Things to Know About the Hoffman Process

Below are answers to many Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Hoffman Process. Please click on a question to view the answer. If you need more information or would like to further explore if the Process is right for you, call one of our enrollment counselors for a private consultation at 800-506-5253, or take part in our free, weekly Intro Call.

What is the Hoffman Process?

Founded in 1967 by Bob Hoffman, the Hoffman Process is based on the Negative Love Syndrome® (NLS). (To learn more about NLS, download the booklet or watch the video.) The week-long Process provides a safe, supportive environment in which participants identify and begin healing negative patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving in any kind of relationship. It’s an “inward bound” journey from head to heart.

Designed to be safe and supportive, the Process combines the best of group and individual work to support your personal journey. Teachers use experiential learning, and employ an empathic, supportive approach that respects the dignity of each person.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is a technique of learning by doing. In the Process, this is done through group discussions, reflection, visualizations, embodiment exercises, and one-on-one conversations.

By participating in experiential learning, you gain:

  • New ways of being by leaving behind outdated mindsets and negative reactions
  • Self-confidence and self-appreciation
  • Understanding of your skills, values, and interests
  • Ability to be self-aware and show up for your life
  • A felt sense of being in community, from personal to world-wide

As the Process unfolds – day-by-day, hour-by-hour – you are guided by the teachers to be present to what is happening in each moment without having to think about what comes next.

Why is digitally disconnecting required?

In order for you to get the most out of your Process, and to create an environment in which each person gains the maximum benefit from their work, we require students to electronically and digitally disconnect from the outside world.

This means that telephone calls, emails, and texting are not permitted, as well as connecting to the internet and other “outside” means of communication. Your family will still be able to reach you if there is an emergency.

Who takes the Process, and why?

Process participants come from all income groups, professions, cultures, and spiritual beliefs. They range in age from 21 to over 80. Despite varied backgrounds, those who come to the Process have a sense of dissatisfaction with their lives and a deep desire to change.

The Process appeals to people who are looking for concise and real results to get to the bottom of what is holding them back from a fulfilling life. They want more love, success, creativity, peace, and empowerment in their lives.

Is the Process a form of therapy?

The Hoffman Process is not intended as a substitute for psychotherapy. Many people have reported that the Process is an important addition to their therapeutic experience, and many psychotherapists use the Process as a complementary adjunct to therapy. If you are currently in therapy, we do ask that you consult your medical doctor and/or therapist about your choice to participate. Several research studies have been published over the years as to the efficacy and effectiveness of the Hoffman Process. You can read more here.

I’m in a recovery program; can I just do the Process instead?

The Process is not intended to be a detoxification program or a recovery support group. Nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative to such programs. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, we urge you to seek a program designed to help you achieve sobriety.

Please contact us to speak with one of our enrollment counselors (800-506-5253 or enrollment@hoffmaninstitute.org) if, after achieving a minimum of 90 days’ sobriety, you feel the Process would further assist you in your recovery and life in general. Many graduates have reported the Process to be an important addition to their recovery program.

I have (had) wonderful parents – how can the Process help me?

The concept of “negative love” can sometimes be misconstrued as negative relationships with one’s parents. This is not necessarily true. “Patterns” can be “positive” or “negative” in nature. It’s our compulsive need to act out patterns over a lifetime that makes any pattern undesirable (negative). Everyone internalizes information and experiences unwittingly. The degree to which you think you need to be this way is what we address in the Process.

My friend and I like to do retreats together. Would you recommend this for the Process?

Because this is unlike “other retreats” and it is a highly individualized inward journey, we do not recommend taking the Process with a friend or someone you know. We have found that it can be hard for participants to completely focus on doing their own work if they are paying attention to or checking in with someone they know in the room. Putting one’s attention elsewhere can provide an unintentional way of avoiding one’s own work. It’s best to devote your whole Process completely to you.

Can I take the Process with my wife / husband / partner?

No. We ask that romantic partners and family members do not participate in the same Process for the same reasons cited above about taking the Process with a friend. Couples inevitably have intertwined dynamics that are difficult to separate during the Process. This is an individual course in a group setting and we want each person to focus on their own journey. Once both people in a relationship have taken the Process, we welcome you both to attend graduate courses together.

What research has been done on the Hoffman Process?

Several different scientific research studies have been conducted about the Process – on the methodology and about its aftereffects. One of the most significant studies was done by Professors Michael R. Levenson and Carolyn M. Aldwin, of the University of California, Davis. Their three-year, grant-funded research study 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. Further information on the study can be found on our website here, and in the Nov/ Dec 2006 issue of the scientific peer review journal, EXPLORE, The Journal of Science and Healing.

