In problem solving we follow the guidelines of the Systemic Constructivist Model and Solution Focused Brief Therapy which involves:

  • Training in communication skills: not using totalitarian words (always, never, you have to…) and preferably using “open” terminology (sometimes, from my point of view, I suggest…). We make sure that we have been understood when giving a message and meta-communicate the therapeutic progress, in order to give more cognitive control to the child.

  • Use an appropriate tone, suited to the situation at hand and the intended meaning

  • Knowing how to listen by nodding, without judging, making short summaries so that the other party feels understood.

  • Learning how to externalise.

  • Use presuppositional language to look for positive exceptions.

  • Know how to use paradoxical language.

  • Faced with problem-saturated stories, know how to deconstruct and redefine.

Why, when, what for and how to change?

When we talk about change, we mean changing some habits that prevent us from being what we are and what we dream of becoming. Although it may seem contradictory, we first need to accept ourselves, to love ourselves and to feel loved as we are, admitting the temporality of some of our actions and ways of being.

The fact that we have spent ninety percent of our lives with the same irremediable limitations does not imply that one day things cannot be different. Normally, changes require a great deal of effort, but you can always look for the most affordable ones until you learn how, and apply it to all the situations you consider appropriate.
Sometimes, before the effort of change, there is a dreamt design, where do we want to get to? For that we only need a slight abstraction of reality in which we can miraculously visualise, without effort, that which makes us feel happy. Then, by anchoring some of the sensations, feelings, relationships of our daily life with that utopia, by starting to behave as if the dream had been achieved, we will have taken the first concrete steps.

The advantages we have seen with this Model are clear:

  • Just as it is said that from the moment you come into contact with a client, if he/she is patient, everything is therapeutic, we say that once you have made contact with the child, everything is educational.

  • We start from the assumption that all young people have something positive and a multitude of resources. To do this, after getting to know the young person, we make an effort to find at least ten things that we like about him/her.

  • It involves being respectful, but not letting the young person get away with it. The educator must adapt to the position of the youth, to his/her level of language and must try not to enter into opposition, always trying to have a good relationship and closeness. This does not mean putting him/herself on the same level and not knowing what corresponds to each one. The rules are set by the educators, by listening to the children and that is one of their responsibilities, to make the rules serve the children, not the other way around. “Authority” must not be lost.

  • It avoids many violent situations compared to other methods in which less attention is paid to proper communication.

  • It allows for a more individualised treatment, as all the solutions that are proposed are oriented towards what works best for each specific child.

  • It allows for a greater understanding of the young person, as we try to respect his/her values scale and not to judge what is more or less important for him/her, although we try to open up expectations and points of view.

  • It facilitates teamwork, which is essential, avoiding disqualifications in front of the children and avoiding contradictory messages.

  • It allows to impose sanctions that can then be enforced and are appropriate to the offence, or not to impose them and to think that it is better to get it wrong together than to get it right separately.

  • It avoids communication blocks with children.

  • We start from a working basis without much prior information, which on the one hand allows us to act without so many prejudices and makes it easier to start again without labels that lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. This helps, in addition, to make the young person responsible for the sovereignty of his/her life so that he/she does not excuse his/her actions by blaming the system and/or social injustice. This we have never denied, nor will we deny that it exists (but it is more difficult to change society than our position with respect to it).

  • The most affordable or easiest changes are sought, so it is easier to train educators to work at the level of behaviour and knowledge. The feelings and affection for the youth should be spontaneous and not forced.

  • It allows for judgment of facts and not of people.

  • Negative attitudes and behaviour should be externalised, while success should be attributed to the students.