Problem solving in CBT

The seven steps of problem solving

  1. Identify and clearly define the problem to be tackles as precisely as possible
  2. Think up as many solutions as possible to achieve this initial goal
  3. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of the possible solutions
  4. Choose one of the solutions
  5. Plan the steps needed  to carry it out
  6. Carry out the plan
  7. Review the outcome

Apply the “questions for effective change” to your plan

Is the planned task one that…

  1. will be useful for understanding or changing my behaviour?
  2. is a specific task so that I will know when I have done it?
  3. is realistic – is it practical and achievable?
  4. makes it clear what I am going to do and when I am going to do it?
  5. is an activity that won’t be easily blocked or prevented by practical problems

Unhelpful thinking styles that tend to give rise to extreme thoughts

  • Bias against myself
  • Putting a negative slant on things
  • Having a gloomy view of the future (jumping to the worst conclusion or believing that the future will be catastrophic or awful)
  • Negative views about how others see me
  • Bearing all responsibility
  • Making extreme statements/rules eg “must”, “ought”, should”, got to”, “always”, “never”, “typical”.
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