A Community of Heart Profile: Elfrun Magloire



Elfrun Magloire was born Elfrun Saynisch in Hemer, Germany during World War 2. She was conceived while her father was on leave but he never returned. Her mother became a milliner to support her family and worked in her mother’s shop and Elfrun remembers her childhood as “wonderful.” Her older brother was her male model and she was positively influenced by his interest in books, culture and classical music. While her older sister was shy, Elfrun was gregarious and enjoyed speaking her mind. There were few teachers in post-war Germany and she shared a classroom with 50 other children. She first went to High School in Menden run by monks but she was too outspoken and her mother wisely transferred her to the High School in Iserlohn where she graduated in 1965.

Despite her brother’s influence, her interest in science reflected that of the father whom she never met. She excelled in Physics and wanted to go into Sound Engineering. When she did not find a program, she looked for another scientific interest to pursue. Luckily, she met a peer studying psychology and she decided to study experimental psychology at the University of Hamburg.

While enjoying her studies in Hamburg, she met Lionel Magloire. Lionel was from Haiti and was reading Physics in the technical university of Clausthal-Zellerfeld. It was love at first sight and despite the protestations of her feminist colleagues who said to her, “It is 1968, you do not chase after a man!” she followed Lionel to the University of Munich to complete her studies. In 1970, she had their son Yves-Miro Magloire. The same year, she received her Diploma in Clinical Psychology. She loved the experimental nature of Behavior Therapy and found it a good strategy for working.

Elfun’s curious nature compelled her to continue learning. In 1974, she helped the community of Garching/München build a Counseling Center for Psychology and Psychotherapy for children and adults who had psychological problems. She was a member of the staff and alternated the role of director. She became certified in Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy accredited by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Verhaltenstherapie (DGVT– German Association of Behavior Therapy). This is a state licensure needed to work as a psychological psychotherapist.

Elfrun worked at the Center until 1985. Over time, she came to the conclusion that Behavior Therapy did not offer her enough skills to work effectively with her patients so she started a certification programs in Family Systems Therapy with Virginia Satir and in Ericksonian Hypnosis. During the seventies-eighties, there was an “American psychotherapy invasion” and American psychotherapists came to Germany with new ideas in psychotherapy including learning through self-experience and small groups - a new concept for German clinicians. She completed the Family Systems certification (1984) while also working on Practitioner Certification in NLP (1983) and became certified in Ericksonian Hypnosis (1986).

In 1983, Lionel was appointed to a professorship at the University of Cologne and they commuted between Munich and Cologne for 3 years. Munich was a wonderful city filled with cafes more reminiscent of Italy than Germany, with easy access to weekend adventures at the sea, mountains or countryside. It was a difficult transition to Cologne when Elfrun moved in 1985 leaving her friends and community behind. In her mid-forties, Elfrun did not want to continue in community mental health. Through the friendships that her outgoing nature afforded during her studies, she met a colleague who helped her. In 1986, she set up a private practice for children, adolescents and adults in Cologne specializing in Psychotraumatology and Systems Therapy. She also worked with French-speaking patients especially African refugees who had been traumatized in their countries of origin.

By 1989, Elfrun was recognized as a skilled clinician and began a parallel career as a training therapist, teacher and supervisor in Behavior Therapy at the Academy of Behavior Therapy (AVT) in Cologne. Later, she was asked to be in charge of the final examinations in this program for the Rhine Westphalia area of Germany. In 2004, she developed and directed continuing education training programs for licensed psychotherapists for certification in “Specialized Psychotrauma Therapy (DeGPT). She teaches three of the curriculum’s eight courses: Basics of Treatment of Psychotrauma, Stabilization Techniques and Methods of Trauma Work (CBT, hypnotherapy, PIIT (Reddemann).

In 1994, she went to the International Psychotherapy Congress in Hamburg and Donald Meichenbaum’s workshop on “PTSD with CBT”. During his talk, he mentioned a new method called EMDR. She thought that Meichenbaum was somewhat rejecting of EMDR: this piqued her curiosity and she began reading about EMDR. When she saw that there would be EMDR training in Cologne, she decided to attend.

