126 -Problem Solving Skills
Counselor Toolbox

 
 
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Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills
Problem Solving Strategies
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs
Objectives
~    Review the 4 options for problem solving
~    Go over problem solving steps
~    Review concepts such as force field analysis, root cause analysis, backward chaining
Problem Solving Options
~    Stay Miserable or, Make Things Worse, by creating other, new problems for yourself
~    Tolerate The Problem this involves accepting that the problem is happening, and tolerating both the problem itself and your responses to the problem
~    Feel Better About The Problem by changing or regulating your emotional and cognitive response to the problem
~    Solve The Problem this involves changing the situation, or avoiding, leaving, or getting out of the situation for good
Problem Solving Steps
~    Wise Mind What Skills
~    Observe and describe the situation
~    Check the facts
~    Identify the goal in solving the problem
~    Brainstorm solutions
~    Choose a solution that is likely to work
~    Put the solution into action
~    Evaluate the outcomes

Observe and Describe Problem and Context
~    Who is involved
~    Don’t jump to who is causing the problem
~    When did this happen
~    Where did this happen
~    What
~    Is the present situation
~    Are my contributions, vulnerabilities
~    Are my current thoughts and feelings
~    Are others contributions, vulnerabilities

Defining the Problem: Root Cause Analysis
~    It's amazing how much you don't know about what you don't know.
~    Get input from other people who notice the problem and who are effected by it, one at a time
~    Write down your opinions and what you've heard from others.
~    Seek advice to verify your impression of the problem.

Root Cause Analysis
Chain Analysis
Check the Facts
~    Is this a reaction to the environment or your thoughts?
~    Are you using emotional or factual reasoning?
~    Increase mindfulness to the facts of the present situation
~    Look beyond yourself to the other person and the context (Consider the entire picture)
~    Are you using all or none reasoning? (Middle path)
Check the Facts
~    Do the emotions fit the facts (Why am I feeling this way)
~    No (It is not an effective emotional response)
~    Radical Acceptance
~    Identify opposite thoughts
~    Yes (It is an effective emotional response)
~    Radical Acceptance
~    Distress Tolerance
~    Problem Solve (Wise Mind)
Identify the Goal
~    Stay Miserable
~    Tolerate (Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation)
~    Feel Better (Change your thoughts and feelings about the situation)
~    Solve (Change the situation)
Brainstorm Solutions
~    Distress Tolerance (IMPROVE and ACCEPTS)
~    Emotion Regulation: Address Vulnerabilities
~    Change Thoughts
~    Middle path
~    Focus on the negative (don’t romanticize) to force a behavior change
~    Cheerleading thoughts (SMS Message scheduler)
~    Relapse Prevention Plan/Purposeful Action
~    Identify alternate possibilities

Brainstorm Solutions
~    Change Feelings
~    Focus on positive stuff to get happier
~    Attitude of gratitude
~    What makes you happy
~    Change the situation
~    Remove or eliminate the trigger
~    Use interpersonal effectiveness skills to address the situation (seek to understand and create a win/win)
~    Add something to alter the situation

Force Field analysis
Choose the Best Option
~    This is the best option for you that is effective at helping you move closer to your goals (long term) and stay true to your values, and realistic.
~    Integrates the logical mind and the emotional mind

Take Action
~    Many time people get stuck because they know what needs to be done, but don’t know where to start.
~    Identify steps you need to take to solve the problem
~    First I need to…
~    Then I need to…

Evaluate
~    Once you start the process, continually evaluate.
~    Adjust when necessary
Other Tips
~    Focus on the solved state.
~    Be clear about all your goals and objectives.
~    What are we trying to achieve?
~    What are we trying to preserve?
~    What are we trying to avoid?
~    What are we trying to eliminate?
~    Expand your definition of “Define the Problem.”
~    Think of problem solving as a cover-the-bases activity.
~    Draw diagrams and otherwise picture the structure of the problem.
~    Take the concept of cause with a grain of salt.
~    Watch out for “disconnects.”
~    One person focusing on the problem and the other focusing on the solution
~    Be aware of your own blinders.
~    Develop your own system for solving problems.
~    Research the subject matter.

Other Tips
~    Focus on the solved state.
~    Be clear about all your goals and objectives.
~    What are we trying to achieve?
~    What are we trying to preserve?
~    What are we trying to avoid?
~    What are we trying to eliminate?
~    Expand your definition of “Define the Problem.”
~    Examine the current situation
~    Examine other similar situations

Other Tips
~    Draw diagrams and otherwise picture the structure of the problem.
~    Take the concept of cause with a grain of salt.
~    Watch out for “disconnects.”
~    One person focusing on the problem and the other focusing on the solution
~    Be aware of your own blinders.
~    Develop your own system for solving problems.
~    Research the subject matter.

Summary
~    When feeling distress, it is important to first get into the wise mind
~    Problem solving involves observing and objectively describing
~    The situation
~    Your goal for resolving the situation
~    The method for achieving your goal
~    Any obstacles and ways to address them
~    Any enabling/motivating forces
~    The plan for achieving the goal

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