A worldwide search of the research literature shows no other treatments or interventions that produce lasting, significant reductions in negative effects while simultaneously producing such increases in positive effects.

Download the study here.

What are the possible outcomes of participating in the Process?

Through the Hoffman Process, you will come to know yourself emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually as never before. Simply put, you will find your authentic self. The Process offers deep and rapid resolution of emotional issues, and enables you to come to terms with life as it is. You can recover the love, happiness, ease of self-expression, and emotional intelligence that are rightfully yours, and emerge as a renewed, powerful, and mature adult.

The University of California, Davis researchers discovered that, for graduates of the Hoffman Process, there were significant increases in the positive effects of empathy, emotional intelligence, sense of well being, and spirituality – all of which contribute to an overall sense of well-being. These, too, continued to increase over time. See the full study here.

How effective is the Process in regard to PTSD and/or healing trauma?

The work of the Hoffman Process results in greater access to one’s own wisdom, a deeper love of self, and more resilience with which to meet the often challenging – and even tragic – events in life. During the Process you may find strength and empowerment to face what once felt overwhelming. We often hear from therapists that their client’s work is enhanced and accelerated following the Process. If you have suffered severe trauma, an enrollment counselor will speak with you to determine if this work is appropriate for you at this point in your unique healing process, or if other support is needed. Depending on the depth of the trauma and its effects, there may be a need for more specialized, one-to-one work than the Process can provide.

Will I experience relief for depression and anxiety?

The Process is an effective program for people who experience depression that is the result of stress, anxiety, and/or repressed anger. During a blind, independent research study, psychologists at the University of California, Davis, found that there was a significant decrease in depression on the part of Process graduates, and these negative effects continued to decrease over time (read the full study here). The research also indicated a decrease in anger, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and anxiety, which also continued to decrease when measured one year after the Process, and multiple years later.

How will my parenting benefit from the Hoffman Process?

A child’s sense of security, safety, and well-being is determined by the quality of their emotional relationships with parents. A parent’s self-understanding, attitudes, and behaviors influence the quality of a child’s development.

The way in which parents make sense of their own early life history is one of the most important factors that determine how they relate with their children. Secure, open, and honest parental relationships have a powerful and positive effect on a child’s development and resilience.

The Hoffman Process facilitates the examination and repair of your own childhood experiences by empowering emotional healing and self-understanding. Dysfunctional coping strategies are exposed, reducing stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. The capacity to experience creativity, joy, and love increases. Even if your childhood experiences were problematic, painful, or frightening, the restrictive behavior adaptations of your brain can be changed, as well as your own self-understanding.

How do I register?

You can register at any time by going to our Dates page to see upcoming and available Process dates. Once you have found a date that works for you, you can go to the Register page to sign up.

Or, you can call us at 800-506-5253, Monday–Thursday 9 AM–5 PM and Friday 9 AM–4 PM Pacific time.

What paperwork is required before I attend?

Once you enroll, an enrollment counselor will contact you to explain the required paperwork. A Confidential Enrollment Agreement and a Pre-Process assignment will be provided to you.

How much does the Process cost?

Tuition for the Hoffman Process is $5,350. The tuition covers:

  • More than 90 hours of professional instruction and guidance
  • All course materials, including post-Process workbook and audio recordings
  • Three abundant meals a day, and healthful snacks throughout the day
  • Individual attention; there are never more than 8 students per teacher
  • All-inclusive retreat lodging – 7 days/6 nights. Currently, tuition is based on single occupancy/private rooms due to COVID-19.
  • A post-Process coaching call with your teacher
  • A follow-up conference call with one of your teachers & your classmates
  • Group email with your classmates
  • One graduate teleclass of your choice
  • Multiple ways to connect with Hoffman graduates

Do you offer scholarships?

We offer partial financial assistance (in amounts from $600 to $2,650) through the Hoffman Institute Scholarship Fund. To apply for a scholarship, click here. Awarded scholarship amounts cannot be combined with other discounts.

Do you offer payment plans?

The Hoffman Institute offers a limited number of payment plans for each course on an as-needed and as-available basis. The plan requires that 50% of the total tuition (including the $500 non-transferable, non-refundable deposit) and a nominal processing fee be paid before the start of the course. The remaining 50% can be paid over a 4-month period following completion of the course. To learn more, please call the Hoffman Enrollment Department at 800-506-5253 or email enrollment@hoffmaninstitute.org.

