Problem Solving Therapy (PST)
Problem-solving therapy is a cognitive–behavioral intervention that helps people take action in their lives, helps them cope with both minor and major stressors, and teaches them to proactively solve their problems. Unlike traditional psychological treatments, PST makes use of both a cognitive and behavioural intervention because it recognises the link between feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
PST works by teaching people a series of sequential steps and empowering skills to help them take a more active role in their lives, take more initiative, and utilize whatever influence they have to effectively make decisions and achieve their goals.
Where PST Has Been Seen to be Effective
Problem-solving therapy has been found to be effective for a wide range of problems, including:
• Reducing depression
• Managing anxiety
• Emotional distress
• Suicidal ideation
• Relationship difficulties
• Poor quality of life and emotional distress related to medical illness, such as cancer or diabetes
Core Steps to PST
The core components of the Friendship Bench PST are as follows:
By using this treatment approach with one specific problem, people can learn to apply it to other problems they may be facing and become empowered individuals, ready to face difficulties more independently. As these skills are repeatedly practice, our clients often report an increased sense of confidence and agency in many aspects of their lives.
Points to Note About Problem Solving Therapy
• No one will give you answers, we believe you know yourself better than anyone and your solutions are uniquely individual.
• We are here to guide and support you in the process of exploring solutions, not give you advice or solve problems for you.
• Change takes time and action. You will not find change without putting in conscious work.
Major Treatment Goals of PST Include
1. The adoption of an adaptive worldview / orientation towards living. E.g. positive self-efficacy, optimism, acceptance that problems will occur but can be overcome.
2. The effective implementation of specific problem-solving steps and behaviors. E.g. planful problem solving, and emotional regualtion and management.