A Community of Heart Profile: Arne Hofmann
Arne Hofmann is influential in the world of trauma education and healing, especially in his native country, Germany. Those who know Arne have been astounded and delighted by the determination and the dedication he has shown in introducing, edifying and teaching the German therapeutic community about EMDR and trauma.
Understanding diversity has been a theme and a goal throughout Arne’s life. The foundation for his interest came through his father’s enthusiasm in this arena. Mr. Hofmann was a man who was interested in serving his fellow human beings and did so through his position as the head of the YMCA in Mannheim and as a city leader. They had many international guests who stayed at the “Y” and Arne was exposed at an early age to many cultural differences, especially the African culture.
After serving 2 years in the army as a medic at the Air Force Base in Ulm, Arne helped his father for several years with developmental aid projects through the church agencies. His job was to travel to aid sites and evaluate the programs there; a structure that has served him well in his current avocation of teacher, researcher and psychotherapist.
In 1977, Arne began Medical School at the University of Heidelberg. After this time, he was entitled to use the title of Arzt. To achieve the title of Dr., in 1983, he wrote his doctoral thesis: “Trans- cultural Conflict in a South African tribe: Traditional vs. Western Birthing Practices.” In 1983, he was a Resident at the Heidelberg Psychoanalytic Research Institute at the University and studied basic research methods and family therapy with Helm Stierlin. From 1984-1986, he was a Resident in Internal Medicine at a Cardiology Hospital in Bad Nauheim and then he went on to complete his residency in Darmstadt where he was recognized as a Specialist in Internal Medicine in February 1991. He worked in the Catheter Lab and helped to build the first AIDS program in this hospital. At the same time, he was interested in Psychosomatic Medicine and studied at the Psychoanalytic Institute in Giessen with H.E. Richter. Later, in 1991, he went to MRI for several months to continue his psychotherapy training. Here, he met such luminaries as Tom Nagy who taught him about Dissociative Identity Disorders and Francine Shapiro who taught him about trauma and EMDR. In fact, he did his EMDR trainings in 1991, during the early days of EMDR.
Arne returned to Oberursel where he continued his training at the Hohe Mark Hospital, a psychiatric facility near Frankfurt. After he received the license to be a “Psychotherapist” in 1994, Arne was responsible for a new ward that was to specialize in the treatment of Posttraumatic and Dissociative Disorders. In 1996, he was recognized and certified in the specialization of Psychotherapeutic Medicine.
Arne’s interest in EMDR began in 1991, and continued into 1992, when he tried to organize the first EMDR training in Germany. Unfortunately, this first attempt was unsuccessful, and it was not until 1995, that he succeeded in attracting a number of qualified therapists to the first German training of the EMDR Institute, held in an Ayurvedic Clinic in Kassel. Since that time, over 1000 clinicians have been trained in the basics of EMDR, with 600 more trained in the advanced course.
The success of EMDR in Germany has come through the huge amount of work that Arne has dedicated to this project, for example, he has spoken all over the country, published papers in respected journals, done research, and has been actively engaged in the academic communities of all of the organizations to which he belongs. Another of his skills has been to coordinate an excellent facilitator team; they have complemented his strengths and added breadth to this undertaking. They are: Lutz Bessa, Lucien Burkhardt, Franz Ebner, Dagmar Eckers, Veronika Engl, Michael Hase, Hanne Hummel (Switzerland), Peter Liebermann, Kamilla Muller (England), Hans-Henning Melbeck, Beatrix Musaeus-Schurmann, Mark Novy, Christine Rost, Martina Tiedt-Schuette,Visal Tumani, and Brigitte Weyers (Luxembourg). At first, American trainers such as Francine Shapiro, Gerry Puk, Roger Solomon and William Zangwill came to teach the German therapists. Now, Arne, along with Franz Ebner, teaches in German all over Germany, Switzerland, and, after an invitation of the national psychological organization, also in Austria. In 1995, he co-founded, with Michaela Huber, the German section of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.
In 1997, Arne moved to Cologne and became a Researcher at the Institute for Clinical Psychology at the University of Cologne. He headed the project, “Trauma Therapy for Victims of Violence.” This became a model project through the University and is still running. Arne also became an advocate for the EMDR European community at large. Currently, he holds the position of Vice President of the EMDREA Board in Europe since 1998.
With the thought of deepening his knowledge in the field of Psychotraumatology and interest in educating the German-speaking psychotherapeutic community, Arne co- founded the German-speaking Society for Psychotraumatology, a branch of the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) in 1998.
In 1999, he was the co-director of the newly established Trauma Clinic at the University of Cologne opened by the German Institute for Psychotraumatology (DIPT). He was one of the initiators and the Supervisor of a project to help the survivors and the bereaved family members of the Eschede train accident. In this catastrophe, 100 people died and many more were injured. The German Rail organized this program to help the survivors. This incident was critical to the education of the German public into the nature of trauma.
He went on to be involved in the Guideline Commission for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder that was formed by the Department Heads of Psychosomatic Medicine in Germany. These guidelines appear at the website of the society of the medical scientific societies of Germany (AWMF): www.uni_duessseldorf.de/www/AWMF. Also, he is on the guideline Commission for Dissociative Disorders.
His book, “EMDR in der Therapie psychotraumatischer Belastungssyndrome” (EMDR in the therapy of Psycho-traumatic Disorders) was published in German in 1999 by the publishing house, Thieme. Currently, it is in its second printing and is being translated into English.
At the moment, Arne has branched out and has opened his own EMDR Institute in Cologne. This is the hub from which he works on his many projects concerning EMDR, Psycho-traumatology and Dissociative Disorders. He is a member of the Psychosomatic Faculty at the University of Cologne where he teaches courses. He is also called on to train and to consult with members of different hospital staffs concerning their trauma programs. Arne is actively involved with research projects on Acute Trauma and complex trauma. He is a Senior Trainer for the EMDR Institute of the United States and achieved that status in 1997, for the beginning seminar and in 2001, for the advanced seminar.
With all that he does, does this man have a personal life? Some! He is married to Ute Hofmann, a psychotherapist he met while working at the Hohe Mark Hospital in 1991. After two years of romance, they were married in 1993. They are great fans of traveling and count their trips to Ireland, the Maladives, Hawaii, California and Cape Cod as some of their most treasured experiences. Arne has many interests from reading a wide range of books from ancient to current History and Astronomy. He is excited by Anthropology and likes to study civilizations from the outside to look at their structures and understand what makes them the way they are. Also, he is fascinated how different nations treat their children differently.
Arne’s thoughts on EMDR and his involvement in the EMDR community are the following: “I think EMDR is a new movement in the beginning. Its boundaries have not been tested yet. What changes it and what it may bring in the long run is still unknown. The Shapiro-Effect has been discovered several times in human history. Francine alone had the energy to bring that approach to use natural stimulation into the mainstream of scientific psychotherapy. If I see innovators like Bessel, or Sandra or Bob or you, I feel inspired. I feel proud to be part of this movement.”
Arne is a true member of the international community of EMDR. As a psychiatrist, teacher, researcher, clinician, community-builder, husband and friend, he brings his intelligence, humor and heart to all that he does.
We are happy to have him among us.