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Decoding Intimacy with Hoffman Facilitator Craig Tunnell

Craig Tunnell has been a senior facilitator of the Hoffman Process since 1992 and works in both teaching the Process and training teachers nationally and internationally. He is the director of Teacher Training for the Hoffman Process and has a private practice working with individuals and couples in Sydney. Personal growth has been Craig’s active passion for the over 30 years and he feels inspired to be able to help people discover and live from their own unique, essential selves. Apart from his counseling training Craig has also studied essence psychology, trauma work, somatic experiencing, breath work and more. He also runs Love Code relationship workshops, which equip people to create and sustain deep and fulfilling, intimate relationships.

Here Craig explores how early childhood patterns play out in our most important relationships and how to navigate our way back to effective communication, healing and intimacy.

In the Hoffman Process we learn that we had to adopt protective behaviours in order to survive a childhood environment that may have felt threatening, painful or lacking in attunement. Over time these protective behaviours become ingrained and habitual even though our ‘unsafe’ childhood is well behind us. We find ourselves compulsively pleasing, shutting down, withdrawing or lashing out and one of the areas in life where this is most destructive, is in our intimate relationships.

Intimate relationships ask for us to let down our guard and share our deeper feelings and needs. Without this our relationships aren’t really intimate. But as we let down our guards our deeply held fears and vulnerabilities are much more exposed. Will I be rejected or hurt by this person? Would they love the real me if I show that? Are my needs too much? Can I trust them with my vulnerability? Will I lose myself if I surrender to the other?

In my working with couples I observe how these sensitive areas are so easily touched in relationships and how quickly we fly into protection mode in reaction to that.

Unhappy Couple

Here is a typical scenario:

A partner says something to us that feels rejecting – perhaps not taking up our bid for connection. Our feelings of hurt and inadequacy get triggered and most of us we have very little capacity to ‘be with’ these uncomfortable feelings. So, as we’ve always done in the past, we fly into our protective behaviours. We might become critical and emotionally withdrawn. And as we switch into that protective mode, our partner registers our cold ‘wall like’ behaviour and that in turn triggers their vulnerable feelings. They might feel unsafe and hurt, but with little capacity to sit with and acknowledge their own feelings, they too jump into their protective behaviours. They might become defensive and self-righteous towards you and suddenly you have two peoples’ protective behaviours banging up against each other. Things can really escalate here and there is often a feeling of impasse – that no matter how much we talk, we are not getting anywhere.

When we relate from our protection, we tend to trigger the protection of the other. This ‘meeting of two hard walls’ leads us to a place of either conflict or distance or perhaps a combination of both of these. We end up losing our loving connection with our partner. We may feel ‘right’ but we also feel isolated. We are ‘against’ not ‘with’ our beloved and it’s ultimately bewildering, painful and a very hard place to find your way out of. I’ve observed that the health of the relationship suffers in couples that spend long periods of time in this dynamic. Resentment, criticism and lack of generosity begin to prevail and over time this leads to an avoidance of intimacy and sexuality.

In the Love Code Workshop we give maps and practices to navigate our way through this inevitable tough territory of relationship. Firstly, we recognise and accept that we have protection. We once needed it to survive and there’s nothing wrong with it, but we don’t want it becoming our predominant relationship style. If we can ‘own’ with our partner that we have become defensive it’s very different than simply operating out of our defensiveness towards them. Suddenly we are not using this against our partner but allowing them to see and understand our inner process. In sharing this we begin to ‘disarm’ and usually our partner begins to soften their defences as they feel our ownership of our patterns and different emotional tone. As protection tends to close doors in relationships, vulnerability tends to open them. Amazingly, as we share our differences and upsets in this more open way, an intimacy begins to develop. We help each other to grow and move into more fulfilling ways to relate.

To learn more about Bob’s work, the theoretical underpinnings of the Hoffman Process, please read The Negative Love Syndrome and the Quadrinity Model© A Path to Personal Freedom and Love, by Bob Hoffman. Free download available here

The Love Code workshop helps us build the capacity to be with our uncomfortable feelings while in the presence of our partner. We build a sense of safety in our relationship as we learn communication pathways to get through difficult moments. We have had very little education or healthy modelling on how to ‘do’ relationships and in the Love Code workshop we decode these mysteries and learn the building blocks of how to create a healthy loving relationship.

For more information on Craig’s work, visit Craig’s website www.craigtunnell.com.au

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

Related Articles on our website

Advocate for men’s mental health, GQ Editor Dylan Jones raises awareness on men’s plight with mental health issues in his candid account of his personal experience of the Hoffman Process
Katy Perry talks to Vogue Magazine about her Hoffman Process experience
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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Katy Perry Rests into her Essential Self in True Authenticity

Being one of the highest-earning women in music is no easy gig, and the acclaimed music super star Katy Perry continues to evolve in her awesomeness by sharing with the world how her dedication to music and her fans has spurred her onward on her path of personal growth and self discovery. Katy Perry has candidly shared with the world how she suffered situational depression following the criticism received from the release of her album Witness in 2017.

Katy Perry who is the most followed person on Twitter, is a great role model for anyone feeling that their status in life somehow makes it less than attractive to constructively deal with the real life issues that everyone faces. Her openness and vulnerability is courageously touching and an inspiration to her fans, many of whom are at an impressionable age where great role models are the most valuable resource.

On 13 February 2017, on the red carpet at the Grammys with E!’s Ryan Seacrest and just a few days after the release of her new track ‘Chained to the Rhythm’, Katy reveals “I’m so proud of it, I think it’s definitely a new era for me… I call it an era of purposeful pop”. She goes on to say “all of my songs have always had layers to them… never one dimensional… I used to be kind of the Queen of Innuendo… I woke up a little bit more, educated myself a little bit more… and maybe I’m a little bit more the Queen of subtext… I think its just like a song that starts conversations and that’s what we need more than ever. There’s so much divisiveness and people on one side or the other and I think we just need to listen to each other so I hope that that song does that”. Katy goes on to say “I feel a little bit more conscious than I ever have and I’ve worked through some of my s**t”. Watch the full E! Katy Perry interview

It’s obvious Katy has long been evolving as a person before she decided to do the Hoffman Process and needed to break out of the “fluffy pop” mold that cemented her as a music icon. When her Witness album release on 9 June 2017 wasn’t well received by the critics and flopped, she explained that this led to her situational depression. “For years, my friends would go and come back completely rejuvenated, and I wanted to go, too… I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year because, unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public, and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to … which broke my heart.”

It’s often through the unexpected turns of fate in life that we as humans seek out some help or other. Katy proclaimed “I was ready to let go of anything that was holding me back from being my ultimate self”.

In her recent interview with Vogue Australia after attending the Hoffman Process, Katy Perry discusses her career, meeting the Pope and protecting her relationship with Orlando Bloom. “Her time at Hoffman comes up often in conversation and she never shies away from the discussion of mental health. In fact, she’s given Hoffman gift certificates to friends when she sees them struggling.” Read the full Vogue Australia article on Katy Perry

Learn more about Katy Perry’s incredible life and career on Wikipedia

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50 YEARS LATER

50 YEARS LATER, BOB HOFFMAN’S DREAM LIVES ON

By Hoffman Institute

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.