Deutsch Intern
    Chair of Special Education V - Education for People with Emotional and Behavioural Disorders

    Creative Tools

    The interactionistic model of emotional and social development (abbrev.: "iESE-model") is designed as a theoretic framework for the application of interactionistic thinking in practice of pedagogy for people with emotional and behavioural disorders. A central main feature of the model is "experiencing" ("experiental communication" is derived from it, cf. Hofmann, 2017). A pedagogical manual is planned, in which all central aspects of the iESE-model are concentrated. Moreover, several creative tools are being developed, which enable or simplify concrete experiencing working in the pedagogy for people with emotional and behavioural disorders. Main fields of application of the tools are special educational counselling, supervision and collegial case consultation. Objective of all cases is the reflection of the situational complexity of problematic pedagogical situations in all of their nuances.

    1. Sinnbilder ("Symbols")

    Sinnbilder ("symbols") are court yards with metaphorical depictions. The selection of the motifs is oriented by the philosophical work of Rombach (1994) und Gendlin (2015). Both authors describe "organic" processes of change as seen on the "Sinnbilder". Methaphorical depictions can simplify the approach to experiencing processes. They may help to express, what is being felt at the moment. The motifs allow experiencing instinctively and are concrete enough to describe emotions at the same moment. Due to their two characters of experiencing and language the court yards can initiate a process of explanation, which symbolizes the implicit centre of experiencing of the topic (cf. Hofmann, 2017).

    Regarding the direct explication work with children and young people a wide selection of shapes and colours may be sufficient, which can be related to subjective experience in practical realization (cf. Markones, 2017). In other cases the work with court yards can be extended with materials, that meet the specific needs of the target groups (e. g. adjective lists). For this purpose specific sets are being developed. In all cases the aim is to support, to give space for subjective experience. In particular, it is of importance to special educational contexts, in which interaction of person and environment is characterized by disturbances (cf. Stein, 2017). On the part of the education for people with emotional and behavioural disorders the experience of a situation can be considered as a point of cristallization of the disorder, but also as a starting point for an adaptive change (cf. Hofmann & Freitag, 2018).

    2. Thinking at the Edge / Thetaland

    Thinking at the Edge - "TAE" was originally developed by Prof. Eugene T. Gendlin at the University of Chicago as a systematically applicable method of theory formation (cf. Gendlin, 2004a, 2004b). It is related to the focusing-method (cf. Gendlin, 1998; cf. Gendlin & Wiltschko, 2004) and is meant for a rhytmic concentration between experiencing and language. There have been existing several application relations in German-speaking countries so far, on the one hand as flexibly adaptive practice of thinking at the edge to different contexts (cf. Fendler-Lee, 2017), but also in the form of a specific experiencing coaching offer (cf. Deloch, 2017).

    TAE is a structured process of thinking. In 14 coordinated steps, it is possible to develop a content-related position on a specific topic based on one`s own experience. Vague experience can be expressed in clear words, so it can be communicated in such a way the opposite is able to understand. Therefore, thinking at the edge can be understood as a practically applicable method of autonomy formation in pedagogical contexts (cf. Hofmann, 2017). The tool "Thetaland (TM)" is based on the principles and questions of thinking at the edge. The methodology will be further developed by the German authors of the game for flexible adaption to variety of professional issues and for the playful usage of the original 14 TAE-steps within the work with groups.

    3. Lösungsuhr ("Solution Clock")

    The Lösungsuhr ("solution clock") is a tool for the development of coherent solutions in complex and muddled problem situations. It helps to create new personal space,  to reverse in thoughts the dynamics of stopped or collapsing interaction processes (in the sense of Möckels, cf. 1982) and to bring it into flow again as well as to present concrete adaptive possibilities for practical work. The "solution clock" can be used as a reflection tool in considerate and friendly case meetings, supervision sessions and for special educational consultation.

    The twelve solution principles of the Lösungsuhr concentrate theoretical knowledge about adaptive proceedings and the essence of practical experience. The solution method is explained in the manual and can be applied in a playful way. Each individual solution principle is vividly and concretely demonstrated by clear examples. The solution methodology derives from experimental, imaginative and body-related approaches from focusing, metaphor work and motopedics.

    Research Issues

    • What are the possibilities and limits of using creative tools in the context of case work, supervision and special educational consultation? Which tools are especially suitable for which field of application?
    • How can the method and the selection of individual elements be adapted to specific contexts and target groups (e. g. in case of children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural disorders)?
    • In what way can process-philosophical bases, psychological models of processing information and current metaphor theories be connected with regard to application related aspects?
    • Which recommendations can be derived from the findings and put into practice?

    Further Information

    Sinnbilder: example video with court yards:



    Dr. Tony Hofmann
    Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg
    phone: 0931 / 31 83324

    Persons Involved

    Dr. Evelyn Fendler-Lee, TAE-trainer, coach, USA,

    Dipl.-Päd. Monika Lindner, ECC/trainer (GwG),

    Prof. Dr. Stephan Ellinger
    Chair of Education I - Education for People with Learning Disabilities
    further information

    OStRin Stefanie Daum, Staatliche Berufsschule 2, Aschaffenburg

    Bettina Markones, StR‘in FöSch, active in mobile special educational service (MSD)
    09306 / 980 651

    Christian Uebele
    motopedics / mototherapist / PE teacher

    Detlef Girke
    handicapped accessable IT (BITV-Consult)

    Initiative Nachbar Wenzel (initiative neighbour Wenzel)/ Erthal Sozialwerk
    help for people with mental illness

    Alisa Ramona Böck, student of special education / education for people with emotional and behavioural disorders
    Sonja Schell, student of special education / education for people with emotional and behavioural disorders
    Marius Opferkuch, student of special education / education for people with emotional and behavioural disorders
    Laura Stephan, student of special education / education for people with emotional and behavioural disorders


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    Gendlin, E.T. (2004a): Introduction to Thinking At the Edge. In: The Folio. A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy. 1 (19), S. 1–8. Online verfügbar unter html, zuletzt geprüft am 05.09.2018

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