finally told someone that I was adopted, and that person was my fiancée, three weeks before our wedding.”
My defences were too much for hourly sessions. Sitting there in my suit, I recoiled when I got close to a breakthrough. After a year, my therapist recommended the Hoffman Process. I arrived in Seaford in Sussex to start the Process on a Friday morning in October 2011. I was shaking with nerves but calmed a little as I saw the others and the beautiful surroundings. What unfurled over that week was the most authentic and important experience of my life. I had for once stopped running and in a safe environment began to unpack the crazy world of me. I laughed a lot, cried a lot and realised that I was not alone in feeling unhappy. I listened to people’s stories and was bowled over by their bravery – bravery through vulnerability, an alien concept to me. My knees shook as I stood up. I decided to tell this room of strangers that I was adopted.
Secrecy is exhausting. It fosters shame, and shame eats away inside, feeding the original trauma. Until recently I used to tell myself that I was never conscious of any shame growing up, but I can now see that this was mainly because as a child I didn’t understand the concept or its name. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I am grateful I have begun to make peace with myself. Undoing decades of instinctive behaviour will take time – but I am so pleased I have started.
“The part of the Process 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 mothers – but looking back, that was also the turning point.” SAM OBERNIK, SINGER SONGWRITER.
I had no character for this occasion – I spoke, through the tears, and sat down. I felt like I had ripped off my clothing and was sitting there naked. I looked around for signs of disapproval or ridicule but found only the attentive eyes of support. The reasons why we were all present that week were as diverse as the number we totalled. What we had in common was our suffering and a desire to change. One Sunday morning six months afterwards, lazing on our bed together as a family, I told my children about my adoption. w ww.hof fmaninstitute.co.uk | 35
spiritual CO NN EC T I ON By Nikki Wyatt, with thanks to Patrick Holford
What do you rely on to jump-start your day? What do you turn to in low moments to get you back on track? If the answer to either of those questions includes coffee, alcohol, retail therapy, medication or aimlessly surfing the web, then youâ€™re not alone.
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People enquiring about the Process often talk about a sense of something lacking in their lives. An emptiness. A hole. They may have ways to fill the void by keeping busy, but this is only a temporary strategy. What if that hole inside became a doorway; the entrance to a new way of experiencing life? With the guidance of skilled teachers and the support of a group of fellow-travellers cheering you on, stepping into the void together is often the most breathtaking and rewarding moment of the Process. It brings us face-to-face with issues we’ve been avoiding. By integrating the Hoffman tools and understanding the four aspects of ourselves – intellect, emotions, body and spirit – we can learn ways to replace the emptiness with self-love and self-compassion, and life can become the rich, creative experience it’s meant to be. Full expression of our most authentic essence is described as our ‘spiritual self’ on the Process, and it’s often the most healing revelation of all. It doesn’t require, or interfere with, any existing religious beliefs – it’s simply a sense of self beyond emotions, physical body or intellect. It’s a part of you that is wise, authentic, loving and unpatterned. Finding spiritual connection fills the hole inside. It allows people to pursue a long-cherished dream or embrace a passion for something that they had suppressed or never acknowledged. It’s what brings more fun, more pleasure, more love and more meaning to life. As a society in the West, we can still be very reluctant to discuss our spirituality, but people who understand that there is a link between the mind and the body are often more open to a spiritual
“THE CONNECTION TO OUR HIGHEST ESSENCE IS AS A RESULT OF OUR STRIVING TO RECONNECT WITH LOVE.” approach. Nutrition expert Patrick Holford, for example, who has long advanced the opinion that our emotions, diet and mental health are intricately linked, has focused on spirituality in his most recent book, The Chemistry of Connection. Patrick says: “There is a false idea that is going viral in our culture, that there is no ‘higher intelligence’, no grace, no great spirit or God; that life is a matter of chance and we are just the end product of ‘selfish genes’ programmed for ‘survival of the fittest’; a carbon unit that expires with no life after death; that consciousness is an ineffable thing, a ‘trick’ of the brain. I call this atheistic scientism – scientism because it lacks any proof whatsoever. After 50 years of advanced neuroscience, no-one has yet even found memory in the brain, let alone consciousness. Yet, consciousness awareness is the result of reconnecting with whatever we believe to be ‘love’, with an open and trusting heart, which expands each time we make a choice of love (over not-love) in interaction with ourselves and each other. The human body can be divided into five main cavities – the pelvic cavity containing our sexual and reproductive organs; abdominal cavity containing our digestive organs; the thoracic cavity with our heart and lungs; the cranial cavity of the brain and the vertebral cavity of the spine which connects everything. Relating to these, as sexual and sensual beings, that’s what makes human life juicy. However, our physicality is merely one aspect of our whole being. We are also emotional and relational beings. We are intellectual beings, with access to wisdom, intuition and consciousness. And we are loving beings. These are the five keys of our humanness, yet the connection to our highest essence is as a result of our striving to reconnect with Love. The most effective way I know of doing this is the Hoffman Process which personally transformed my relationships as a result of the 7-day experience, and got me not only out of a rut at the time, but out of a cycle that had inevitably led to failed relationships. Since then I have been happily married, having soon after found the love of my life.”
