50 YEARS LATER, BOB HOFFMAN’S DREAM LIVES ON
Robert Hoffman, founder of the Hoffman Process, had an innate and highly gifted ability to listen to deeper truths and wisdoms. It became his mission to figure out how to have more love in the world and in each person’s life and heal the rifts we have in our beings as a result of not being unconditionally loved as children. Bob understood that, during childhood, we imitate our parents to win their love and attention by copying their moods, attitudes, beliefs, spoken expressions and even body movements and this is how fundamental aspects of our characters are formed. By copying these elements, we are also seeking their love – “If I do or saying anything you do or say, now will you love me because I’m just like you!”
The Hoffman Process began its evolution in Oakland, California, in 1967. Bob began by asking clients to write emotionally charged autobiographies of their lives from birth to puberty. Then he looked at the negative emotional traits of each of their birth parents and started to develop an intuitive understanding of the emotional history of the client’s parents; this he termed ‘Negative Love.’ He could see that parents, when they were only children, had unwillingly adopted ‘negative traits’ from their parents and were driven by their own emotional history and this is how ‘Negative Love’ is passed ever onward down the line in our families from generation to generation. These deep understandings led to the experience of forgiveness and compassion for one’s parents. Bob stressed that “everyone is guilty, and no one is to blame” throughout his life.
In the early years, Bob led his clients through a series of 8 to 10 two-hour sessions. These sessions involved a variety of techniques and expressive exercises designed to help them heal their pain and reach a place of unconditional love. They learned tools to break the habit of negative love behaviours and were taught self-awareness exercises. Bob, together with the the Chilean Psychotherapist Claudio Naranjo coined the term ‘Quadrinity’ to describe the whole self, which is comprised of four aspects: the Intellect, the Emotional Self, the Body, and the Spirit. Process participants realize true healing and wholeness by engaging all these aspects and helping them to work in harmony. A structure of Awareness, Expression, Compassion & Forgiveness and New Behaviour was born and to this day remains the foundation of all Hoffman Process teaching around the world.
His book, No One Is to Blame, was first published in 1978 as an introduction to help people understand how to change self-destructive habits.
Over a period of 20 years and with the help of a variety of therapists, educators and doctors, Bob slowly built the structure of the Process as we know it today. Claudio Naranjo, the Harvard-educated Psychiatrist, also helped him transform the Process from the 13-week, non-residential setting to the week-long, in-residence format. Bob believed that providing a retreat setting would allow participants to deepen their insights and personal changes. In 1985, the first eight-day residential Hoffman Quadrinity Process (as it was then called) was held in Sonoma, California.
The years that followed saw the work of the Hoffman Process spread from the United States throughout the world, with Hoffman Centres opening in Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This, in turn, led Bob, in his last years, to form Hoffman Institute International (HII), which was created to regulate and monitor the standards, safety, and delivery of the Hoffman Process around the world.
Though Bob Hoffman passed away in 1997, his enduring vision – to heal families, bring back love into our lives, and to heal the world one person at a time – lives on. “My dream,” he said, “is that this work will eventually be recognized by scientific communities, that it will be recognized by educational leaders, and that it will be placed into educational programs.”
Bob and his Process team came to Australia in 1989 and during a two year period trained the first Australian teachers. Volker Krohn and Amanda Ahern were in the first Facilitator training group and are still teaching today. There have been over 7,000 people who have completed the Process here in Australia. In 1995, Volker bought the Process to Singapore and every year since then, many participants have come here to complete the Process.
Over 100,000 people world wide, have benefited from Bob’s vision and work. I think we can safely say that Bob’s dream has been realized, and continues to expand.