How can I join a Wait List?

Given our extensive pre-Process assignment, which is due 2 weeks prior to the start of a scheduled Process, our waitlist consists primarily of students already registered for an upcoming program. Being registered for a future course allows someone on the waitlist to access the preparation materials (which can take approximately 10 hours to complete), and ensures their ability to jump into a last-minute program opening.

If you are ready to register, call 800-506-5253, or click here. You may express your waitlist preferences in the Welcome Call that follows registration.

Where is the Process located?

The Hoffman Process is taught at two locations:

Both sites are located on private land, surrounded by nature. Much care is taken to ensure that your needs are met and that you are able to focus on your personal growth and learning.

Once you register, you will receive a comprehensive packet of information that includes transportation options, what to bring, and more.

When does the Process start?

Registration begins at 8:30 AM on the first Saturday morning.

What is the structure of the Process?

During your week at the Process, you will learn how to deal more effectively with the unproductive behaviors, moods, and attitudes affecting your adult life, which were learned by relating to your parents in early childhood. Conducted in a beautiful, natural setting, each day of this healing retreat begins with breakfast at 7:30 AM and ends at approximately 9:30 PM. The days are full and structured, with ample time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It includes a variety of cognitive, intuitive, and cathartic exercises designed to allow you to view and understand the important factors in your life from a new perspective. You will also learn tools and practices that will support you after the Process.

Your journey will include presentations and discussions, guided meditations, journaling, cathartic exercises, small group sessions, personal interactions with teachers, and play activities. Although much of the work is done in the large group, it is not like “talk therapy.” Rather, it is done through experiential learning, which produces beneficial therapeutic outcomes such as increasing feelings of self-love and compassion, and decreasing anxiety and depression. You do not have to share the content of what you are working on with others, yet you will feel supported in your own journey by being in the presence of others who, like you, are committed to their growth and learning.

What does the daily schedule look like during the Process?

Below is an approximate outline of the daily schedule at a Process:

7:30–8:30 AM             Breakfast and check-in with your teacher
8:30 AM–1:00 PM      Process session (includes a mid-morning break)
1:00–2:00 PM             Lunch
2:00–7:00 PM             Process session (includes a mid-afternoon break)
7:00–8:00 PM             Dinner
8:00–10:00 PM           Process session

Process sessions include:

  • Presentations and discussions
  • Guided meditations
  • Journaling
  • Cathartic exercises
  • Small group sessions
  • Personal interactions with teachers
  • Play activities

Throughout the week, the above exercises and discussions are used to explore and understand different aspects of the Cycle of Transformation, which covers Awareness, Expression, Compassion & Forgiveness, and New Ways of Being.

Every day in the Process is very different as we move you through the Cycle of Transformation. This preeminent learning experience offers dynamic, somatic, emotional, and powerful days full of movement, interaction, visualizations, and incredible food.

When does the Process end?

The Process officially ends around 2 p.m. on the final day of the Process. However, we strongly recommend that you schedule a post-Process weekend as unstructured time for yourself. (Please see information below regarding, “What is the purpose of the post-Process weekend?”.)

Who teaches the Process?

Each Hoffman teacher has been through rigorous training in the methodology of the Hoffman Process. They are certified after completing this training, which takes anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. The teachers come from all walks of life, are professionals grounded in various disciplines, and have an M.A. or life equivalent. Most teaching teams have, cumulatively, 50-plus years of experience.

The teaching team for each Process uses an empathic and supportive system to guide each student. They provide instruction and personalized guidance, ensuring that each student progresses successfully and learns tools for ongoing growth and improvement.

How many students are in each Process?

Due to current COVID protocols, a Process class has no more than 32 students per course. There is one certified teacher for every 6-8 students.

Will I need to disclose my personal story in a group setting?

No. Although the majority of the work is done in a group setting, every student is doing their own internal and individual healing work. Very little personal information is exchanged.

What is the purpose of the post-Process weekend?

Participants often feel very different after completing their Process, almost like a new self who is inhabiting a new life. In order to orient and synthesize everything you have experienced and learned, we strongly recommend taking the weekend for yourself as a time for quiet integration.

Can I stay onsite at the retreat center for my post-Process weekend?

For some Processes, often it is possible to book rooms at either site.

Please call for availability:

  • California – (currently not available for post-Process booking)
  • Connecticut – 860-322-5770

Please call for availability:

  • California – (currently not available for post-Process booking)
  • Connecticut – 860-322-5770

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