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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: Bodhichitta ()
Date: February 22, 2012 02:07AM


I have no problem "staying on track" but you are not being fair. There was no spin I just appreciate logic of argument and there are foundational issues which make the whole discussion impractical. You are obviously biased. That is ok bit not sure it helps to attack my posts with such conclusive remarks as to my intent.

I said "I appreciate the scientific method" for certain things. I simply don't believe this is one of them to which it applies.

Hoffman: I think it's too "new age-y". I think they use alot of scientifically verifiable methods but don't educate people on these methods. I think a better screening tool could be used to ensure people who aren't "capable" of transformation be screened better. I think they still have some look and feel of the 70's instead of 2000's

I think their mistakes are they existed before neuroscience breakthroughs and therefore are undermining their own methods because they are incorporating the science fast enough to counter skeptic inquiry.

Stated simply- they need a renovation.

Please be more fair- other posts were full of tangents and you only seem to scrutinize mine. There is zero intent of spin- just wanting to avoid the dozens of fallacies of arguments that occur when people try to interpret the written word.

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: February 22, 2012 03:48AM


"Obviously biased"?

Obvious to who?

When people don't agree with you it doesn't mean they are biased, but rather simply think you are wrong.

You acutally don't seem to appreciate the "scientific method", as you repeatedly have failed to offer any scientifically measurable results regarding Hoffman. All you have offered repeatedly is subjective anecdotal evidence and opinions, which is not scientific.

Your remark that Hoffman is "new age-y" is telling though.

Essentially, what an LGAT (large group awareness training) like Hoffman offers through its programs is the downloading of the group philosophy, which supposedly will solve whatever problems participants possess. In this case you describe the Hoffman philosophy as New Age.

Likewise your supposed critique of Hoffman is telling.

"They use alot of scientifically verifiable methods but don't educate people on these methods."

This is a criticism of what's wrong with Hoffman?

Again, it just seems like an apologitic spin attemting to defend the program as somehow scientific.

But in ten posts you have been unable to present anything scientifically verifiable about Hoffman's methods, despite such spin.

"...better screening tool could be used to ensure people who aren't 'capable' of transformation be screened better."

This isn't really so much a criticism of Hoffman, as it is an effort to shift the blame for failure and/or problems on the participants that paid for the training, i.e. Hoffman should screen out thos incapable of accepting its philosophy and/or "getting it."

This assumes that the problem is participants rather than the program. A more reasonable and realistic conclusion would be that when things go wrong through the program it's Hoffman's responsibility and that there are inherent probems systemically within the training.

This is the conclusion of many mental health professionals that have studied LGATs.

See previous links on this thread to various papers.

And after ten posts you really have presented nothing to objectively "counter skeptic[al] inquiry".

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: bigbirdmd ()
Date: March 11, 2013 04:18AM

All fields of science begin with simple "anecdotal" observations that lead the curious to explore the underpinnings of the interesting phenomenon. In an evidence based system, anecdotal evidence is considered relatively weak, but should not be discounted out of hand. When there is a very large mass of anecdotal evidence, it simply cannot be ignored or discredited: rather, it begs a more detailed understanding and some further explanation of the mechanisms of action.

I am a 63 year old pediatrician practicing in northern California. I am also a Hoffman graduate and a sober alcoholic who attends AA meetings regularly. I did the Hoffman Process at a very dark time in my life, specifically, when I was still a functional, drinking alcoholic whose extramarital affair was discovered and who had been kicked out (appropriately) by his wife and daughter. As a science based kind of guy, I refused AA because of the "god thing" that many agnostics and atheists perceive as a barrier in AA. Instead, and in despair, I did the Hoffman Process.

I did not find anything in the Hoffman Process to be coercive or manipulative. Rather, my take is that it is a very carefully and lovingly crafted way to help people explore their past with the intent of uncovering and understanding the roots of their dysfunctional behavior. For me, understanding my own behavior as a result of identifiable childhood lessons learned from those who raised me allowed me to see and understand the causal effects, then to find compassion for myself and others, and then to find forgiveness. As in AA, there is some jargon, but not as much as we AAs use in talking with our fellow alcoholics. The full history of the Hoffman Process is inherently interesting to me as a grad, but the value and power of the Hoffman experience is not diminished by shady practices in the past any more than the literary value of a Hemingway novel is diminished by the fact that Hemingway was somewhat more than an egotistical jerk.

