Problem Solving Therapy (PST) & Problem Solving Hypnotherapy (PSH)
Problem solving therapy or PST was developed in the 1970’s as a form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to assist individuals in gaining confidence in solving their own problems (Goldfried & D’Zurilla, 1971, Cited in Robertson 2013,p311). It is sometimes also known as Social Problem Solving. PST is often used as assertiveness training or social skills training but can be used for a variety of issues. In many ways there is a similarity to life coaching methodology (breaking down of tasks, goal setting and problem solving rather than the motivational sales type coaching). PST is sometimes also known as Solution Focused Therapy or Psycho-Education.
Method in Problem Solving Therapy
Meichenbaum, 1977, cited in Robertson 2013,p311) emphasised the process as standing back and analysing the problem to look for pragmatic solutions, rather than getting too engrossed in processing emotions. In this aspect there are similarities in the analytic methods of CBASP (Cognitive Behavioural System of Psychotherapy). This is in contrast to SIT (stress inoculation therapy) methods where emotions are tackled with a view to reducing their impact and control.
In practice the practical analysis of PST is often combined in the overall treatment programme with elements of SIT. The two are however separated, with the client encouraged to pragmatically identify how to solve problems, and then also how to tackle any emotions that might have blocked progress.
Therapy relationship in PST
The relationship is collaborative, with the therapist working to assist the client to identify a range of methods and tactics in order to tackle a problem. From this an action plan is formed, and support is devised to enable progress towards completion. In identifying support needs and existing strengths, the client is encouraged to carry out something similar to a SWOT analysis, and this enables resource gathering, training identification and reformulation of goals in realistic ways (Robertson 2013,p314).
Hypnotherapy based PST or Problem Solving Hypnotherapy
PSH was largely developed by Wolberg as an adaptation of existing PST, and several decades of work by Wollberg went into it’s formulation, starting in around 1948 and leading to the development of off shoots including Social Problem Solving Therapy and Social Problem Solving Training by the 1960’s and 1970’s (Robertson 2013,p314). More recently the term psycho-education has become popular including, but not restricted to, cognitive behavioural psychological principles of self management and self care.
What actually happens in PSB or PST?
Issues involving inability to address issues, complete tasks, cope with problems or interact with people are some examples of situations where the client might be unable to formulate responses for successfully coping or succeeding without support. Interpersonal relationships, socially challenging situations and self care are all example situations. These might exist as a result of underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders or other mental health related conditions. These might also include post trauma or post abuse relationship and interaction difficulties.
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