Problem Solving Skill

Problem Solving Skill


1. Explore problem-solving techniques.

2. Identify and experientially understand three ways to address problems in counselling. 

  • It is the process of taking corrective action in order to meet objectives
  • Solving a problem requires making decision and critical thinking

The purpose for problem management in counselling:

• Help clients with tools for approaching and solving their problems.

• Guide clients through ways of exploring their problems. 

Recommendations for problem solving

1.Focus on the solution – not the problem
2.Have an open mind
3.View problems neutrally
4.Think laterally
5.Use language that creates possibility
6. Simplify things
Steps of problem solving/ decision –making

Step 1: Identify the situation or problem

Step 2:  Collect information

Step 3:  Identify possible solutions

Step 4:  Examine each alternative?

Step 5:  Choose one alternative

Step 6: Implement the decision

Step 7:  Evaluate your decision.  Did it work? Why/ Why not?

Problem Management Techniques in Counselling  

 Note to Facilitator:  There are numerous ways to manage problems.  Below we are just focussing on three examples.  Depending on the skill level of the group, you may incorporate some problem-solving techniques that participants have used themselves. Encourage them to be creative with problem management

• Many clients’ problems stem from their beliefs that they have no options.  They feel stuck in a certain situation.  Often clients have options or alternatives that they have not considered.  These options can include a potential action, a new perspective or even an alternate attitude.   
• Counsellors can ask the simple question, “Have you thought of any options open to you?” 
• In non-directive, person-centred counselling, the client should come up with his/her own options if possible. 
• Often part of exploring alternatives with clients is to help them make the distinction between what they have control over and what they cannot change.  People often feel stuck when they try to change things they have no control over, such as others’ behaviour.  That is part of their “circle of concern” which they have no influence or control over.  
• Focus on the client’s attitudes, emotions and behaviour.  Take the focus off others and onto their “circles of influence.” 
• Help the client walk through potential outcomes or consequences of different choices.  This can help them focus on realistic outcomes. 

Key Point: The counsellor is not responsible for solving the problem, just helping the client approach it and explore options.  The decision-making is the client’s responsibility, NOT the counsellors’.