The basic attitude: Solution- and resource-oriented communication

At the Hundertwasser School, all professional communication is based on the solution- and resource-oriented approach: all conversations and reflections with the students, the KESS conversations, all conversations with the parents, but also all staff development and staff meetings. The solution-oriented communication makes a very big contribution to the positive atmosphere at our school and to the fact that all children and adults can feel comfortable at this school.
All school and all-day employees receive basic training in solution-oriented communication as well as a team-supported induction. In cooperation with the Institute for Solution-Oriented Communication in Bielefeld (ILK), every year the school and the open all-day programs offer new colleagues an introduction to practical work with this consulting approach. Regular concept days on this topic are held jointly by all employees in the school and the all-day program.

A short theoretical introduction, from which we quote the following excerpt, can be found   


"LFT* (solution-focused therapy) was developed in the early 1980s by Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and colleagues at the Brief Family Therapy Center (Milwaukee, USA) and has been continuously modified. The solution-focused approach is a problem-independent and strongly resource-oriented model for conducting conversations in various fields of application. The hallmarks of the solution-focused approach are intensive goal and resource orientation, empowerment and the pragmatic search for the next possible steps towards a solution. A basic assumption of LFT is that an in-depth examination of the structure and causes of problems is not necessary for finding solutions. Rather, it is assumed that encouraging clients to talk about exceptions to the problem in the past and desires and goals for the future is helpful in developing solution steps.


We assume that each person already has all the resources they need to work out their solution. The task of the counselor is to activate these resources and to direct the conversation to times when "things go better". In these problem-free times and in the mental play-through of "pretending - that - the - problem - has - already - been - solved," lie valuable clues for developing actual solutions. Solution-focused practitioners are directive in guiding the conversation toward goals, resources, and initial small steps, but as non-directive as possible about the content of what is being talked about. The client sets the direction and the path. At the same time, resources discovered and successes made are directly and indirectly reinforced. 

We believe that the best way to help people overcome problems is to shift the focus of attention through conversation to goals, exceptions to the problem, and strengths. Rather than analyzing how and why the problems occurred, we focus together on where we want to go.

We usually clarify early in the conversation what our client's goals and desires are:

    • What exactly will life look like when the problems are gone?
    • What would be the first thing our client would do differently?
    • What next?
    • Who in his environment would first notice the disappearance of the problem without the client directly addressing it?


So the first step is to work out a concrete goal together, a desired image of the future that gives our clients a new direction (focus).

After that, it is important to find out what could be a first, small, concrete and feasible step towards this goal. When it has become clear what a first, small step could be, an idea for the next small second step often arises, ... .

In the search for the next small steps, it can be extremely helpful to visualize when there are times when things go better and why they go better (exceptions). One of our main tasks is to help our clients activate this knowledge and make it useful for a current problem solution. In all of this, we are always concerned with concrete doing, feeling and thinking. Solution-focused action is thus very practical and closely oriented to personal or professional everyday life. "It is essential for the joint work at our school that all employees in the school and all-day school in all fields of work meet each other as well as the students and their families from a common basic attitude and on the basis of this common basic attitude.