Start Your Day with a Quadrinity Check-In

  1. One of the most important symbols used in the Hoffman Process is the Quadrinity, coined from the Latin word quadrus, meaning “four” or “four-sided.” Bob Hoffman, founder of the Process, created the Quadrinity model to describe four distinct sides of human beings: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual. When all aspects work together harmoniously, we feel a sense of fulfillment.

    But how do we achieve this?

    Read on for more insight into what these four sides mean, how to complete a Quadrinity Check-In, and what to expect when you combine visioning with a check-in.

    What does the Quadrinity represent?

     Each aspect of self is dependent on the other. As Bob Hoffman wrote of the Quadrinity, “It is the balance of all aspects working together harmoniously that fulfills us as human beings.”

    The four aspects of the Quadrinity:

    • Emotional: Hoffman’s Quadrinity begins with the Emotional Self, often referred to as the “Emotional Child.” This aspect recognises that many people haven’t fully matured emotionally and tend to react to external triggers as if they were still children. For instance, road rage can trigger an extreme emotional response, akin to a three- or four-year-old’s reaction when they don’t get their way. This arrested emotional development is frequently rooted in unresolved family issues, fostering a toxic belief of shame within individuals. This belief can make them feel unlovable, worthless, or not good enough.
    • Intellectual: The second part of the Quadrinity is the Intellect, representing our thinking patterns. When the Emotional Child is mired in toxic shame beliefs, the Intellect often assumes the role of the internalised parent voice from our childhood. It can invalidate our emotions, become critical, and reinforce our worst thoughts about ourselves. The interaction between the Emotional Child and the Intellect can lead to a cycle of emotional distress, such as frustration, self-criticism, emotional eating, and feelings of inadequacy.
    • Physical: The third part of the Quadrinity is the Physical Self. It’s crucial to recognize the mind-body connection. When the mind represses emotions, the body often expresses them. This connection has been well-documented, with emotions manifesting in facial expressions and bodily ailments. Gabor Maté, a Hoffman Process graduate, has even written about the emotional underpinnings of certain diseases.
    • Spiritual: The final quadrant of the Hoffman Quadrinity is the Spiritual Self. The Spiritual Self represents our inner wisdom and consciousness. It is always present, yet often overshadowed by the internal conflict between the Emotional Child and the Intellect. In the context of the Hoffman Process, participants work on achieving harmony at the personality level to allow the Spiritual Self to manifest. From this place of presence, we can access our inner wisdom, make decisions aligned with our values, and manage life’s inevitable challenges more effectively.

    How to complete a Quadrinity Check-In

     A Quadrinity Check-In is a momentary pause in which you reflect on each aspect of the self. It can be performed any time a difficult emotion arises, or at the start of each day.

    Follow these steps:

    • Physical Self: Notice your physical sensations. Are you holding any tension? Do you feel tired? Alert? Ask your body what it needs from you.
    • Emotional Self: How old is your emotional self today? Does it feel younger than you are today? Ask your Emotional Self what it’s feeling and what it needs from you.
    • Intellectual Self: Notice your intellect’s demeanor. How does it carry itself today? Is it rigid and guarded? Is it relaxed and inviting? Ask your intellect what it’s thinking right now and what it needs from you.
    • Spiritual Self: Call on the wise Spiritual Self within you. Ask for a message. The request can be general or focused on a specific issue in your life.


    How to combine visioning with a Quadrinity Check-In  

    Visioning is different from goal setting, in which you become attached to specific outcomes. It’s a low-pressure technique that allows you to access your birth-given need for exploration.

    To combine visioning with a Quadrinity Check-In, follow these steps:

    • First, complete a Quadrinity Check-In as described above. This allows you to be fully present and relaxed.
    • Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. If you are holding tension anywhere, try to envision it melting away.
    • Choose an area of your life for which you need guidance and support.
    • Envision what you want for yourself. Fill in as many details as possible. Ask for what your heart truly wants, with no qualifications.
    • Imagine you have accomplished your vision and check in with your heart. Are you satisfied? Delighted? Is there any hesitation or disappointment? Adjust your vision until it includes everything your heart desires.
    • Choose your vision.Say out loud, ‘I choose this vision’. You may want to identify certain qualities out loud.
    • Honestly acknowledge your current reality. Hold the awareness of both your vision and your current reality.Acknowledge the tension resulting from the difference. Know that you can resolve this tension by continuing to hold your vision in consciousness.
    • Write out a description of your visionin first person present tense, as though it exists right now and notice how it feels, knowing your vision has come to fruition.

