The Neuroscience of The Hoffman Process

For over 30 years, the Advanced Learning Institute (ALI), Canada have undertaken neurological and genetic research on the basis of learning and behaviour change. Executive Director Dr J.W. Wilson, was been asked to explain the science behind the Hoffman Process; how is it, that by being exposed to in such a very short period of time, that people can experience such dramatic and profound transformations in their lives. How is it, that someone can enter the Hoffman Process feeling frustration, anxiety and pain in their lives and in 7 days, come out feeling such high levels of joy, peace, clarity and fulfillment.

“At the Advanced Learning Institute, our research shows that there is about 7000 genes that direct all of your brain’s functions. In addition, there’s over a hundred neuro modulators interacting with eachother in very complex ways. All this complexity comes together to direct all your thoughts, all your actions, feelings and behaviours.” – Dr J.W. Wilson.

hoffman process

Science and the Hoffman Process: Reviewing Existing Research (2014)

By Maria Camara, MSc, PhD.

The Hoffman Process (HP) is a unique intensive psycho-emotional education program, in which over 150,000 people have participated worldwide in the past 50+ years. The HP is currently running in 14 countries. A review of existing research from 1985 to 2013 shows that participating in the 6½ day residential program has a positive and lasting effect on overall psychological adjustment, in particular, reducing negative affect while improving positive affect, health and wellbeing. The relationship with oneself and with family members has also been found to benefit from HP, along with professional performance and emotional competence in the work environment. The Process is in line with recent and mainstream scientific disciplines and its techniques concur with various evidence based methods in a structured and practice oriented manner. Several renowned scientists have provided testimonials on their own experience and appraisals of the HP.

Download Research Study

The Hoffman Process is consistent with recent and mainstream scientific disciplines and evidence-based therapies. The following research papers offer thoughtful opinions, analysis and research studies that underscore the strong, lasting results of the Hoffman Process.

We believe that scientific study is an important responsibility in accounting for the benefits offered to the public by the Hoffman Process. Research findings have also assisted us in strengthening and extending the value of our approach to helping people change recurrent unwanted patterns in their lifestyles.

University of California Grant Research Study (2006)

Professors Michael R. Levenson and Carolyn M. Aldwin of the University of California at Davis presented the findings of their three-year, grant* research study on the Hoffman Process in the Nov/ Dec 2006 issue of the scientific peer review journal, “EXPLORE, The Journal of Science and Healing.”

This university peer review research shows that Hoffman Process participants experienced lasting significant reductions in depression, anxiety and obsessive/compulsive tendencies, coupled with lasting significant increases in emotional intelligence, life satisfaction, compassion, vitality and forgiveness. A world-wide search of the research literature shows that no other treatments or interventions produce lasting, significant reductions in negative effects, while simultaneously producing such increases in positive effects.

According to Ron Meister, Ph.D., and an administrative research director, “These research findings indicate that the overall changes available to a Hoffman Process participant are, by any standard, quite remarkable.”

*Grant research means that the University owns the data and researchers are expected to publish their findings, whatever the outcome.

The Caldwell Report (1983-1985)

A comprehensive scientific research study was conducted by *Alex B. Caldwell, Ph.D., and Curtis S. Hileman, Ph.D., on 58 participants of the Process from 1983 to 1985 who completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (the MMPI*); once when people initially decided to take the Process and then again at the end of the program. MMPI profiles were then rated by the two clinicians on 11 dimensions of mental health, which the researchers believe to be central to healthy adjustment. Notably, the MMPI is one of the most respected tests for measuring the degree and nature of psychological difficulties and change. It should be noted that at the time of this study, the format of the Process was rather different from what it is today (two 3-hour sessions per week for 13 weeks versus the present week-long residential intensive). The content, however, was essentially the same as what is offered today. (Of course, there have been numerous refinements and improvements in the past 20 years).

*Dr. Alex B. Caldwell, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized leader in the interpretation of the MMPI-2 test.

The Candate Study (1991)

A study involving 31 individuals was conducted by Alison Candate, MFCC. Rather than measuring personal change, Candate’s research study was directed at clients’ self-reported perceptions of change and value. The Candate Study statistically reflects the responses and reactions that people have to participating in the Hoffman Process.

There was a wide range in the sampling of income and education, which means that factors other than educational level or financial ability have significance when measuring the degree of satisfaction as perceived by these graduates of the HQP.

Similarly, the study also found that age, gender, marital status, previous therapy, previous human potential experience, or even how recently they had attended the Hoffman Process, were not determining factors in graduates’ perceptions of value.

Windhausen Comparative Study (1995-1997)

From 1995–1997, the German psychologist Christiane Windhausen engaged in a comparative study of the results of group therapy in a hospital setting with the week-long Hoffman Process. The main purpose of this study was to compile data relating to the self confidence and self perception of each client before the Process, immediately following it and six months on. Some of the clients, again selected at random, were also followed up a year later.

Her dissertation is based on studies carried out with 65 randomly selected clients, all of whom completed the Hoffman Quadrinity Process in its present form during 1994 and 1995. This is an Insecurity Questionnaire used in assertiveness training as a form of self assessment which falls into three main categories:

  1. The relationship with parents
  2. The relationship with the inner-self
  3. The relationship with siblings

Using a number of psychological tests, it was demonstrated that significant, lasting positive changes of the Process participants were much stronger than the changes in the participants in the 3-month group hospital program. It includes relevant research data from the Frankfurt Self-Concept Scale and the Giessen Test as well as using diagnostic tools from the Symptom Checklist SCL90R.

