Resource-Oriented Interviewing

Textbook, 2013

34 Pages, Grade: Keine



Introduction: What is Resource-Oriented Interviewing?

The Principle of Feedback

Topic No. 1: The Problem and Previous Coping Strategies
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 2: Exceptions to the Problem
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 3: Meaning and Purpose of the Aim
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 4: Hoping to Accomplish the Goal
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 5: The Feasibility of the Goal
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 6: Individual Steps Towards the Aim
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Topic No. 7: The Evaluation of the Results
The Questions
Risks and Hazards

Closing Remark


Introduction: What is Resource-Oriented Interviewing?

Four questions are central to Resource-Oriented Interviewing. Every adult person has probably dealt with these questions in one way or another:

1. How do I promote resources, strengths and abilities?
2. How do I reduce or remove deficiencies?
3. How do I question goals as constructively and respectfully as possible?
4. How do I question ways and means as constructively and respectfully as possible?

Resource-Oriented Interviewing gives realistic answers to these questions. It proves to be extremely pragmatic again and again.

Resource-Oriented Interviewing in the form represented here has its origin in the area of help for alcohol addicts and was also applied in the sphere of psychiatric help, social integration and project management.1 Furthermore it can be used appropriately in many fields of working life and also in private contexts.

Resource-Oriented Interviewing is the art of working in a resource activating way in a deficit-oriented context by using specific questions.

Many approaches in helping professions (such as for example counseling, coaching and psychotherapy) are inevitably and frequently deficit-ori- ented at the onset of the respective process: A person joins the conversation with a problem which is supposed to be solved or a person has a deficit which should be overcome.

Resource-Oriented Interviewing takes this initial situation into account. Therefore, it is built up like a general scheme for problem solving. The client has his problem in mind, when he comes to the consultant, coach or therapist or to the interviewer. He brings in the topics which he wants to discuss (such as relationship problems, stress at work, worries over his child). The Resource-Oriented Interviewer devotes himself to the expiry or process of the conversation. He interferes with his process topics so to speak in the (problem) topics of the client. In Resource-Oriented Interviewing the process topics of the interviewer form a general scheme for problem solving. This scheme contains the following steps:

1. Determination of the problem and examination of previous coping strategies
2. Examination of problem-free or at least less problem-afflicted times (which may already exist in real life or until now just in the client's imagination)
3. Definition of an aim or goal and analysis of the meaning of this aim or goal
4. Exploration of the hope of reaching the goal
5. Exploration of the feasibility of the goal and of the client's readiness to do something to reach his goal
6. Determination of the steps and responsibilities for the attainment of the goal (creation of an action plan)
7. Evaluation of the results

Within the individual steps of this general scheme for problem solving the Resource-Oriented Interviewer predominantly works with re- source-activating questions. These questions are shown in the chapters dealing with the individual process topics of the interviewer (see below: topic no. 1 to topic no. 7). A short explanation is given to every topic. Possible risks and hazards of use of the questions contained in the respective topic are also pointed out.

Regarding the form of Resource-Oriented Interviewing presented here: The topics no. 1 and no. 2 have their origin mainly in the solution-focused approach by DeSHAZER and BERG2, the topics no. 3, 4, 5 and 6 are predominantly based on Motivational Interviewing by MILLER and ROLL- NICK3 and topic no. 7 originates from project management4 and quality management5.

There is a principle which runs through all topics mentioned above. It is the principle of feedback which is described in the following chapter.

The Principle of Feedback

During the course of the consultation, coaching or therapy it is of central importance to regularly check together with the client whether one is still on the right track and whether the work is getting on. The client should answer the following questions about this issue:

1. To what extent are we coming closer to your goals or objectives?
2. How good is our approach or methodology?
3. How good is our working relationship?
4. What would have to happen so that our achievement of objectives, our approach / methodology and our working relationship would improve?

Then according to the client's answers to these questions, the interview should be adjusted to the client's demands and needs, so that the approach remains meaningful for him.

This can be a little bit confusing or even irritating for some clients since they are not used to consciously making a contribution to the process and the framework of consultancy, coaching or therapy. The client's feedback, regularly explored in the described way, is, however, very important for remaining course.

"Feedback" comes from "feed" and "back". By giving feedback the client "feeds" the interview process (consultation, coaching or therapy) with very important information about different options for further action.

To stay with the metaphor: Without this feedback the consultation, coaching or therapy could so to speak "starve to death". This would show itself, e.g., quite specifically in the fact that the client would break off his therapy because the interviewer's approach would deviate too far from the client's expactations and wishes.

So the principle of feedback is of use for both the client (or interviewee) and the interviewer. The client has better chances to finish the consultation, therapy or coaching successfully. The interviewer (consultant, psychotherapist or coach) experiences less break-offs by his clients and therefore has the opportunity of completing a larger number of his cases with a good result.

The principle of feedback is primarily based on the Client Directed, Out- come-Informed Therapy by DUNCAN, MILLER and SPARKS.6

Topic No. 1: The Problem and Previous Coping Strategies

The Questions

The client should answer the followings questions about the topic "the problem and previous coping strategies":

1. Why did you decide to come here (for counseling / coaching / therapy)?
2. What exactly is so problematic about the problem, to what extent is the problem really a problem?
3. How have you managed until now to bear the problem without having despaired completely?
4. How do you manage - in view of the problem - to pull through every single day?
5. Until now, what has helped you to cope with the problem (at least to some extent)?
6. Until now, who has helped you to cope with the problem (at least to some extent)?
7. What exactly was most helpful to cope with the problem (at least to some extent)?