    Performing the Hoffman Quadrinity Check-In daily can help you develop or strengthen emotional literacy and embrace mindfulness, setting the tone for a productive and meaningful day. And it’s just one tool of many that Hoffman Process participants learn during their seven-day journey.

    If you haven’t completed the Process yet, view upcoming dates here. If you have completed the Process, learn about our five-day retreat for graduates.

    This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram.




Embracing Authenticity at Work

Do you feel like you can be yourself at work? Or are you extra careful about what you say and how you say it? In a recent survey by JobSage, an employee transparency platform, 1,900 men and women were asked how comfortable they felt embracing authenticity in the workplace. While most respondents said they valued being authentic, 7 in 10 people said that they adopt a different personality at work than they do at home.

This is a huge loss for companies, because employees who feel comfortable being themselves at work are more likely to put in extra effort to see the team or company’s mission achieved. They are also more likely to provide different perspectives and valuable feedback.

Inauthenticity at work is a loss for employees too. Putting on a mask at work reduces your productivity and your happiness while amping up your stress levels. It can make the workday feel longer and even lead to burnout.

This article will delve into why so many of us are afraid to be authentic at work, how employers can create a psychologically safe workplace, and what steps you can take to start showing up as your true and honest self.

What is authenticity at work?

 Authenticity at work is feeling safe, secure, and comfortable showing up as your whole self. You feel capable of expressing yourself in a way that is aligned with your own values, beliefs, and personality, whether you are interacting with a fellow colleague, a manager, or a client.

You may be hiding your authentic self in the workplace if you do any of the following:

  • Mask your emotions
  • Conform to dress codes
  • Code-switch
  • Hold back from sharing your ideas and opinions
  • Avoid personal topics
  • Hide your culture, religion, or sexual orientation from others

Why are employees afraid to be authentic at work?

 Many of us have been taught to separate our personal and professional lives. We should do as we’re told and conform to fit in. Being authentic requires you to assert who you are and what you need, but you may be afraid to do that if your superiors do not make you feel psychologically safe.

How you react to your superiors at work may be a mirror of how you reacted to your first authority figures: your parents or caregivers. If you had a parent that interacted with you kindly and rationally while maintaining their status as an authority figure, you will more likely have an easier time with your superiors. After all, your relationship with your parents provides a model for how you’ll manage interpersonal relationships later.

If you had a parent who wielded their authority over you in a way that made you feel scared or unsafe, without teaching you how to regulate your fear and anxiety, this is how you’ll learn to approach authority figures later. Your approach to your superiors can become suspicious or you may become hypervigilant. You will find it very difficult to be vulnerable and assert your needs. You may also become resentful and sabotage your work efforts.

If you had a parent who viewed you as an extension of their ego (vicariously lived through you), you can get overly focused on being competitive and constantly compare yourself to others. This can interfere with your ability to cooperate with other team members on equal terms, another indicator of inauthenticity.

Many employees are emotionally driven to take on an unsustainable workload because they are unconsciously still looking for parental approval. They do not have the ability to say ‘no’ to requests because they still fear the wrath of a punishing parent.

How employers can promote psychological safety

 In some cases, employees are afraid to be themselves at work, not just because of the patterns they learned in childhood, but because of the lack of psychological safety in the workplace. Psychological safety is best described as the belief that you will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. You can be yourself without being shamed.

A lack of psychological safety in the workplace can also be a reflection of patterns learned in childhood. Employers who had ‘scary’ parents may become that type of authority figure later and fail to create psychological safety in their workplace.

Some ways employers can promote psychological safety in the workplace:

  • Be engaged and present during meetings
  • Allow others to share their ideas and opinions
  • Listen
  • Resist blaming
  • Be positive
  • View mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Be emotionally vulnerable with team members
  • Avoid micro-managing
  • Be open to feedback

How to be authentic at work with the Hoffman Process

The Hoffman Process helps participants investigate in detail their compulsive behavioural patterns in all aspects of life, work and career included. This involves tracing these behaviours back to the origins of their formation during childhood. Even this simple cognitive reflection can help you zoom out from certain behaviours when you are triggered at work.

The Process can also help you connect back to your essential self and values. It increases your emotional awareness exponentially so that you become cognizant of your triggers, and it equips you with the emotional resilience and tools to regulate your system. At the same time, the Process helps to increase compassion for yourself and others. Through mindfulness and experiential practices in a group setting, you learn that you are not your patterns. You have a choice over the way you want to interact with others and your subjectivity is as valid as anyone else’s.

