“We encourage people to lean into the pain that they’re carrying in a certain way, with instruction and observation,” he said. “They learn to become more comfortable about the parts that were painful and shameful. And a wholeness comes to the emotionally and spiritually from doing that.” In practice, the process includes journaling, guided visualizations, and lectures administered in individual and group settings. The curriculum centers on Bob Hoffman’s proprietary method to combat “negative love syndrome,” a term he coined for the theory that suggests we repeat relationship patterns learned from our parents. The Hoffman Process helps attendees “unlearn” negative behaviors and thereby begin a journey of self-understanding, says Ingrasci. Such clarity doesn’t come cheap; the Hoffman process will set you back $4,695.
The Hoffman Process helps attendees “unlearn” negative behaviors and thereby begin a journey of self-understanding.
In an interview with Vogue, Bieber describes an exercise from his stint at Hoffman: “You sit on a mat, you put a pillow down, and you beat your past out of it. I beat the fact that my mom was depressed a lot of my life and my dad has anger issues. Stuff that they passed on that I’m kind of mad they gave me,” he explains.
Nancy Irwin, PsyD, a member of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, says such methods can be helpful in tackling trauma. “This can be a useful tool, particularly at the beginning of facing and processing trauma, as it does release repressed anger, resentments,” she tells Well+Good. “It helps to physicalize emotions as a first step to processing feelings and trauma emotionally and psychologically.” Dr. Irwin warns that some psychologists don’t recommend such exercises because they could ultimately lead to more aggressive behavior, but says its certainly better than avoiding deep-seated feelings altogether.