Strategies for Using a Problem Solving Approach to Solution
A. Identify Problem
- Ask the client to describe what is happening. Who are the other people involved?
- Help the client break down the problem to focus on the immediate issue (priority).
- What are the triggers and patterns of possible self-destructive acts?
- Assist the client to self-monitor through the use of diaries to recall and detail relationships, moods, triggers, and patterns of self-harm behaviour.
B. Explore Past Attempts to Address Issue
- Help the client identify what has worked in the past.
- Help the client identify supports/resources/personal strengths.
C. Explore Alternatives/Challenges to Determine Solutions
- Identify small steps that will provide change and some control.
- Examine the role of medications to reduce anxiety (APA, 2003).
- Explore safe alternatives, such as breathing and relaxation (Frazier et al., 2003).
D. Choose Solutions
- Focus on helping the client identify small steps, coping strategies, stress reduction, problem-solving and self-examination of results.
E. Implement Process
- Identify when patient will “stop and think” and use collaboratively agreed upon action.
- Journaling successes, emotions, and learning is helpful (Fontaine, 2003).
- Provide time limited therapeutic sessions to assist the client in resolving current interpersonal problems (Gaynes, West, Ford, Frame, Klein & Lohr, 2004).
F. Evaluate Outcomes
- Promote realistic self-appraisal through discussing with the client their abilities and limitations. Help the client reflect outcomes of purposeful tasks.
- Encourage – point out small successes and reinforce the client’s ability to appraise themselves (Fontaine, 2003).