In some cases, completing the Process will connect you with your intrinsic values, which can prompt new priorities. For leaders, this can result in an improved leadership style. Higher levels of emotional discernment might lead you to realize that your current work environment is not a good values match. The Process then provides you with the courage to make the necessary adjustments either to become an agent of change in your workplace or to find a more suitable work environment.

While it is not always possible to make your passion your career, the Hoffman Process shows you that you do not have to sacrifice them; you can learn to see your work as a stepping stone or support system and not a creative trap.

View upcoming Process dates here.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram.



What Are Daddy Issues?

Deconstructing ‘Daddy Issues’

For too long, the term ‘daddy issues’ has been used to describe a woman’s relationships or sexual acts when they are considered unacceptable to the opposite sex. This might be a woman who dates older men, a woman who is considered promiscuous, or even one who is thought to be too ‘clingy.’ The idea is that she had a negative relationship with her father (or no relationship at all) and is now using her relationships as an attempt to heal her father wound. In most cases, the term is used as an insult.

Though it may have arisen from Freud’s ideas on the father complex, daddy issues is not a clinical term, and it shouldn’t be gendered. After all, sons are also affected by absent or uninvolved fathers but not as often described as having daddy issues. In this article, we’ll dig deeper to explore the role of fathers, how both girls and boys are impacted by an absent or uninvolved father, and how such individuals can move forward.

What are daddy issues?

Daddy issues is not a recognized psychological condition. It is a colloquial term used to describe psychological or emotional issues a person may have as a result of an unhealthy or non-existent relationship with their father. These issues can manifest differently for each person and typically affect their relationships and behaviors.

A person with daddy issues may struggle with:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Forming new relationships
  • Possessiveness
  • Fear of abandonment

How an absent father impacts his child

Studies show that having a negative relationship with one’s father during childhood can result in an increase in risky behavior, such as smoking during adolescence, early childbearing, and lower high school graduation rates. These negative effects are even more apparent in those who experienced family disruption in early childhood when the brain is rapidly developing.

After all, our father is the first ‘stranger’ that we meet after our nine-month gestation period within the mother. As the new component introduced into the dyadic relationship between the embryo and mother, our father quickly comes to symbolize and inform how we relate to the outside world.

Traditionally, our father’s economic position had a major influence on the family’s standard of living. Coupled with the fact that men are still paid more for the same work as women, there has been an economical motivation to value our father’s work more than our mother’s. Father (and sometimes mother) usually worked away from home, meaning he was less present and available (physically and emotionally). So, even our father’s attitude to the outside world can have a huge impact on us how we might view it.

Some fears we may inherit from our father:

  • Everyone’s out to get you.
  • It’s a dog-eat-dog world.
  • Toughen up!
  • Vulnerability = weakness.
  • If you’re not in control, you’re powerless.

Some expectations we may inherit from our father:

  • You should work at a job you hate.
  • Getting ahead is all that matters.
  • You should sacrifice yourself for your family.
  • Life = duty.
  • If you work hard, you deserve to be looked after.
  • Men’s work is more important and valuable.
  • A person’s worth is determined by how much money they make.

We might also inherit some perceptions on authority:

  • You can’t trust authority.
  • You should be subservient to authority.
  • The system owes you.

Why daddy issues shouldn’t be gendered

Though daddy issues are commonly attributed to women, there is extensive evidence that an absent father can be just as detrimental to his son. However, how his absence affects his children may differ between the sexes. In fact, some research shows that women tend to seek protection and validation from their adult relationships after having an absent father, while men struggle with approval and self-worth.

Though gender biases do exist, some girls tend to view their father as the ultimate protector. This may have to do with body stature and/or social conditioning. Either way, if her father is absent or unsafe, she will look for a corrective experience in a partner to obtain that safety. And if her father is emotionally unavailable, she will see herself as unworthy and unlovable, which can lead to neediness with her partner.

Many boys, on the other hand, look to their fathers as role models. He needs to be able to idealise his father so he can emulate him. If the father doesn’t live up to this idealization by being physically or emotionally absent, his son will lose his sense of self-worth. Later in life, this can result in an avoidance of challenges or a constant seeking for challenges but never being able to rest in one’s achievements.

