German-Israeli Cooperation in Crisis Recovery after the Winnenden School Shooting

As a result of the school shooting on March 11, 2009 and after the period of acute crisis intervention, a school psychology center was established in Winnenden. It is entrusted with medium and long-term assistance and counseling service for students and teachers alike.

The first part of the joint project, a workshop to develop concepts and reflect on the concrete work to be done, took place in February 2010 in Winnenden with the Israeli trauma experts Professor Mooli Lahad and Dr. Yehuda Shacham. Taking into account the wide-ranging experiences of the Israeli colleagues, the team planned psychological support for the one-year anniversary of the shooting (March 11, 2010), among other things the preparation, realization, and follow-up, as well as attending to current problems in daily life, and developing ways of preserving knowledge and experiences from the work done in Winnenden.

In addition, Professor Lahad and Dr. Shacham conducted a three-day workshop for 23 school psychologists from Baden-Württemberg, who were trained in medium and long-term crisis aftercare and trauma counseling. The content included ongoing reactions of affected population (students, parents, teachers, and school director), research-based guidelines and methods in psychological counseling and aftercare, as well as possible offers of psychological support for the “normalization” of school life.

The cooperation started off well and is being continued throughout the year mainly by way of email consultations. The second part of the project includes a reflection and training workshop in Israel with 4 to 5 school psychologists from Baden-Württemberg taking part at the beginning of 2011. This workshop addresses in particular the following topics: assessment of the experiences in crisis recovery in Winnenden, gathering guidelines for possible future crisis scenarios, and establishing a permanent network for quality assurance and management.