At the investigation of the problem, first, it is all about finding out to what extent the problem is really a problem. The central question is: "What exactly is so problematic about the problem?" Hereby it is made sure that the right aspects of the problem are focused.

Then in the next step the client's previous coping strategies in dealing with his problem should be found out, should be appreciated and should be anchored in the client's consciousness. This can improve the client's ability to cope with his problem.

This procedure offers the chance to implicitly give recognition to the client for his resistance to the problem (or for his resilience) right at the beginning of the interview. That can have a positive impact on the atmosphere of the interview and on the working relation between client and interviewer. Furthermore the client's present difficulties might be reframed: The problem changes, based on the client's subjective experience, from a catastrophe into an extremely difficult task, which is already, however, at least partially solved, even if the previous coping strategies do not create a sufficient solution anymore.

Risks and Hazards

If the interviewer focuses too much on the client's previous coping strategies, the client may not feel taken seriously. Then the client can easily get the impression that his problem is being trivialized. He may feel rejected by the interviewer. He might think that the interviewer does not want to recognize the seriousness and heaviness of the problem.

Focusing too much on coping can also lead to have too little space for a sufficient description of the problem and too little time for a sufficient "warming-up".

Topic No. 2: Exceptions to the Problem

The Questions

The client should answer the following questions about the topic "exceptions to the problem":

1. What exactly happens when the problem is not there?
2. What exactly happens when the problem is less serious?
3. Who does what exactly in these exceptional times?
4. Which parts of the solution are already there?
5. What shall happen instead of the problem?
6. What would the situation be like in particular if it would be better than in the problematical times?
7. If the problem suddenly disappeared: Who would notice it and why exactly?


With the exceptions to the problem it is about currently existing as well as up to now merely conceivable (hypothetical) exceptions.

Problem-free or at least less problem-afflicted times often provide in themselves many resources (strengths, abilities, skills, positive qualities) of the client and his social sphere. During the interview as many of these resources as possible should be identified and highlighted. With regard to these exceptions it is a matter of finding out exactly:

Who exactly

does what exactly,

when exactly,

where exactly,

with whom exactly,

in which way exactly,

in which specific context?7


1 On the issue of the original arrangement of the form of Resource-Oriented Interviewing presented here see Langosch, Andreas (2010). Die Empowerment- Maschine: Praxismanual für lösungsfokussierte, motivierende Gesprächsführung und outcome-orientiertes Empowerment in schwierigen sozialen Arbeitsbereichen.2nd, revised and extended ed. Kiel: Selbstverlag Andreas Langosch, ISBN 978-3-00031591-6, pp. 9-15, pp. 17-23 and pp. 29-37.The later arrangement of the form of Resource-Oriented Interviewing described here was first published in Langosch, Andreas (2012a). Ressourcenorientierte Gesprächsführung. Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH, ISBN 978-3-656-16987-1. It is the German original of Resource-Oriented Interviewing.

2 On the issues "coping-strategies" and "exceptions to the problem" in solution- focused therapy see De Jong, Peter, and Berg, Insoo Kim (2002). Lösungen (er-)finden: Das Werkstattbuch der lösungsorientierten Kurztherapie. 4th ed. Dortmund: Verlag Modernes Lernen, Borgmann KG, ISBN 3-8080-0398-7, pp. 125127, pp. 149-152 and pp. 255-264.

3 On important motivational factors in Motivational Interviewing see Miller, William R., and Rollnick, Stephen (2004). Motivierende Gesprächsführung. Freiburg im Breisgau: Lambertus-Verlag, ISBN 3-7841-1566-7, pp. 25-30 and pp. 183-190.

4 On project monitoring, project controlling and project completion see Cronenbroeck, Wolfgang (2008). Projektmanagement. Bilingual: German-English. Editor: Kießling-Sonntag, Dr. Jochem, 1st ed. Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag Scriptor GmbH & Co. KG, ISBN 978-3-589-23944-3, pp. 102-145.

5 On measuring, analysis and improvement in quality management see Brauer, JörgPeter (2002). DIN EN ISO 9000:2000ff. umsetzen: Gestaltungshilfen zum Aufbau Ihres Qualitätsmanagementsystems. Editor: Kamiske, Prof. Dr. Ing. Gerd. 3rd ed. With the collaboration of Horn, Thomas. Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, ISBN 3-446-21865-3, pp. 104-121.

6 How one becomes client-directed in a positive sense is described in Duncan, Barry L., Miller, Scott D., and Sparks, Jacqueline A. (2004). The heroic client: A revolutionary way to improve ejfectiveness through client-directed, outcome- informed therapy. Revised paperback ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint, ISBN 0-7879-7240-1, pp. 49-80.

7 On this specific question cf. Langosch, Andreas (2011). Das Neurolinguistische Programmieren (NLP) in der Drogenberatung mit Alkoholikern: Möglichkeiten, Grenzen und Risiken. Diploma thesis from the year 1997. Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH, ISBN 978-3-656-02066-0, p. 54.

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Resource-Oriented Interviewing
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resource, resource-oriented approach, counseling, psychotherapy, therapy, social work, interview, interviewing, motivation, psychology, solution focus, consultancy, project management, quality management, case management, resilience, empowerment
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Andreas Langosch (Author), 2013, Resource-Oriented Interviewing, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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