Healing the father-daughter and father-son relationship

Relationships that are committed to mutual healing and mutual self-exploration can be a wonderful vehicle to repair early childhood difficulties and damage. However, because both partners bring their own narratives with them, it can also be important for the couple to seek outside help. After all, we cannot change a problem with the same consciousness that created it.

The Hoffman Process is also incredibly helpful in healing the father-daughter and father-son relationship. During the Process, participants learn to heal the wounds that stem from their childhood experiences. This begins with examining their relationships with Mother and Father. By unpacking the intergenerational patterns that affect their behaviours, they are allowed to express frustration in a safe space and have a corrective experience. Along with voicing the resentments they may still carry from having an absent or abusive father, they can also see him as a child with his own inherited pain and finally cultivate compassion for him. Ultimately, we all must learn to take responsibility for our own triggers and behavioural reactions. This is best done when we can honour our parents for the gift of life. Then we can step into creating the life that is inspired by our own intrinsic values. We can learn to stand in the authority of our own knowing.

View upcoming Process dates here.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram



Make Time to Play

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Play may be associated with the carefree days of our youth, but does it have to be? According to play researcher Dr. Stuart Brown, humour, games, and fantasy are more than just fun. His research shows that while play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults, play for adults can make us smarter at any age. It doesn’t just make us joyful, but it’s also energising.

Read on to learn more about why play is important for our physical and mental health and how it can help nurture our relationships.

Mental and physical health benefits of play

 During play, our brain releases endorphins, our body’s feel-good chemicals. This helps to reduce stress and promote an overall sense of wellbeing. According to the National Institute for Play (NIFP), play is considered the “gateway to vitality.” It not only generates optimism and fosters empathy, but it also gives the immune system a boost.

In one 2013 study, researchers found that adult subjects who were more playful used healthier coping styles like acceptance and positive reframing for anxiety. The authors also noted that even though less-playful adults were equipped with the same coping skills, playful adults were more likely to use them effectively.

How play affects our careers

Current evidence suggests that play optimises learning. Just as children learn best when they are playing, so do adults. You’re more likely to learn a new task or behaviour faster when it’s fun and you’re relaxed. Play can also stimulate your imagination and help you solve problems more creatively.

Along with making you more innovative, play can strengthen the bonds you have with your colleagues and simply add more joy to the workday. It’s no wonder that studies have linked play and playfulness with overall life satisfaction. Research shows that playful adults tend to do more enjoyable activities and have a more active life than less playful adults, on and off the job.

How play nurtures our relationships

Having a playful attitude doesn’t just help you bond with your colleagues; it can positively impact all your relationships. For instance, research indicates that playing games or pursuing fun activities with your spouse increases bonding, communication, conflict resolution, and relationship satisfaction. Play can also promote spontaneity when life falls into a routine.

And playing with your child is one of the most important things you can do for their mental health. According to Dr. Michael Popkin, an expert in the field of parent education, playing with your child fosters their self-esteem, helps the child learn about the world, provides opportunities for them to learn new skills, and builds the bond between parent and child. 

Why don’t we play as adults? 

In many families, there is too much focus on achievement. This is based on the perception that we are only valid if we are successful. We only get attention when we do something well, whether it’s academic performance or athletic achievements. Pretty soon, our motivation is goal-based, and we stop being able to enjoy the process.

Many Hoffman Process participants report that their parents restricted the ability to express joy. They’d say things, like “Don’t be so silly!” or “That’s enough fun now!” In that moment, the child gets shamed for expressing and experiencing fun. Later in life, that person will have difficulties experiencing joy as it is associated with rejection.

Unless we can heal our toxic shame, many of us will continue being resistant to having fun. We’ll think play is frivolous and not for us. The Hoffman Process helps to heal this toxic shame and offers a corrective experience in being able to honour who we are and what we feel, both heavy and light. Each Hoffman Process participant can reembrace their playful inner child in a safe and supportive space. 

How we can add more play to our lives

Just like making time for exercise, it is equally as important to make time to play. This looks different to everyone and may take some exploration to find what brings you joy and lightness, but this is only possible if you give yourself the space to experience boredom. Out of a space of ‘nothing is happening’ our creativity can arise. Video games, TV, social media, email—modern technology is great at entertaining us, but it’s also notorious for stealing away our ability to listen to our own senses as they are drowned out in constant stimulation.

Just be aware of when you might be using play as an escape. Some people use humour and play to avoid facing themselves and others. Routines and responsibilities feel like entrapment and so they avoid committing to anyone or anything. The result is a lack of involvement with others. The Hoffman Process offers a way to deal with the ‘entrapment’ issue so that people can embrace both fun and commitment. You do not have to sacrifice your childlike playful qualities to be a healthy and responsible adult.

