“To understand your intellect, your emotional capacity and your physical self – a whole person is connected with their Spiritual Centre, which they access through the work of the Process. From that place – the Spiritual Centre – there’s not much room for depression.”
Lee Lipsenthal, M.D., ABHM1, Hoffman Process Graduate

What is Depression?

Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling mildly depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles or an injured self-esteem. But when feelings of intense sadness, including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless last for many days or weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your emotional state may be something more than sadness.

When we repress our emotions and have a sense that we have no choice about our way of being, this is depression.

How does the the Hoffman Process assist on the road from Depression to recovery?

The Hoffman Process helps participants to understand and heal their underlying emotional issues like depression and anxiety, which have been acquired within their ‘family of origin’ during their formative years. Participants learn to become grounded in their own spiritual centre from where they can find resolution with their own ‘existential dilemmas’. This builds higher levels of personal resilience to deal with the normal ups and downs of life.

The Hoffman Process is the most powerful and transformational experience I have ever undertaken. It does require courage and commitment to fully participate. The change that is available is beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Bruce, 2016

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Every human being on the planet is faced with the same fundamental existential dilemmas: birth and death, freedom & isolation vs belonging & meaninglessness. If we never take the time to reflect on these questions and find a personal resolution with them, they will inevitably impact upon our sense of self and our primary relationships. This is because we are unable to bring the ‘presence’ of our being to another human if we have not truly encountered our own being. This commonly leads to deterioration in our relationships, as we do not know how to get our own needs met or to be able to meet the needs of our partner or intimates.

Many people seek help in this instance. If we still manage to avoid ourselves, this lack of ‘presence’ will impact further in our ability to form meaningful connectedness with our extended family and friends. We will lack resilience to meet the interpersonal demands at work, compensating our lack of inner resolve and control with maybe bullying others or becoming a target of bullying, aggravating unnecessary levels of stress which further destabilizes and jeopardizes us.

Such vicious cycles can lead to a sense that our job is at risk and stimulates survival anxiety. The amount of stress hormones that are released if such situations persist over an extended period of time, will lead to the repression of our immune system and make us more prone to ill health further acerbating the cycle of depression.

Our weakened organism cannot produce enough serotonin and we can move into clinical depression. Often people seek medication to alleviate these unbearable feelings but medication without personal intervention does not lead to resolution. Medication without conversation can just lead to further repression of the underlying causes. To break this cycle in the treatment of depression, it is essential is to address the underlying existential and emotional issues, as well as to build a sense of inner understanding and awareness that can enable us to respond to external stressors.

Depression also occurs when we have learnt to habitually repress certain emotional states like ‘anger’ and ‘grief or sadness’. Depending upon how these emotions were socialized within our families and communities they usually camouflage the internal toxic shame beliefs that we hold about our selves, like unlovability, inadequacy, self-invalidation, self-criticism, etc.

How Do I Know If I Have the Symptoms of Depression?

According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, depression occurs when you have at least five of the following symptoms at the same time:

  1. A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
  2. Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  3. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  4. Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  5. Insomnia (inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
  6. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
  7. Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
  8. A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
  9. Significant weight loss or weight gain

Independent Scientific Research shows that The Hoffman Process is the most effective treatment for Depression

The HP not only produces significant lasting reductions in negative affect i.e. depression, anxiety, hostility, interpersonal over-sensitivity and obsessive-compulsive symptoms – but also engenders significant, lasting, increases in positive affect i.e. emotional intelligence, spirituality, mindfulness, forgiveness and empathy, along with increases in physical energy and vitality.

These changes were demonstrated in a University of California’s Study (Levenson et al., 2006). This rigorous study, with a one-year follow-up, showed that most of the gains that participants made during the Process were sustained over the next year, in comparison with the control group. Depression practically disappeared a week after the HP and remained low after a year, with only a 17% relapse rate, while, for example, CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) has shown a relapse rate of 30.8% and antidepressant medication alone 76.2% after one year (Hollon et al., 2005). These outstanding effects on depression were mediated by increases in forgiveness and spirituality.”

The following is a summary of a conversation on depression between Dr. Bill McCleod, BA,MDBS,DPM, FAPA.*,FRANZCP,*FRCPsych,*FRACP(*retd)Dip App.Chem and Volker Krohn, director of the Hoffman Centre Australia.

Like many terms in the Psychiatric lexicon, depression is a term drawn from another discipline, in this case morphology, where the word literally means “a small hollow in the ground”. Current dictionary definitions of depression include ‘pressed or forced down’, ‘brought low, oppressed’ and ‘lowered in position’. Confusion arises when the word depression is used interchangeably with emotions such as shame, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness or rage. It is important to distinguish sadness at the death of a loved one, which needs to be experienced and depression.