You can find more information on Patrick and The Chemistry of Connection at: www.patrickholford.com.
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TOO CLOSE for comfort by Eleanor Moran
Eleanor Moran credits the Process with helping her realise the harm that putting her father on a pedestal was having on her adult relationships.
The hotel function room was packed tight with tables, drunken voices raised to cut through the hubbub. It was a TV awards do, guests all dressed up and the booze flowing like a river bursting
me about his adult problems, read to me from novels and let me stay up until midnight watching films with him. I loved feeling like a grown up, too young to realise how confused and damaging our
its banks. As I manoeuvred through the crowd, my eyes met his. This was the older writer I’d been seeing – and obsessing about – for the past few months.
I’d convinced myself that the reason he was so unreliable, so hard to track down, was because he lived at the other end of the country. Now I had a freeze frame of the real reason he was so reluctant to commit: the girlfriend he’d sworn he’d broken up with months before, her hand intertwined with his. The fact that he was ‘staying in the spare room’ of the house that they shared together should have been a warning, but I had chosen to ignore it. Now denial was no longer an option. I turned on my heel and fled into the night.
I was 28 that night I fled the party, and something in me knew that if I didn’t change the way I was living, I’d spend the rest of my adult life in a prison of my own making. It was the Hoffman Process that handed me the keys to get out – a week-long intensive group retreat where you identify the childhood patterns that are still running your life. Hoffman has been widely praised by celebrities – Sienna Miller is its most recent vocal fan – but it’s more than a fad. It’s tough and profound, and offers a real chance to make your life better. Having heard about it from an older friend, I maxed out all my credit cards, lied to work about a last-minute holiday, and set off for a big house deep in the Sussex countryside.
“That was the moment I knew something fundamental had to change.”
That was the moment I knew something fundamental had to change. The men I was attracted to – charming, older and inevitably unavailable – were living ghosts of the first man who’d fitted that description. The father I’d never lived with, but had spent my childhood idolising, and pining for during his frequent absences from my life. He’d died a few short years earlier, and my complicated grief about it was casting a long shadow over my whole life. My father had so much promise as a young man – he was witty, academically gifted and handsome – and I can absolutely understand why my mum had fallen for him when they met at university. But he struggled to deliver on that early potential. They had me young, and I think the responsibility was too great. He left when I was still a baby, and proceeded to drift through life, never finding a meaningful career or remarrying. He drank too much, and was always broke. As a result, his life was precarious – there were times when he was even homeless – but I would still long for the school holidays when I could visit him. These times were intense. He’d confide in
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Before the Process begins, you write reams of notes about your early life and your current issues. My teacher, motherly and tough all at once, identified my core issue the moment I met her. “You’re a daddy’s girl,” she said. “There’s always at least one on every Process.” Soon I was sitting in a circle, peering suspiciously at the rest of my group and wondering what had brought each of them here. With no phone or email, they were going to be all I had for the rest of the week. As they started to speak, my inner critic reared up in judgment of the corpulent banker whose marriage was on the rocks and the stern German woman who seemed to have had a sense-ofhumour bypass. Why hadn’t I splurged my hard-earned cash on a holiday when I still had the chance? What I came to learn was that working in a group can be incredibly healing. I’d had plenty of therapy before, but now I was peeling back my defences with 20 people who were feeling equally vulnerable. When I showed them who I really was, they didn’t run away screaming. Perhaps I didn’t need to be perfect to be lovable after all? I had a busy, high-profile career, and the
“HOFFMAN GAVE ME THE CHANCE TO GROW UP.”
grief that dogged me often felt like something to hide or be ashamed of. It was such a relief to know I wasn’t the only one feeling like I lived a double life. Over the course of that week I came to understand why I’d put my father on such a pedestal as a little girl, even though he’d been at best unreliable, and at worst downright dangerous. I couldn’t afford to question his behaviour, because I was too frightened that if I made demands on him, he’d disappear from my life again. Instead I’d rationalise it, and take the blame on myself. He would leave me alone at night, petrified, and I would wish I was grown up enough not to bother him with my petty terror. When he burned the house down when I was 10, forcing us to shin down a drainpipe to escape, I experienced a strange kind of triumph about the fact that I’d been the one to wake us up and save his life. Our roles had always been reversed, with my narcissistic father the child and me a miniature adult: unable to cope, but valiantly trying. All of this had taught me that relationships with men involved winning their love; that their affection should be something to fight for. So it was the men who offered the biggest challenge who stole my heart. The reverse was true too – I could be harsh and callous with the kind of ‘boring’ men who called when they said they would and made it clear they wanted to be with me.