She began training through the EMDR Institute in Germany. By this time, she had much experience working with PTSD and anxiety with different modalities but noticed that often when she assisted patients in changing their cognitions or their evaluations of situations, the changes were not holding. When she worked with EMDR, changes held. Also, when learning about trauma through the eyes of an EMDR Practitioner, she was becoming more sensitized to when patients had PTSD. In 1998, she did her Part 2 training with Francine Shapiro, began supervision with Arne Hofmann and Supervisory Training with Marilyn Luber. Arne noticed she was gifted in teaching and encouraged her to become a Facilitator. She completed this training in 2003 and worked in Germany and France. During 2006-2007, she completed her Trainer’s Training for EMDR Europe and became certified in “Specialized Psychotrauma Therapy (DeGPT), the German affiliate to the European and International Societies for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Since her marriage to Lionel, they were frequent visitors to Haiti. During these visits, she had opportunities to meet Haitian colleagues. By 2004, she gave workshops to prepare Haitian psychotherapists for a certification in psychotraumatology. She tried to create a project at this time, but, due to other world catastrophes, there was no funding available.

In 2005, Elfrun met Myrtho Mara Chilosi through friends. Myrtho, a psychiatrist, did her EMDR training in Italy and spoke about EMDR in her lectures to the medical faculty of the University in Port-au- Prince. Elfrun was delighted to have a Haitian EMDR practitioner with whom she could introduce EMDR into the guarded Haitian professional community. As a result of slavery, Haitians are reticent and a hard to know people. They are polite but keep their distance. The only way to gain their confidence is to speak Creole and even then it takes time. Through other friends Elfrun met Roseline Benjamin, Clinical Psychologist and Director of a Counseling center in Clinical and Applied Psychology in Haiti, called IDEO. She is a Board Member of the Haitian Association of Psychologists that has about 35 members. Through her, Elfrun found a group of clinicians motivated to learn EMDR. The question still remained, “Where do we find the funding?” Roseline was so eager to learn EMDR that she went to Montreal/Canada in 2005 and 2006 despite the financial hardship.

Lionel encouraged Elfrun to apply to the Institute of Foreign Relations (IFA), affiliated with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs as they are interested in helping societies where there is violence and catastrophe. Her idea was to teach members of the Haitian society about psychotraumatology to help them understand the nature of trauma and integrate their learning into their society to decrease the aggressive and violent behaviors there. The IFA ordinarily worked with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) but Elfrun was on her own. She partnered with a Haitian NGO, Unité de Recherche et d’Action Médico-Légale (URAMEL) that was helping to introduce the idea that medical and legal personnel should know about trauma and its effects. IFA agreed to partner directly with Elfrun as an individual and URAMEL. Then, URAMEL hired Elfrun as a consultant. The application was an extensive process comparable to writing a dissertation and also had to be written in French and translated into German. In 2007, it was accepted.

The project, “Crises, Conflicts, Psychotrauma Management and Peace” began in 2008. It was sponsored by IFA and URAMEL. The first training consisted of 50 clinicians from all over Haiti. She taught about psychotraumatology including identification, stabilization and resource techniques, CBT, screen techniques and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for acute collective trauma. The EMDR Integrative Group Treatment Protocol (IGTP) was essential given the situation in Haiti. Participants also found it helpful to use the IGTP for their own work. The training was a success.

Myrtho and Roseline also helped survivors in October after a huge flood in Gonaives (Haiti’s second largest city). In December 2008, after the collapse of a nursery school in Nerette, a quarter of Port- au-Prince, where 97 children died and 140 more survived, Elfrun returned and worked with 15 therapists, who had been trained by her in the project of URAMEL) helping them in supervision as they worked with the children. From April – May 2009, Myrtho and Rosline worked with 40 aide workers who had Secondary PTSD in the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna.

After the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, Arne Hofmann called Elfrun to explore ways to support the Haitian community. The beginning response is a partnership between HAP Germany, EMDRHAP (USA) and Terre des Hommes, under the umbrella of URAMEL. On February 3 rd , Ute Sodemann, Vice President of Trauma AID/HAP Germany will arrive in Port-au-Prince with Chris Hartmann and Ivo M.R. Soto from Terre des Hommes. Elfrun will go on February 8 th as an EMDR Trainer with Rahel Schüepp, EMDR Trainer in Training for assessment work with URAMEL, and to meet with ‘Cellule d’Urgence,’ Haitian colleagues who are organizing psychological First Aid and are planning and implementing Recent Trauma Psychoeducation by radio. They are also planning CISM and IGTP interventions. They will collaborate with Ignacio Jarero, who is part of NGO World Vision’s international team and an EMDR Trainer from Mexico, to become more skillful in the use of the IGTP.

To the EMDR community, Elfrun says:

“I hope that there will be a day that every psychotherapist in the world knows EMDR.”

Elfrun Magloire demonstrates the importance of serving one’s family, friends, professional community, country and the world, she is essential to our EMDR community.


“A Community of Heart Profile: Elfrun Magloire,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 15, 2024, https://francineshapirolibrary.omeka.net/items/show/7671.

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