Taking some 'me' time: The Hoffman Essentials online workshop reviewed

Emma Newlands reaps the therapeutic rewards of a transformative online workshop.

The treatment

The Hoffman Essentials (early bird offer of £195; otherwise £250), a two-day online workshop “that provides you with essential tools for life”.

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Why try it?

The course provides tools to help tune up your thought patterns and resulting behaviour. Picture: Shutterstock.

I have long been intrigued by the Hoffman Process – a week-long residential course that originated with the aim to “spread peace in the world, one person at a time”, and which is the subject of many evangelical endorsements from the likes of singer Katy Perry and actress Thandiwe Newton.

When I see that on the back of lockdown restrictions, a condensed (and much more more affordable) online version has been launched, it feels like a great way to make use of a weekend without much else to do – and hopefully emerge as a better version of myself.

A key advantage is that the course promises to give you simple but highly supportive and effective tools to help tune up your thought patterns and resulting behaviour – so while the work starts on the weekend it should be ongoing to feel the full benefit. Course organisers say the Essentials offering has proved very popular, while sometimes participants book a hotel or Airbnb so they can take part with no distractions.

Our spy says

I have to fill in a pre-course questionnaire, which helps focus my mind on why I am taking part and what I want to achieve. I feel a little apprehensive before signing into Zoom on the first day, having visions of myself soon sobbing into my webcam, Blair Witch Project style. But that thankfully doesn’t prove to be the case, and the two instructors and rest of the group are reassuring and open.

At points splitting into two smaller groups, we are introduced to Hoffman techniques and practices, looking at, say, patterns we learnt in childhood, and how they affect us now. One of the most intense but transformative parts is where we write down, share, and then do an exercise to silence what our inner critic tells us – and I am shocked both by seeing what I’ve written, and hearing what other people have said about themselves.

Overall the course also gives me some new and deeper insight into myself, both from my own reflections, but also seeing my own experiences in others – and we’re given post-course access to online resources.

The results

The course is refreshingly different to and more practical, physical and – crucially – “fast-acting” than other therapy I’ve had, and also feels pretty good value for two full and productive days, while definitely piquing my interest in doing the full Process. I end each day feeling lighter and freer, rather than drained and fragile.

However, the biggest epiphany comes a few days after the course when I suddenly realise something is missing from my thoughts – the constant chatter of my inner critic has been well and truly silenced. It’s a revelation. Hoffman aims to help you become you “on a really good hair day” – and it can add me to its list of enthusiastic converts.

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