Structured problem solving

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Structured problem solving is also a useful means to manage the symptoms of anxiety/depression as these symptoms are often the result of an inability (or perceived inability) to deal effectively with problems [1204, 1205]. Some simple steps suggested by Carroll [1206] and Mynors Wallis [1207] can be a useful guide in assisting the client:

  • Identify the problem (try to break it down) and define it.
  • Step back from the problem and try to view it as an objective challenge.
  • Brainstorm possible solutions (realistic and unrealistic).
  • Think about each solution in practical terms, and evaluate the pros and cons.
  • Decide on the best solution (and a second, ‘back-up’ solution).
  • Put the solution into action.
  • Evaluate how effective it was and whether it can be improved.

A problem-solving worksheet for clients is included in the Worksheets section of these Guidelines.