Systemic Coaching – Palo Alto & EAI Coaching

Director of training

Dr. Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger

Why might this training be interesting for you?

Coaching often requires working goal oriented and focused in a relatively short amount of time. Here it is central to distinguish between what is relevant and what is irrelevant. Being clear on what the client actually experiences as problematic, as well as structuring complexity by keeping problem-maintaining patterns in mind, makes this distinction possible.

In this training you learn a new effective and efficient method for deconstructing problems and disrupting problem-maintaining cycles at different levels.

Explicit Analog Interventions in Systemic Coaching - the EAI Model of Ilka Hoffmann- Bisinger - is an approach which is based on Watzlawick’s, Weakland’s and Frisch’s concept of second-order change:

When (unsuccessful) attempted solutions keep the problem "alive,“ it is helpful to interrupt the old pattern and move into a different direction.

New and central in the model developed by Ilka Hoffmann- Bisinger, is that the concept of second order change is re-introduced from a "non-expert" stance: Instead of interrupting the client’s unsuccessful attempted solutions through professional expertise, the clients’ internal images are activated for change.

What actually is "systemic brief therapy"?

Often "brief therapy" is confused with "short term therapy" in the German language. In English, this can be better distinguished linguistically: "Brief Therapy" versus "Short Term Therapy". The latter is a shortened version of common therapy methods such as psychoanalysis or behavior therapy.

Brief Therapy - Systemic Brief Therapy - on the other hand is a separate approach. This method and approach is not primarily about shortening the number of sessions, but about a certain methodological approach, which ultimately makes the therapy shorter.

Brief Therapy or Systemic Brief Therapy according to Watzlawick, Weakland and Fisch is an approach that is very strongly oriented towards the client's concerns and works in a very focused way. This results in a certain similarity in the procedure with what is often understood as coaching.

Analogous Systemic Brief Therapy and Coaching - The Ask! model

Before people seek help, they have usually tried to solve their problem themselves, but have not been successful enough. One reason for this is that these attempts to solve the problem pardoxically perpetuate or even complicate the situation.

Analogous systemic brief therapy and coaching - the Ask! model by Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger - is based on Watzlawick's, Weakland's and Fisch's concept of second-order change: If the previous (unsuccessful) attempts to solve the problem keep it "alive", it is helpful to interrupt the old pattern and take a different direction.

It is central to distinguish the essential from the non-essential. Clarity about what the client actually experiences as problematic, as well as a structuring of complexity by looking at patterns that maintain the problem, make this distinction possible. In this training you will learn an effective and efficient method to recognize and interrupt patterns in thinking, feeling and acting.

New and central to the Ask! model developed by Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger is the inclusion of the analog (pictorial) level in the pattern interruption, as well as the focus on the resulting powerful images. By switching from the rational to the analogue level, the emotional aspects relevant to the client are included, which enable new, individual solutions.

The Ask! model combines a clear and respectful view of what the clients themselves consider essential with the consequent activation of their own inner resources.

"Ask the client!" is the principle that contributes decisively to sustainable change in problematic patterns of thinking, feeling and acting, both in chronic and acute difficulties.

The Ask! model not only activates the creativity of your clients, but also your own!

Target group and prerequisites

This training program in Systemic Coaching is available for coaches, counselors, psychologists, medical doctors, social workers and other professionals in the counseling field. The training participants are selected in the application process. Besides a university degree, it is required that the participants have an active practice in counseling contexts and have the opportunity to work with clients.


Modul I – Problems and Patterns

    > systemic basics
    > problems and patterns
    > deconstructing problems I
    > describing problem patterns

Modul II – Pattern Interruption I

    > deconstructing problems II
    > identifying problems without problem trance
    > identifying “vicious cycles”
    > pattern interruption "Palo Alto"

Modul III – Pattern Interruption II

    > basics: working with internal images
    > guiding analogue processes
    > utilizing implicit knowledge
    > pattern interruption "analogue"

Modul IV – Supervision

    > advanced interventions
    > case supervision
    > case discussion


In this training program, the model is learned step by step. The relevant theoretical foundations and the methodological “know-how " are alternately taught with live coaching demonstrations, practical individual, small and large group exercises, as well as through visual media.


This six month training program takes place in Berlin. Group size is limited to 12 participants. The training consists of 120 hours, including four two-day modules, each on a Friday and Saturday from 10:00 - 17:30 on the first day and from 9:00 - 16:30 on the second day. Participants will receive a qualifying certificate after completing all the requirements for certification.

Training fees and payment

The total participation fee for the whole training program is 1200, - €, including materials. The fee of 300, - € for each two-day module is to be transferred four weeks before each seminar or in total at the beginning of the training program. The application fee of 100, - € is payable with signing the contract and deductible from the fee for the first module.

Application and information | Tel.: 0049 (0)30 - 69 81 80 69

Intensive Introductory Modules

We also offer an intensive introductory module on EAI Coaching within the Master’s Program "Supervision and Coaching" at the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main, and at the training institute for solution-oriented systemic consulting (wilob) in Switzerland.