Bob 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, fundamental aspects of our characters formed. By copying these elements, we are also seeking their love – “If I do or saying anything you do or say, you will 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. 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.
Bob led his early clients through a series of 8 to 10 two-hour sessions. These sessions involved a variety of techniques and cathartic 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 behaviors and were taught self-awareness exercises.
Bob 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 Behavior 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. He received a great deal of support from Claudio Naranjo, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist, who helped him transform the Process from the 13-week, non-in-person retreat 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 in-person retreat 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 centers opening in Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This, in turn, led to the formation of 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 – 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.”
Over 100,000 people have benefited from Bob’s vision and work throughout the world. I think we can safely say that Bob’s dream has been realized, and continues to expand.