Find out more about how to nurture your playful side and confront the patterns holding you back by signing up for Hoffman Process. Also learn more about the upcoming Retreat for graduates.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram



Showing Up for Others

In this age of endless scrolling, swiping, and ghosting, showing up for others may seem like too much work. After all, when we make a commitment, there’s a chance we’ll miss out on something even better. But this obsession with FOMO (fear of missing out) traps us in a cycle of restlessness and indecision. And we end up missing out on much more: intimacy, deeper connections, presence.

Learn why showing up for others is one of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves (and others), and how to start doing it, even when we’re hesitant.

The Power of Commitment

According to Pete Davis, a Harvard Law graduate and author of Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing, purposeful commitment gives our lives purpose, community, and depth, but we are too often caught in “Infinite Browsing Mode,” overly concerned with keeping our options option. But we can all learn to become “long-haul heroes,” to courageously commit ourselves to places, professions, and causes, relinquishing false freedoms of an open future in exchange for the deep fulfillment of true dedication. It starts with knowing what we want and deciding to make a choice.

First Step: Decide What You Want

Sometimes, we fail to commit because we can’t figure out what we want. We have not established a vision aligned with our values. We look to other people to guide us to a meaningful life, but it’s up to us to define “meaningful.” This requires self-awareness and heart energy. What moves us? What matters? Give yourself time and space to reflect. Mindfulness meditation can help you settle into your body and find your answers. Only when you figure out what you want can you galvanise your will and direct your attention deliberately.

Second Step: Make a Choice

Commitment means making a decision despite the circumstances. Some people experience life as something that happens to them. They experience the “locus of control” externally. They may too easily see themselves as perpetual victims and never take the first step because they are too afraid to fail or be rejected. It’s up to other people to make things happen and reach out.

During the Hoffman Process, we teach participants that we cannot always control what happens, but we can control how we respond to what happens. We are not victims in the world; we are active participants. Taking a chance may not always go the way we want it to go, but it’s worth taking anyway. We can respond to unexpected results by shutting down and never trying again, or we can take it as a lesson and move forward. The choice is always ours.

Step Three: Remember to Show Up for Yourself

Humans are social creatures. Our ability to cooperate with others has allowed us to advance as a species. But cooperation takes commitment and the willingness to show up for ourselves first. According to Rachel Wilkerson Miller, the author of The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People, showing up for yourself and showing up for others look like the same thing. She explains that “showing up is about bearing witness to what is happening and then responding accordingly.” Once you learn to do it for yourself, it’s easier to do it for others. Choosing to be present and giving something your full attention trains your brain to filter out distractions so that you can be more present in your life and your relationships.

How the Hoffman Process Can Help Us Show Up

Deciding to attend the Hoffman Process requires a level of commitment at the start. As the old Taoist belief goes, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” The Process helps people to identify where they unconsciously direct their attention, such as negative patterns and avoidance of shame. Helping you clear the inner conflict of thinking and feeling is the basis to redirecting your attention and aligning your life with your values. Indecision, procrastination, fear of failure, victimhood—these are just patterns keeping you from connecting to others and to yourself. Once you make the choice to let them go, the world opens up.

Find out more about what to expect at the Hoffman Process.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram.



Remothering Your Adult Self

Whether you have a bad relationship with your mother or no relationship with her at all, the arrival of Mother’s Day can be a difficult time you dread each year. But Mother’s Day also presents an opportunity to address long-standing mother wounds, opening the door to the concept of remothering yourself.

While it’s impossible to travel back in time to reparent your younger self, there are steps you can take to heal the emotional child that still lives within. From identifying your unmet needs to ultimately cultivating forgiveness, read on to find out how you can begin healing your mother trauma to foster inner peace.

Steps to take to heal your mother wounds:

Identify Your Unmet Needs

According to Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D, there are four irreducible needs for human maturation:

  1. Attachment: The child needs to attach deeply to the adults responsible for them.
  2. Rest: The child can rest from the work of earning the right to be who they are, as they are.
  3. Play: The child is encouraged to play freely. As neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp has explained, “Real play opens up the possibility of using all of our natural emotional tools for the epigenetic construction of social brains.”
  4. Feel: The child has permission to feel one’s emotions, especially grief, anger, sadness, and pain. They feel safe in their vulnerability.