The realm of brain science is in a primitive state. We liteally do not have the scientific tools to make the kinds of measurements that we wish we could. My freind, the physics professor, laughs at the statistical margin of error that we use in medicine, while I laugh at the statistical margin of error in psychological studies, and I laugh even harder at the margin of error in the educational research that my wife shows me. This is, by the way, the wife who kicked me out and eventually divorced me and then married me again when I had demonstrated the persistence of my spiritual recovery that started with the Hoffman Process.

Of considerable interest to me is that when I got to AA with two years of happy, spiritual sobriety after Hoffman, I read the Big Book, chose a sponsor, and then started "working the steps". I started hanging out with a group of well educated guys about my age, and we talked. I noticed early on that the work I was undertaking was functionally the same work I had done in Hoffman. The psycological tasks were the same, and accomplished in the same order, though with differences in emphasis, and obvious differences in language. The similarity in these two independently developed processes leads me to believe that there is a practical and funcitonal path out of one's personal darkness, and that this path can be followed by anybody who chooses to try it. AA is clearly directd towards alcoholics, but another piece of AA jargon goes, "this program wouldn't hurt your grandmother, even if she never took a drink in her life." AA has made a point of not studying itself, so there are no statistics to report on how well it is, or is not, doing. People who make their living from exercising their professional license to treat people have an inherent bias against programs that do not involve them. I have seen psychologist and psychiatrists a few times in the past, and never did they ask about potential alcohol or drug addiction, and none of them helped me in a sustained or meaningful way. But the unlicensed Hoffman Process had a tremendous and sustained impact, now twelve years later. But this is just one man's anecdotal commentary.

Hoffman periodically emails me with requests to support the scholarship fund, much like the Red Cross does as well as my local sympony. I have maintained contact with just a few of my classmates, and over the years, I have referred five people to the Process, all of whom felt they benefitted, some more than others. I am aware that from time to time, someone bails out of the process, and I am aware that for occasional people, there seems to be little effect. Overall, my sense is that Hoffman is considrerably more effective than AA, and I believe that is due to the motivation that comes of paying for it yourself and the fact that there is quite a lot direction and supervision in Hoffman compared to AA.

So is Hoffman pseudo-science? I think not. Rather, I think it is simply not well documented. It clearly works well for a very large percentage of its participants.

Charles R. McCormick, MD

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 11, 2013 10:12AM

' 8-day residential course by the Hoffman Institute, set up as a nonprofit."



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Hoffman Quadrinity Process
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The Hoffman Quadrinity Process is the current name of a course described on their official website as a course of "personal discovery and development" which "allows you to examine your life and your behavior and empowers you to make lasting changes".[1]

1 Origin
2 The early process: spirit guides and psychic contact
3 Skeptical view
4 Trivia
5 Footnotes

[edit] Origin
It was founded in 1967 by Oakland, California tailor Bob Hoffman as Fischer-Hoffman Psychic Therapy after Hoffman claimed to have had a vision of his late psychiatrist Siegfreid Fischer who appeared to him and told him the key to emotional healing is to undo "negative love", unrealistic expectations and manipulations which parents saddle their children with. Claudio Naranjo, later known for being one of the popularizers of the enneagram, helped develop the program further by adding material from the Human Potential Movement to Bob Hoffman's spiritualist/psychic notions. It was later renamed the Fischer-Hoffman Process, and after that, the Fischer part of the name was dropped after Fischer's widow protested Hoffman's use of her late husband's name.[2] Bob Hoffman died a couple of decades ago and it is now offered as an 8-day residential course by the Hoffman Institute, set up as a nonprofit.

[edit] The early process: spirit guides and psychic contact

In its original form, the program involved meeting a purported spirit guide and establishing psychic contact with one's parents when they were children, while cataloging all the bad things one's parents ever did and emotionally discharging all the pent up hate and resentment toward parents by crying, beating pillows, screaming, and such.

