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 pupils, 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 staff receive basic training in solution-oriented communication as well as a team-supported induction. Every year, the school and the all-day school, in cooperation with the Institute for Solution-Oriented Communication in Bielefeld (ILK), offer the new colleagues an introduction to the practical work with this counselling approach. Regular concept days are held for all school and all-day staff members on this topic.

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 wishes and goals for the future is helpful in developing solution steps.


We assume that every person already has all the resources they need to work out their solution. The task of the counsellor is to activate these resources and to direct the conversation towards 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 the development of actual solutions. Solution-focused practitioners are directive in guiding the conversation towards goals, resources and first small steps, but as non-directive as possible about the content of what is being talked about. The client determines 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 focus attention through conversation on goals, exceptions to the problem and strengths. We do not so much analyse how and why the problems came about, but rather focus together on where we want to go.

As a rule, we clarify early on in the conversation which goals and wishes our client has:

    • What exactly will life look like when the problems are gone?
    • What would our client then do differently first?
    • 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).

Then it is important to find out what a first, small, concrete and feasible step towards this goal could be. 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 visualise when there are times when things go better and why they go better (exceptions). One of our main tasks is to support our clients to activate this knowledge and make it usable 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 staff members in the school and all-day school in all fields of work meet each other as well as the pupils and their families from a common basic attitude and on the basis of this common basic attitude.
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