SymfoS: symbols and counselling to increase self-awareness among young people

Tuesday 31 October 2017

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How to improve educational and professional vocational systems to support disadvantaged young people?

Symbols can contribute to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, the goals definition and entrepreneurship among young people.

Ten participants tested on themselves SymfoS –  Symbols for success counselling interventions during the second SymfoS transnational train-the-trainer training reserved to social workers, trainers, youth workers and career officers working in the different project’s partner organisations.


SymfoS train-the-trainer training

“I realised how to start the change”, “I saw in a single picture an entire life”, “I clarified my emotions regarding a specific situation”: these are some of the feedback that the participants of the training of the European project shared after experiencing as clients.

The participants came from Austria, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Italy. They aimed to adopt the SymfoS holistic career and education guidance method in their daily work to help young people take concrete steps forward their future.

The training took place in the Spanish town of Veléz-Malaga from 16th to 20th October and was hosted by Asociación Caminos.
The sessions were guided by two experienced trainers, Paul Shober (Hafelekar) and Stefan Henke (Sozialwerk Dürener Christen e.V.) who adopted a learning-by-doing approach and introduced counselling sessions with local young people and several moments for practical activity and reflection sharing.


SymfoS 5-step counselling method

During the five days of training the participants acquired the basic approach to work with symbols.

They learned the counselling method structured in 5 steps, the different counselling scenarios and played the roles of counsellor, client and observer during the interventions to fully understand the potential of the methods.

The 5-step counselling method follows a clear structure, which include:

  • individual and group work,
  • observation and interpretation,
  • reflection and action taking.

While the different counselling scenarios – Basic clearing, Resource and competence pathway and planning road map, Inner images,  Islands of emotions – have been designed to answer specific needs, aims and objectives of the clients. The participants learned how to manage these methods and to use them in the more appropriate situations.

In the next months the newly trained professionals will practice with their clients and will document their activity to build a catalogue of interventions case studies that will be part of SymfoS training pack, furthermore they will experiment a methodology for individual learning and career pathways, supported by peers and buddies.
All the above mentioned resources will be further developed in the next months.

Third Transnational project meeting

At the end of the week SymfoS project partners met for the third transnational project meeting for the planning of next activities.
SymfoS partners, besides implementing the SymfoS methods locally, will focus on the development of important intellectual output such as:

  • the Basic Clearing,
  • the Curriculum and Profile of competencies for SymfoS Trainer,
  • Peer buddy methodology for individual learning.


About SymfoS

SymfoS project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnership VET with the main aim to trigger substantial improvements in the education and career guidance system for disadvantaged youth in Europe by implementing an innovative counselling method using sets of symbols.

SymfoS partnership holds together 6 organisations:

Follow SymfoS through its project webpage and Facebook to stay up to date with its next developments.

For more information contact