The purpose of the alleged psychic contact with parents is to learn the reason why they mistreated one with "negative love", and to see that they were treated the same way by their parents, and so on. This psychic contact is supposed to help one forgive their parents and move on in life. At the end the program is supposed to re-integrate what Hoffman claimed are the four parts (or "quadrinity") of a person: the body, intellect, emotions, and spirit.[3]

[edit] Skeptical view
The original program's reliance on the supernatural and use of concepts internal to the movement like negative love and quadrinity clearly put it in the realm of pseudoscience. Alleged psychic communication with one's parents as they were when they were children does not have any scientific basis, and the "communication" thus received may be imagined or suggested.

The current Hoffman process appears to have de-emphasized or dropped supernatural elements and claims of psychic abilities and spirit guides present in the early program. Indeed a great deal of actual psychology was incorporated into the process as it developed, gradually supplanting earlier elements which according to one source[4] came from the Spiritualist Church. Current participants may not be aware of the program's origin as Fischer-Hoffman Psychic Therapy.

[edit] Trivia
Curiously, for all its New Age trappings, the Hoffman Institute has on its board of advisers Ken Blanchard, a close associate of Rick Warren.[5] Also in the department of the weird, the Bhagwan Sree Rajneesh cult offered an "Anti-Fischer-Hoffman Process"[6], which one supposes was along similar lines as the "Est Repair Rundown" offered by the Church of Scientology.

[edit] Footnotes
ª Hoffman Institute main website, []
ª The Ontological Odd Couple and the Origins of of the Fischer-Hoffman Psychic Therapy
ª This description is based on Bob Hoffman's 1976 book Getting Divorced from Mother & Dad: The Discoveries of the Fischer-Hoffman Process. As can best be gleaned from Hoffman Institute websites, the terminology has changed and is now framed as visualizations rather than actual psychic contact.
ª []
ª Ken Blanchard and the Hoffman Quadrinity Process (caveat: fundamentalist Christian website)
ª []
Retrieved from "[];
New Age

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 11, 2013 10:15AM



This article is the most honest press I’ve read about it, they like to keep their methods quiet because it won’t work if you know what’s coming.

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 11, 2013 10:23AM

We worked long hours – from 8am until 10pm.

There was no time for reading, walking or DVDs.

We were meant to hand over computers, magazines, sleeping pills and telephones.

Why I tried the Hoffman Process of psychoanalysis
The combination of 20 years of reporting conflict, together with scars left by her upbringing prompted Janine di Giovanni to try an intense week-long form of psychoanalysis

Janine di Giovanni
The Guardian, Tuesday 15 March 2011 20.30 GMT




The women on either side of me both later admitted they loathed me on sight. One, whom I grew to love dearly, said: "I thought you had no sense of physically boundaries, you kept wiggling in your chair and knocking into me." The other – a fierce-looking poet who scowled but who ended up making me laugh and laugh – thought me aloof. "But I love you now," she said. Three seats down was another woman who, like me, did not utter a word more than she had to for the first 48 hours.

Later, I would realise that everything was intentional – where we sat, who our roommates and teachers were. Our teachers – we were each given one who would guide us through the week ahead – had carefully read our histories. So carefully, that when I was not "getting into it enough" during a Gestalt exercise, my teacher came over and whispered something so painful in my ear that I responded, uncharacteristically, like a maniac. Which is exactly what he wanted: to push my buttons, or to break me down, so to speak, in a controlled environment, and then to rebuild me. I think I actually saw him smile as I went nuclear.

We worked long hours – from 8am until 10pm. There was no time for reading, walking or DVDs. We were meant to hand over computers, magazines, sleeping pills and telephones. I lied and kept my BlackBerry and my sleeping pills. After three days, guilt took over and I went to Matthew, my teacher, and handed them over. And that was the end of my contact with the outside world.

Most of the work is in the form of powerful meditation. Visualisation plays a strong part in it; as does journal-writing and drawing, and, of course, the group sessions, which grew less painful but more challenging: admitting transference, it seems, is important.

The first four days were excruciating and exhausting. No getting around it. Then it got – while not exactly easier, because every day unearthed some new layer – lighter. The final days were spent on how to deal with the outside world.

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Re: Hoffman Institute
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 25, 2015 10:02PM

Someone wanted to contribute to this discussion. Their posts landed in another thread by mistake.

To read the two posts go here.

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