Problem Solving Therapy: PST in 3 Steps


Problem solving therapy is a psychotherapy that focuses on the cognitive and emotional processes of an individual with the aim to solve their problems. The aim of this blog post is to explore how it works, who can benefit from it and what are its benefits. Problem solving therapy is a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach that focuses on the present and future rather than the past.

  1. What is Problem Solving Therapy?

    Problem solving therapy is a cognitive-behavioral technique intended to enhance an individual’s ability to deal with traumatic life events. The premise of problem solving therapy is that people cannot change what has happened, but they can learn to accept it and take control of their life.

  2. How Problem Solving Therapy developed

    Problem-solving therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young in 1987 as an integration of cognitive psychotherapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, and developmental theories such as Piaget’s theory of moral development.

Problem Solving Therapy Steps

Regardless of time the existence of a problem is often perceived as troubling. The problem is, in the most general sense, “the differences and obstacles between the current situation and the desired situation” (Nezu, Nezu and D ‘Zurilla, 2007).

According to D ‘Zurilla, Nezu and Maydeu-Olivares’, who suggested the concept of social problem solving based on the fact that a human being is a social entity, the problem is “when a person needs to react to adapt in case of any life situation or task that needs to be accomplished. It occurs when there is no obvious or obviously effective response depending on the presence of obstacles. In fact, the problem arises when a person makes a “mistake in showing the effective and appropriate response” or “a difference between what he is currently in and what he wants to be”.

The existence of a problematic situation inevitably requires an effort for a solution. Therefore, the problem situation requires coping, dealing with obstacles, and more effort and especially change. In other words, it is necessary to act and change in order to reach the desired situation from the current situation. Changing can also be perceived as a difficult and disturbing process. At this point, people’s problem-solving styles may differ, whether effective or ineffective.

D’Zurilla and Nezu (1990) define social problem solving as the cognitive, affective and behavioral process that the individual attempts and produces to find an effective way to cope with problem situations in daily life.

The main purpose of problem solving therapy is to teach people how to approach the problems they face and the strategies they will follow to solve the problems. From this point of view, problem solving therapy aims to both treat mental problems caused by the failure of the problems and prevent the occurrence of psychological problems.

Problem-solving therapy recognizes that any problems we experience are part of our lives. We can be sick at any moment, lose someone we love, be abandoned by our beloved, be from our job, be humiliated by others, suffer injustice. So the dream of a smooth world is unrealistic. The important thing is how we deal with them rather than the existence of problems.

The main starting point of problem solving therapy is that the problem solving skills of people who have mental problems are not sufficient and effective. Problem solving therapy, which is a cognitive-behavioral therapy model, focuses on the thoughts and behaviors of people. He acknowledges that functional changes in thoughts and behaviors will be effective in the treatment of psychological problems.

Problem solving therapy is a cognitive-behavioral method. The importance of this is that the effectiveness of therapy has been proven by experimental studies. Scientific studies have shown that the inadequacies of people in their problem solving abilities are effective both in forming and maintaining psychopathologies. Therefore, problem solving therapy can be used both to overcome psychological problems caused by the problems experienced and to effectively deal with the problems.

Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by William Lindberg

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About Author

He is studying psychology in Canada. Lucas also volunteers helping elderly people in nursing homes. Lucas, who is especially interested in hypnotherapy, continues his education and research in this field.

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