Basic Assumptions and Theoretical Backgrounds


The project INTENSE focuses on young people / students who are not in education, employment or training (NEET’s) by approaching them client-focused from a holistic vision and the humanistic psychology in a structured environment in which autonomy and self-responsibility are the main issues. The project consortium is of the opinion that the current closed and employment-centred approach of NEET’s is ineffective, and is supported in that line of thought (mindset) by Eurofound, which in 2015 examined the effectiveness and implementation of Youth Guarantee plans. This publication draws attention to the inadequate results of the employment-centred approach and the need to refrain. Their argument is:

“Concerning the implementation of the youth guarantee, the member states should refrain from choosing a close and employment-centred concept and decide on a more comprehensive and integral approach which aims at reaching those who are unemployable and more difficult to integrate.”

The student / client will be placed in the centre of the project by the choice of the consortium for a client-centred approach. He / she must be the director of his or her own future in terms of education, training and work. INTENSE creates the conditions for the client to take the best possible direction.

This concept is composed of three aspects as recurring themes in the project:

  1. By compensation we mean developing a client-centred, systematic and integral educational concept. A holistic system.
  2. Preventive work is necessary in order to prevent exclusion and to avoid follow-up costs.
  3. By means of an early involvement of stakeholders a basis is provided towards an overall co-operation, with a focus on formal and legislative structures of national support systems in Europe.


The coaches who work with NEETs based on the INTENSE project should be aware of the dimensions in which their clients function. We will put our attention to the coherence and influencing of the dimensions of existence.

In these psychological dimensions, NEETs leave the path of what we call a healthy life journey, causing more and more isolation. The overview below gives an idea of what dimensions mean and what can go wrong; what threats there are.

The physical dimension concerns everything that has to do with the material, sensory body and the natural and material world. Here safety, comfort, enjoyment, health and external beauty are important values. Threats are poverty, pain, illness, deterioration, death. At this level, self-experience is mainly expressed in terms of whether or not ‘can do’ or ‘have’ things.

In the social dimension people have an eye for someone’s place in society or function in public life. Here, respect, recognition and success are important categories, but also concern for others, responsibility, friendship and belonging to something. The big threats are: condemnation, rejection, loneliness, guilt and shame. At this level people often talk about ‘must’ and view themselves mainly through the eyes of others.

In the psychic dimension it is about character traits and psychological characteristics. With this focus on the individual, self-knowledge, autonomy and freedom are highly regarded. A rich inner life is an important source of satisfaction here. Threatening: confusion, doubt, imperfection, restriction of freedom, disintegration. The desire for self-realization is often articulated in terms of ‘wanting’ and self-development is given a personal interpretation.

The spiritual level includes self-transcending ideals, a broader system of meaning, ideas about man in a cosmic context, finding ultimate meanings. Threats in this dimension are: futility, futility, evil. Here people are aware of ‘may’ and there is gratitude for what is. At this level, a unity consciousness dominates.

source: Leijssen, Mia (2013): Living from love. A path to existential well-being. Lannoo


With the this approach, the consortium wants improvements in the following five areas / indicators. This indicators refer to the essay “Individual employability” of the University of Duisburg-Essen (Martin Brussig, Matthias Knuth WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2009: Individuelle Beschäftigungsfähigkeit: Konzept, Operationalisierung und erste Ergebnisse). The researcher where identifying the 5 items as indicators for employability.


A quality or accomplishment that makes someone suitable for a particular job or activity

school degree

knowledge in occupational field

VET degree

professional experience

Social skills

Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance





Personal skills

Personal skills are those that allow you to interact with others, express yourself, and manage yourself. Your personal skills shape not only the way you work, but also the way you live your daily life

be open to new experiences

be open to the outside world

willingness to help others

being able to experience unpleasant emotions

need for achievement

Methodical skills

The definition of methodical is a person who pays very careful attention to detail and who does things in a precise manner or following a procedure

orderly and systematic in habits or behavior

ability to search information and use it in a structural way to gain you own knowledge

Social stability

The quality or attribute of being firm and steady



solution orientation

quitting the victim role

take responsibility for your own life

build a new network

shape and plan your own future

Based on the assumption that the integral approach supported by the EUROFUND 2015 research should lead to more socially disconnected and disadvantaged young people being (re-)integrated, we think it is essential to provide Transition Coaches with actual methods that have solid scientific foundations. The core of these methods consist of integral, holistic and humanistic approaches that contribute to changing the mindset of their users. We are convinced that training these methods must start with teaching some essential theories in line with the given objectives.

The following matrix shall serve as an introductory overview. On the one hand, it shows what methods of intervention serve which purposes; on the other hand, it displays the theories and scientific approaches on which the methods are based. In the course of the training, we focus on a certain number of intervention methods that are of great importance according to our point of view. In addition, we look at the scientific ranges and theoretical backgrounds of these theories. Please use the links in the table to familiarise yourself with the methods of intervention.


The words ‚holism‘ and ‚holistic‘ come from the Greek word „holos“ that means „completely“. Within the holistic vision man is seen as a unity of body and mind. This unit has physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects that are in continuous interaction with each other. Holism is related to complexity. In general, it is assumed that, when there is a complexity of many individual components a variety of forms of interaction is shown, and this complexity is, in any case, related to the total number of components. Each of the features is of course characterized by the constituent parts, but also (and perhaps more) by the coherence or arrangement of those parts and their interaction. Holism is also the name given to the belief of which the essence is that everything is inextricably linked. A holist sees himself constantly as part of the whole and considers the other (human, animal, plant or object) as the other me.

Holism stands against atomism. While atomism society perceives as consisting of purely individuals, holism sees society as made up of more than the sum of individuals.

In this approach project a NEET, being a client is seen as a complex individual with many psychological, physical, spiritual and social influences.

Humanistic Psychology

The movement was i.a. founded by Abraham H. Maslow and Carl R. Rogers and was a reaction to behaviourism and psychoanalysis.

The humanistic school in psychology is often more philosophical than psychological.

Maslow rejects the quest for legitimacy and, on the other hand, his starting points are theories based on the consciousness and free will of man. People are able to make their own choices. This focuses on the unique whole human being, rather than on specific components. According to Maslow, psychology must help people to develop themselves.

The core values of Humanistic Psychology are:

A belief in the worth of persons and dedication to the development of human potential.

An understanding of life as a process, change is inevitable.

An appreciation of the spiritual and intuitive.

A commitment to ecological integrity.

A recognition of the profound problems affecting our world and a responsibility to hope of a constructive change.


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Basic Assumptions and Theoretical Backgrounds