If any of these needs are not being met during childhood, the person will suffer from various dysfunctions in their plight to establish meaningful relationships with themselves and/or with others. Understanding what may have gone amiss during maturation is a crucial step. We cannot have our needs met if we don’t know what they are.

Recognize the Role of Father

Mothers usually get the rough end of the stick. Part of healing your mother trauma is to recognize the role of Father. If your father, or your mother’s partner, was not there to offer support, she may have felt overwhelmed by the enormity of raising a child on her own. As anxiety and stress build, Mother’s chances of meeting her child’s needs become more unlikely.

While this doesn’t give mothers a “free pass” to neglect her children, it is worth investigating. As author Bethany Webster writes, “In patriarchy, the whole system blames the mother: from mental health professionals to the legal system. It is a patriarchal strategy that perpetuates the oppression of women by not acknowledging the socio-economic environment they must mother in.”

Know Your Triggers

If you did not receive “good enough” parenting from your family of origin, you will need to learn what your trigger points are. Once you know what your triggers are, you can work on developing the tools to manage your emotional response to them. Instead of becoming overly distressed when there is a breakdown with another person, you can consciously move into vulnerability and inquiry to understand what went wrong on both sides.

It’s also important that you voice your emotions. When you become activated, one of the best things you can do is vocalize how you feel: I am angry, sad, ashamed, frustrated, etc. Research from UCLA suggests that putting your feelings into words—a process called “affect labeling”—can effectively diminish the response of the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear, emotions, and motivation, when you encounter things that are upsetting.

Learn How to Speak to Your Inner Emotional Child

Inner dialogue work is an important part of healing your mother wounds. Start examining the way you speak to yourself in your mind. Are you harsh? Critical? Dismissive? When you begin to speak to yourself kindly, as if you were a child, you empower your intellect to validate the feelings of your inner child while providing rational guidance.

Care for Your Physical Body

If your needs were not met as a child, it’s your job to meet your needs now, including your physical needs. Make enough time for rest and sleep. If you were deprived of touch and didn’t get the right affection, consider booking a massage. Make time in your schedule for self-care practices that promote relaxation and joy.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and choose wisely when it comes to seeking advice. The Hoffman Process helps participants identify their unmet needs and have corrective experiences to start healing the trauma of childhood. Guided by trained facilitators in a supportive group setting, participants are allowed to feel safe in their body and accepted for simply being who they are. The Hoffman Process empowers you to take charge of your own healing process, which includes making time for rest, prioritizing play, and embracing vulnerability. Only then can you move on to an important piece of the healing journey: forgiveness.

Consider Forgiveness

Once the inner healing process is in motion, it is useful to find compassion and forgiveness for the children your parents once were. This is the crux of the healing work at the Hoffman Process. You find self-love by understanding, accepting, and ultimately forgiving, but this can only authentically occur once you have psychically righted their wrongs by expressing your anger and frustration from the trauma of the past. Once you have embraced what were considered “unacceptable emotions” according to your caregivers, the door to forgiveness is open. You understand that your parents are human beings just like you with a good side and a bad side. You can then accept your life as a happenstance of circumstance so inner peace can flourish.

Find out more about what to expect at the Hoffman Process.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram



Asking Others for Help

If the thought of asking others for help scares you, you’re not alone. Recent research from Stanford found that people are afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to appear incompetent, weak, or inferior. This belief can be planted as young as seven years old. However, numerous studies show people actually WANT to help. They find the feeling of helping others enjoyable. How can we overcome this disconnect?

Here are a few ways:

Feel Your Feelings

Both children and adults need help from others when we are faced with a situation that is beyond our capacity or capability. If we are not able to ask for help, we will experience an increased level of fear and anxiety. Many of us try to run from these feelings, but the first step in overcoming uncomfortable feelings is to feel them completely. You can take this a step further and name your feelings: I feel scared, I feel inferior, I feel incompetent.

Re-embrace your vulnerability

In the Hoffman Process, participants are encouraged to re-embrace their vulnerability. Instead of being viewed as a weakness, vulnerability is reframed as a strength. Consider this analogy: A lobster can only grow if it sheds its hard shell and takes the risk of being only protected by a soft shell. And this happens as many as 25 times during the first six to seven years of its life, proving it is an essential part of its growth. When we accept our own limitations with grace, we can ask others for help as a key component to our own growth.