As an adult I still tried to be no bother with the older, unavailable men who invariably stole my heart. I knew instinctively they had little to give me, and tiptoed around them, a meek, bland version of myself. It meant part of me was still that child, frozen in time; Hoffman gave me the chance to grow up. Now I could parent that child, move through the anger, and find compassion for my damaged, broken dad from an adult place. He too was a product of his upbringing, and I could end a cycle that had probably stretched back through generations. In one visualisation exercise, imagining how my own life would turn out if I carried on acting from those early hurts, I felt a proper change. I knew in that moment that I was absolutely committed to living a different life from the short, painful one he had experienced.
“ I don’t believe our early life ever leaves us, but I certainly think we can relate to it in a very different way once we have awareness of its patterns.”
The Hoffman Process is shrouded in some secrecy, as it’s very experiential. You revisit the pain of early life in a way that’s safe but also visceral. I’d read enough self-help books to fill a library, but when you’re on the Process, there’s no hiding behind your intellectual understanding of what’s made you the way you are. You rage and cry, and regress to some very early experiences. Over the course of that week I was able to really feel the anger that it was too dangerous for me to express as a child, for fear of triggering another of my father’s long, agonising disappearances.
Hoffman is a long time ago now, but I still feel grateful for the shift it gave me. I don’t believe our early life ever leaves us, but I certainly think we can relate to it in a very different way once we have awareness of its patterns. I can even see positive sides to the start I had in life. I treasure stability and kindness now. I also know that most of us have secret hurts that we’re trying to conceal, which hopefully makes me more empathetic.
And all that therapy gave me a heroine for my novels – a psychotherapist with a screwy past who ends up advising the police on their most emotionally complex cases. Definitely a bigger win than a week in Tenerife.
Eleanor Moran’s book Too Close for Comfort, published by Simon & Schuster is out now. See our Hoffman Bookshelf feature on page 16 to find out more. Article reproduced with kind permission of The Guardian.
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Hoffman International was set up in 1997 to ensure the quality, standards and delivery of the Process are upheld throughout the world. HOFFMAN ARGENTINA www.quadrinidad.com.ar HOFFMAN AUSTRALIA www.quadrinity.com.au HOFFMAN AUSTRIA www.hoffman-institut.at HOFFMAN BRAZIL www.centrohoffman.com.br www.institutohoffman.com.br www.processohoffman.com www.processohoffmanbrasil.com.br HOFFMAN CANADA www.hoffmaninstitute.ca HOFFMAN FRANCE www.institut-hoffman.com HOFFMAN GERMANY www.hoffman-seminar.de www.hoffman-quadrinity.de HOFFMAN IRELAND www.hoffmanireland.com HOFFMAN ITALY www.istitutohoffman.it HOFFMAN RUSSIA www.hoffman-institut.ru HOFFMAN SINGAPORE www.hoffmanprocess.com.au HOFFMAN SPAIN www.institutohoffman.com HOFFMAN SWITZERLAND www.hoffman-institut.ch
The Hoffman Process:
7 to find out more ways
If you’ve already decided to enrol on the Hoffman Process, great! You can check availability and register on our website: www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk. If you’ve still got a few questions or just want to know a little more about what we do, here are some suggestions. We look forward to connecting with you, whichever step you choose.
Our enrolment team are happy to arrange a confidential, one-to-one call to find out whether the Process is right for you.
Call in from anywhere in the world and join a call hosted by a member of the Hoffman team. You can just listen in or, if you have a question, we’ll be delighted to help. The Phone-In is free of charge; you will only pay for the cost of your call. Low-cost numbers for callers from outside the UK are listed on our website.
Book a free telephone consultation
Attend an Information Evening We run monthly Information Evenings at Regent’s University London. These are free of charge and perfect if you’d like a general introduction to Hoffman, to meet members of the Hoffman team and to speak with people who have already done the Process.
Come to an Introduction Day Introduction Days are practical, standalone workshops for people who wish to find out more about the Process and get a flavour of its tools and techniques. Whether you go on to do the full Process or not, you will definitely learn some useful skills and practical tools to help you with your day-to-day life. The cost of attending an Introduction Day is refunded if you then go on to do the Process.
Join an Information Phone-In
Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter Our free e-newsletter is delivered to your inbox once a month, bringing you stories, up-to-date news and offers from Hoffman. We won’t share your details with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Read You Can Change Your Life Hoffman UK founder Tim Laurence’s book provides a clear and detailed introduction to the Process and its ethos, plus practical exercises to help you start your Hoffman journey at your own pace.
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The Hoffman Process allows you to take an in-depth look at how your past has shaped your present – and how it continues to impact on your fu...
Published on Feb 1, 2017
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...