The Emotional Competence and Leadership Study at Harvard (2008)

The Hoffman Institute Leadership Path was offered to students at Harvard in March 2008. Thirty-five students participated in the Process and completed an assessment comprised of items aimed at measuring improvement in domains specifically targeted by the Hoffman Process such as spirituality, communication and authenticity as well as domains previously identified to relate to emotional competence and effective leadership (Boyatzis, Goleman, Rhee, 2000). Items from the Emotional Competence Questionnaire (ECI; Boyatzis, Goleman, Rhee) were used to assess gains in domains of emotional functioning deemed relevant for leadership.

The Hoffman Institute Leadership Path participants were asked to complete this assessment prior to their participation in the Process, and at one month and three months after their completion of the Process.

Comparing the Hoffman Process and Schema Therapy (2010)

Is schema therapy also effective in 50 hours therapy within 8 days, called Hoffman Quadrinity Process (HQP or HP) also and in comparison to behavioral therapy?

The Hoffman-Quadrinity-Process (HQP or HP) as a concentrated form of schema therapy, so as a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, was proved for effects on mental diseases and personality disorders measured by self-report scales and structured clinic interviews (SCL-90-R, BDI-II, FLZ, SKID-Screenings- and -Interviews). The pre-post-change was compared between the intervention group (HQP-Attendees). The pre-post-change was compared between the intervention group (HQP-Attendees), a waiting-control-group and an intervention-control-group (attendees of a 50-hours behavioral therapy).

For all measured symptoms of mental diseases, so all in all scales of the questionnaires, there are significant recovery-effects with consistently high effect-sizes between pre and post in the intervention group.

– The Hoffman Process has a highly beneficial effect on overall adjustment: reducing
negative affect, enhancing positive affect, and improving health and wellbeing.

“Negative Love is intergenerational pain that is passed down from one generation to the
next. Everyone is guilty and no one is to blame.”
Bob Hoffman (1921-1997)

The Process is based on the concept of Bob Hoffman’s Negative Love Syndrome

All children want love and attention from their parents. Children believe implicitly that mother and father know what they are doing at all times. For a child, imitating a parent’s behaviours, moods and attitudes — literally becoming like them often seems the only way to earn a parent’s love and attention. When a child takes on his or her parents’ negativities in an attempt to be loveable by the parents, he or she becomes a victim of the Negative Love Syndrome.

None of us were immune to the Negative Love Syndrome. Its only product is inauthentic, compulsive, self-sabotaging behavior. The Negative Love Syndrome puts us at war with ourselves and others. It also disconnects us from our own true source of power, our inner spiritual selves, which may appear only in rare moments or short flashes of insight. Learn more about how the Hoffman Process transforms the Negative Love Syndrome.

Byrnes, (2001). Mind, brain, and learning. New York : Guilford Press.

Caldwell, A.B. & Hileman, C.S. (1985). The Caldwell Report.
Candate, A. (1991). The Candate Report.

Felitti, M. D., Vincent, J., Anda, M. D., Robert, F., Nordenberg, M. D., Williamson, M. S., … & James, S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.

Gill, A. (2008). Improved Emotional Competence and Leadership among Harvard Student Leaders. Downloaded from!

Graham, M. F. T. (2013). Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-being. New World Library.

Grossman, I. (2010). Is schema therapy also effective in 50 hours therapy within 8 days, called Hoffman-Quadrinity-Process (HQP or HP) also and in comparison to behavioral therapy?. UnveröffentlichteDiplomarbeit, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. Guilford Press.

Hoffman Institute Foundation (2005). The Health Care Professionals Survey. Downloaded from

Hollon, S. D., DeRubeis, R. J., Shelton, R. C., Amsterdam, J. D., Salomon, R. M., O’Reardon, J. P., & Gallop, R. (2005). Prevention of relapse following cognitive therapy vs medications in moderate to severe depression. Archives of general psychiatry, 62(4), 417.
Levenson, M.R., Aldwin, C. M., &Yancura, L. (2006). Positive emotional change: mediating effects of forgiveness and spirituality. Explore, 2 (6).
Lanius, R. A., Vermetten, E., & Pain, C. (Eds.). (2010). The impact of early life trauma on health and disease: The hidden epidemic. Cambridge University Press.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370. Page (2012). The Graduates Survey. Downloaded from

Perls, F., Hefferline, G., & Goodman, P. (1951). Gestalt therapy. New York.
Rippentrop, A. E. (2005). A Review of the Role of Religion and Spirituality in Chronic Pain Populations. Rehabilitation Psychology, 50(3), 278.
Rogers, Carl (1951). Client-Centered Therapy. Cambridge Massachusetts: The Riverside Press. Shapiro, F. (1989). Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization procedure in the treatment of traumatic memories. Journal of traumatic stress, 2(2), 199-223.

Windhausen, C. (1997). Transformed Self-Images. Downloaded from

Worthington, E. L. & Scherer, M. (2004). Forgiveness is an emotion-focused coping strategy that can reduce health risks and promote health resilience: Theory, review, and hypotheses. Psychology & Health, 19(3), 385-405 Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. Basic Books.

Leave a Reply