Besides not getting the help we need, another downside to not being vulnerable is that it can make us appear demanding when we do ask for help. In efforts to hide what we perceive to be our own incompetence or inferiority, we might seek support by making a demand. This leads others to feel frustrated and resentful. But when you embrace your vulnerability, demands become requests, to which the other person is likely to feel honoured they’re being asked.

Connect with your emotional child

The Hoffman Process’s Quadrinity Model offers a conceptual framework to help us understand our human behaviours. The personality structure is explained as the interplay between the intellect and the emotional child that lives within each of us. The intellect operates as the strategist of the emotional child’s defense system. During the Process, participants heal the wounds of the emotional child. Instead of being stuck in old patterns that tell them to please, withdraw, or attack others, they begin to see themselves as equal to others. Along with re-embracing their vulnerability, they also get to re-embrace their assertiveness. Paradoxically, assertiveness is the foundation required to be authentically vulnerable with others.

Refine your communication skills

If you are not accustomed to asking for help, it can be difficult to know where to start. You may be stuck in a cycle of dysfunctional social interactions, such as those described in Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle: Victim, Rescuer, and Persecutor. If you view yourself as the perpetual Victim, you might consistently see yourself as incompetent and helpless, either demanding help all the time or expecting help without asking. If you’re a Rescuer, you’re likely to see your helpfulness as your only redeeming quality; you’ll offer help even when nobody asked for it. If you’ve taken on the Persecutor role, you are good at criticising and finding fault in others, though not so good at offering solutions or assistance.

It’s important to remember that asking for help does not automatically make you a victim, offering help when needed does not make you a rescuer, and setting boundaries does not make you a persecutor. But when you become identified with these roles, you can unknowingly create suffering, conflict, and disharmony for yourself and others. Sometimes, you might even switch roles during a power struggle, depending on the situation or the dynamics of those involved, which further exacerbates conflict.

The Hoffman Process helps participants move out of the victim-persecutor-rescuer cycle to the healthier vulnerability-assertiveness-support cycle. It is the basis of effective communication and cooperation. By uncovering the roots of your roles and patterns and refining your communication skills, you will feel empowered to ask for help and give it freely, no hard lobster shell needed.

Find out more about the Hoffman Process and explore event dates here, including the Circle of Integration series and Love Code Weekend Workshop for Couples.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram



The Power of the Digital Detox

The 3rd of March is the International Day of Unplugging, a 24-hour period in which participants are encouraged to disconnect from screens and other forms of virtual communication and reconnect with the world. This voluntary abstinence from social media, phone calls, texts, email, and other online noise is often referred to as a digital detox, a practice recommended by neuroscientists, mental health specialists, celebrities, and even us here at the Hoffman Process. In fact, digital detoxing is so important to us, that it’s built into the Process.

Digital Detox at the Hoffman Process

At the beginning of the Process, participants are asked to switch off their phones and other digital devices for the entirety of the retreat so they can be free from distractions and fully present to themselves and others. Friends and family can still reach them, but only in emergencies via Hoffman staff. Only parents of small children can phone home at designated times to check in. Other than these exceptions, screens are off limits.

And the positive effects of a digital detox are worth it. In this 2020 study, women who stopped using image-based platforms like Instagram reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and positive affect than women who kept using the platform. Another study on college students who underwent social media detoxes ranging from one to seven days found that most subjects reported positive changes in mood, better productivity, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety.

The connection between digital use and mental health

A recent study showed that active social media users were 2.7x more likely to be depressed. Research has shown us time and again how technology and its constant notifications steal our attention, interfering with our ability to turn inward. All great philosophers and thinkers would spend long hours in quiet contemplation, but now these sacred inner spaces have been invaded by endless updates, loud opinions, distorted facts, photoshopped images, and other digital noise flooding in at all hours.

Along with crowding our inner world, excess digital use also prevents us from fully experiencing the outer world. The nuances and intimacy of real-life interactions have been replaced by “likes” and comments and we’ve become reliant on them to feel worthy and valued. At the same time, we find ourselves comparing our looks and our lives to what we see on the screen, feeding our insecurities and filling our heads with self-limiting beliefs.

According to a 2020 review in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, frequent technology use has also been linked to heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impaired brain development, and disrupted sleep in some cases.

