If you are human, you will have problems. Having problems means that you are normal and solving them means you are a happy normal! Genuine problems such as not being able to pay your bills on time or not knowing how to go about furthering your education are best addressed by problem-solving and not by cognitive techniques such as challenging your irrational thoughts. Problem-solving therapy is an effective treatment for depression, but has received little attention as most popular books on self-help of depression heavily rely on cognitive-behavioral techniques (Kirkham et al., 2015). The problem-solving steps are described next (Martell et al., 2010; Nezu et al., 1989).
- Think about an individual you know personally who you admire and respect or someone from the world of movies, books, or current events. Next, ask yourself, “How would he or she approach this problem? What actions would this person take if faced with the same problem?”
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the problematic situation. Imagine yourself successfully coping with the problem. Think of what you would say and do to deal effectively with the situation.
- “How likely is it that this solution would help me reach my goal?”
- “What bad things could happen if I pick this solution?”
- “What is the likelihood that I can implement this solution in its optimal form?”
- Reset your goals as they may not be realistic.
- Break the problem down into smaller chunks.
- Think of more possible solutions.