By Al Donato 08/06/2020 09:30pm EDT
In an August cover story for People, the singer — who is expecting her first child with actor Orlando Bloom any day now — revealed that motherhood had long “terrified” her.
“I was really terrified of the idea two or three years ago. It was just like, I don’t know how I’m ever gonna do that. That’s crazy. I can barely take care of myself,” she told the magazine.
Going to the retreat a few years ago changed Perry and Bloom’s lives, she said. What she learned there “re-wired” her thinking patterns and is part of the reason she feels ready to start a family.
Perry elaborated in a 2018 Vogue interview, describing herself as heartbroken by the lackluster public response to her 2017 album “Witness.” Feeling depressed, she decided to attend the seven-day retreat known as “the Hoffman Process.”
“For years, my friends would go and come back completely rejuvenated, and I wanted to go, too. I was ready to let go of anything that was holding me back from being my ultimate self,” she told Vogue’s Derek Blasberg, who noted that Perry sang the retreat’s praises for a large chunk of the interview.
What people say about the Hoffman Process
Billed as a “personal development course” by the Hoffman Institute and costing $5,350 to attend, soul-searching celebrities like Justin Bieber as well as regular people going through personal crises are common devotees of the Hoffman Process. It was started by Bob Hoffman in 1967 and is guided by his “negative love syndrome” theory. Essentially, the theory boils down to unlearning the bad habits people develop as reactions to trauma and neglect through self-awareness exercises.
As Perry explained to Vogue, much of the process has to do with “re-programming.”
“I believe that, essentially and metaphorically, we are all computers, and sometimes we adopt these viruses via our parents or via the nurture that we are given or not given growing up,” she said. “They start to play out in our behaviour, in our adult patterns, in our relationships.”
Some have described the retreat as “psycho-spiritual” and intense. In a breakdown of her experience for the beauty outlet Byrdie, one attendee noted that they turned off their phones and spent days listening to presentations by speakers. Another told Elle she faced bitter childhood demons that left her sobbing, and that she made more progress at the retreat than she did in years of therapy.
While not every expectant parent can afford the four-digit price tag paid by Hoffman Process enthusiasts like Perry, there are plenty of accessible mental health resources that can help people get ready for parenthood. Regular appointments with a therapist may be useful.
Other therapy modalities deal with similar “re-programming” features that Perry advocates for. Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, teaches techniques that help reduce negative patterns like catastrophizing or black-and-white thinking.
Whatever route a would-be parent takes, being aware of one’s own flaws and trying to change them can only lead to good outcomes for the next generation.