Anti-depressives prescribed to suppress grief may even result in a later depression. Carl Jung, the famous Psychiatrist and author, made the comment ʻthat all mental illness which occurs after the age of 35, has as itʼs basis, unresolved spiritual or existential questionsʼ, ie: “who am I?” and issues such as meaninglessness, freedom and death.

Most theorists now believe that a clear demarcation, can and needs to be made between the many different types and forms of depression. If we don’t deal with what is present in our lives – spiritual; existential; parental; emotional; interpersonal or organisational issues – there may be a slide into a non self-correcting biochemical depression which requires chemical assistance to lift us out of it.

Depression is not a feeling but occurs as a consequence of the denial and continued repression of feelings. In some instances there is a genetic predisposition to depression, but even with such a genetic ʻbentʼ depression is not inevitable.

Such carriers are more prone to depressive illness when life is particularly difficult. Failure to resolve ʻdenied feelingsʼ, contributes to an increasing inability to form intimate relationships. This further contributes to a spiral of alienation and leads to problems in the ability to interact or connect with other groups in the larger community. At the same time despair, apathy and resignation intensify and the individual feels totally useless, unworthy and unlovable.

Failure to deal with these forms of depression will lead to an increase in the biochemical components of the disorder and severe depressive illnesses which can no longer be treated by ʻtalking-throughʼ modalities. In addition, there are many viral and other illnesses, which produce and contribute to, depressive states and a physical disability can be another significant contributing factor.

Long periods of grief, anxiety, stress, illness etc. can affect the immune system leading to a greater susceptibility to viral infections or other illnesses, which may then contribute to that person becoming actually ʻclinically depressedʼ.

Most of these different forms of depression are best treated with verbal forms of therapy to address the underlying causes of the depression. However, if the existential or interpersonal issues are not addressed or healed, then verbal therapies cease to be affective. Indeed, there are many forms of severe depression in which pharmacological intervention is essential. Medication can contain the severity of depression, but it will continue the repression of the feeling function and not afford any understanding or insight into the underlying causes.

Medication needs to coincide with a therapeutic conversation. It has been predicted that within 10 to 15 years, depression in one form or another, will reach major epidemic proportions on our planet. The forms of depression which are already being seen, occurs regardless of religion, lifestyle, standard of living or race. No comprehensive explanation has been so far discovered. Needless to say, most of these depressive forms, from the so called mild to moderate, respond best to either verbal psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural psychotherapy.

In my experience, the Hoffman Quadrinity Process has produced the most outstanding results in those who have been suffering breakdowns in interpersonal relationships or who face crisis in their spiritual or existential life. The Process supplies a comprehensive, broad based structure for these personal dilemmas to be worked through and understood experientially. Because the Hoffman Process allows participants to re-experience and fully express, in a very safe framework, their denied and defended “negative feelings”, they are able to establish a new level of vitality and awareness within the more integrated Self.

At the same time many people who are on medication for depression have improved dramatically after the Hoffman Process. The results of an extensive university research program that was undertaken at the University of California at Irvine, has shown statistically, the dramatic changes in the health and wellbeing of Hoffman Process participants. Not only does research show that depressive states will be diminished and resolved by the Hoffman Process but also that the positive, human feelings of joy, love and compassion are greatly enhanced.

Dr Bill McLeod is a Psychiatrist in private practice. He was formerly the Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Auckland and then Superintendent of Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital. He was also Chairman of the Federal Board of Examiners of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He has written extensively on his work with clinical Depression and Schizophrenia.

Billʼs interests have been in both the traditional and humanistic aspects of human nature. He has made a profound personal enquiry in his own life and has been instrumental, along with his wife Maggie in influencing all the members of his immediate family, to participate in the HQP. He was a personal friend of Bob Hoffman and is a friend of Volker Krohn. Bill assisted both these men in establishing the Quadrinity Process here in Australia. Currently, Bill is a member of the Advisory Board of the Hoffman Institute International.

What’s Next?

There a few things you can do to find out if the Process is for you:
• Take our “Is the Process for me?” self-assessment test to learn if the Process if right for you
• Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information
• Read what our Graduates have to say about their experience before and after doing the Process
• Take advantage of this great offer and book a free 1 hour consultation with one of our professional therapists

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Dr Joan Borysenko discusses the Benefits of the Hoffman Process, the limbic brain system connection and the scientific study by the University of California
Dr. J.W. Wilson, Executive Director of the Advanced Learning Institute, Canada discusses how the Hoffman Process creates positive long-lasting changes in brain structure

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