Problem Solving Therapy
Problem Solving Therapy
Problem solving therapy is a form of psychological cure that teaches one to successfully manage bad effects of specific stressful occurrences that happened in one’s life . The stressors may vary and can be large such as the death experience of loved ones, divorce, job loss or chronic illnesses. Other stressors may be minor such as financial difficulties, ongoing family problems or difficulties in adhering to medications. Such negative stressors creates psychological problems such as outbursts and difficulty in adhering medication regimen. Problem solving therapy helps in dealing with them through sole intervention or through combining with other approaches. This therapy is also helpful to people with more complex problems like finding life’s meaning. The main goal of PST is to enhance general behavioral competence. This essay therefore discusses ways of helping a 10 year old boy who out bursts in school for being a task he finds difficult; as well as provide ways therapy can help the boy effectively express his emotions using alternative methods.
An out bursting child can be handled through a problem solving therapy that involves seven steps. The first is to clarify the problem the child is facing. This is through allowing the child to think and explain the reason they think themselves stuck as well as what could be frustrating them and what they think they need to get unstuck. Therefore the whole process involves thinking about their own thinking. It’s similar to reflecting on one’s own thought hence gain insight into one’s needs, feelings and behaviors hence manage, learn and adapt to new challenges, emotional setbacks and experiences. This helps in running the conversations in child’s head, making plans while mentally sounding themselves out hence overcoming obstacles.
The next step involves setting realistic goals as it creates a perspective that gives room for change. An example is that instead of the child out bursting about the hard task, they ask themselves what it is about the task that makes them outburst and what they can do to change it. Children who are taught to find a certain task difficult have a fixed mindset that repels approaching the challenge as they think they can’t change the outcome. Therefore, a child who thinks about their own thoughts allows little room for change. The next step involves generating multiple solutions such as a positive attitude to the task at hand, doing an alternative task or rewarding the child for doing the task. A child can also be helped to deal with a stressing situation through getting rid of negative inner voices by replacing them with metacognition that assists the child manage the challenges. To acquire metacognition, the parent should be open-ended about their child through asking them their thoughts about certain matters. The next step involves evaluating and comparing solutions. The child should be allowed to come up with a solution that not only changes their behavior and attitude towards a certain task while also encouraging them to use their understanding to handle things differently in the future. The next step involves selecting a feasible solution. This is through teaching the child to motivate themselves to immediately solve problems instead of putting them off and hence make a choice on the suitable solution. The next step involves implementing the solution chosen through doing what is required of the chosen solution. The last step involves evaluating the outcome of the solution on whether it has brought successful results and positive behavior change for the child.
Another way the child could have been helped is through coming up with a worksheet of emotion assessment. This involves asking the child to record their immediate emotions in the end or at the beginning of a therapy session then allowing some time to pass so as to review the responses with the child. The child’s emotions are likely to improve after a long period.
An example of an Assessment Sheet is shown below
Effective Ways of Learning to Express Emotions through Therapy
The 10 year old boy can express his emotions effectively through other alternatives when taken through therapeutic problem orientations and problem solving processes. Problem orientation involves the general thoughts and feelings people get concerning problems they find themselves in together with their ability to resolve them successfully. It can be negative through viewing problems as threats to the well-being of someone hence inhibit problem solving attempts; and it can also be positive which views problems as chances to benefit in a certain way hence enhance problem solving efforts. Problem solving processes can be taught to an out bursting child by first identifying the problem orientation. This requires measuring a person’s ability to cope with stressful situations that can be either successful or dysfunctional resolution of the problem that in turn leads to ineffective coping that brings negative consequences.
The next step involves problem definition that requires specifying the problem and setting achievable goals. The next step involves coming up with alternative solutions that meet one’s goals. The last step involves implementing the solution and evaluating its success. The child in this case should therefore see the problem as an opportunity to gain something instead of a difficulty that one will fail. The child should also be made to understand that problems are solvable and that they personally can solve them successfully. The child should also be taught that successful problem solving takes effort and time hence may require resilience.
American Psychological Association | Division 12. (n.d.). What is Problem-Solving Therapy? Retrieved from div12.org: http://div12.org/sites/default/files/WhatIsProblemSolvingTherapy.pdf
Arthur, M., & Nezu, C. (2009). Problem Solving Therapy. Retrieved from American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/pubs/videos/4310852.aspx?tab=2
Jacobson, R. (2016). Get Informed. Retrieved from Child Mind Institute: http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2016-1-25-metacognition-thinking-about-thinking-helps-ld