How to do a digital detox at home

You don’t have to participate in the National Day of Unplugging to experience the benefits of a digital detox. Even making small adjustments to your digital habits can make a profound difference in how you think and feel. Here are some tips to try at home:

  • Don’t look at your electronic devices last thing in the day and first thing in the morning.
  • Do not use your phone whilst you’re eating. Even having the phone next to you on the table on silent will create a distraction and have detrimental effects on your physical and mental health.
  • Keep your electronic devices out of the bedroom and put your phone on flight mode at night.
  • When meeting with friends, consider putting your phones away to give each other your undivided attention.
  • Designate screen-free zones at home where no electronic devices are allowed (like the dining room, bedroom, etc.)
  • Install timers on your phones, tablets, and other devices to monitor how much time you’ve spent online.
  • Each morning, give yourself a chunk of time before you switch on your devices. This allows you to have some sacred time to yourself before outside updates and demands trickle in.

Not ready for a digital detox? Give yourself permission to start small. This study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that limiting social media to 30 minutes a day can significantly improve one’s overall well-being.

Find out more about the Hoffman Process and explore event dates here, including the Love Code Weekend Workshop for Couples and The Retreat.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram



What is Transference?

Bob Hoffman, founder of the Hoffman Process, wrote the following poem on transference:

  • Wherever I go,
  • Whoever I see,
  • I see Mummy and Daddy
  • And they see me.

At first glance, it may sound trite and silly. But the deeper we investigate the subtleties of this poem, the more it gains depth. Our earliest interactions with our caregivers have a powerful impact in how we perceive and respond to the people in our lives, especially those we are most intimate with. If we experienced unconditional love from Mum and Dad, then we expect unconditional love from our partners. If we experienced constant criticism from them, then we’ll expect constant criticism. This causes strain in the relationship and drives us apart from one another.

Read on to find out what transference looks like in relationships, why it happens, and what you can do to break the pattern.

What is transference?

Transference refers to the projections of our internalised parental images that we place on other people in our life, especially in our intimate relationships. Freud considered it an important piece of psychotherapeutic work. As we perform to get our partner’s approval, it becomes more and more difficult to be ourselves around them. We also feel we have to supply them with acts of services (cooking dinners, supplying money, looking attractive to them) which causes additional stress. They become either an approving or rejecting authority instead of our equal.

Why does transference happen?

As children, we depend on our caregivers to fulfill our physical needs. We also require them to regulate their own emotional stress so that they can be present to our emotional needs. When we feel sad, we need our caregivers to acknowledge our sadness and support us. This helps us develop an ability to assert our vulnerability and be able to trust that others will respond to us with kindness.

But when our parents are not emotionally present, volatile, or abusive, we take the blame. If Mum and Dad are always fighting, we think it’s because of us. If our parents are angry at us or ambivalent with their love, we think we’re doing something wrong and do our best to reclaim their love. We adopt behavioural patterns to secure our parents’ love and attention and we take these patterns into adulthood and into our relationships. Transference happens when someone does or says something that reminds you of one of your parents, transporting you back into your past.

What are some tools we can use to get out of transference?

Letting go of the negative patterns we picked up in childhood and getting out of transference requires an honest analysis of our early childhood experiences. This isn’t about blaming our caregivers but becoming conscious of how they helped us form our self-perception and our perception of others.

During the Hoffman Process, participants trace patterns back to childhood and acknowledge the shame and ‘unlovability’attached to their early experiences. They are then offered a window into their parents’ childhoods so they can develop compassion for the children their parents once were. It is crucial that they recognize the lineage of suffering that has been passed on for generations in their family system because suffering is the great equaliser. All humans suffer, even our parents, but we tend to forget this along the way. And until we can develop this compassion, we will continue seeing our parents as our authority figures and looking for them in the people around us.

Can transference ever be positive?

Sometimes when we meet people we really like we can go into what is called positive transference. We idealise them to the point that they become superhuman beings. Or maybe they just become the mother or father we always wanted.

The problem with this idealisation is that it can make us feel worthless around them. And once again we end up in inequality. There is an inevitability that this idealisation will be destroyed eventually. This is what usually occurs when we first fall in love. We idealise our new object of affection until they fall from the throne of our projections and deep dive into a negative idealisation . First they are the ‘best’ and then they are the ‘worst.’

True love means accepting each other as imperfect humans. But this requires us to do our own inner work. We must be able to take responsibility for our own emotional needs when we are being triggered, accept our existential aloneness, and have the courage to uphold our own boundaries. As we become less identified with our immature emotional child, we can start to see interpersonal dysjunctions, not as the end of love, but as an opportunity to grow together.

Find out more about the Hoffman Process and explore event dates here, including the Hoffman Community Support Call and The Retreat.

This article was contributed by Erica Garza. Follow @ericadgarza on Instagram