Alexander von Humboldt Professorship 2021

Stefan G. Hofmann

Stefan Hofmann is a leading expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression using cognitive behavioural therapy which his research has crucially shaped and further developed by employing neurological methods.

  • Nominating University: University of Marburg
Porträt von Stefan G. Hofmann
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Translational clinical psychology

Suddenly your heart starts racing, you sweat, shake and feel as though you are suffocating. Up to 15 percent of the population suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder in the course of their lives and, in the worst cases, have panic attacks. The good news is that cognitive behavioural therapy is enjoying considerable success – precisely in treating anxiety. It offers interventions which enable sufferers to learn how to regulate excessive emotions, and recognise, address and even retrain unreasonable emotional responses.

Stefan Hofmann is an eminent international authority in the field of anxiety disorders and depression. In recent years, his research has made a significant contribution to further developing modern cognitive behavioural therapy methods. Amongst other things, he studied how interpersonal processes affect the regulation of emotions in anxiety disorders and how they can be utilised.

Hofmann works at the intersection of neuroscience and clinical psychology. He has, for example, translated knowledge about the neural processes taking place in the brain during anxiety disorders into behavioural therapy procedures. He has also investigated how the success of exposition therapy as well as confrontation therapy can be reinforced by administering the antibiotic d-cycloserine for social phobias. Furthermore, he studies how MRI images can be used to derive biomarkers that enable practitioners to make statements and predictions about the success and course of psychotherapeutic methods.
With his expertise in this field, Hofmann will assume a leading position in developing a Centre for Translational Clinical Psychology in Marburg where an interdisciplinary approach will be adopted to translate these kinds of results from neuroscientific research into clinical psychology.

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Stefan Hofmann at Boston University

Brief bio

Stefan G. Hofmann was born in Germany and studied psychology at the University of Marburg, completing his Diplom in 1990 and doctorate in 1993. After sojourns at the universities of Göttingen and Dresden and a DAAD research scholarship at Stanford University, United States, he relocated to Boston University, United States, in 1996. Since 2008, he has held a professorship in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and is head of the Psychotherapy and Emotion Research Laboratory. As of 2016, Hofmann has been one of the most frequently cited researchers in his subject and is the author of standard textbooks on modern cognitive behavioural therapy. In July 2021 he took up his position as a Humboldt Professor at the University of Marburg.

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