Serenity Counseling & Consulting Services

Stephanie C. Johnson MA, LPC

Problem Solving

Problem-solving has a time and a place.

Problem-solving has an agenda.

Problem-solving is task-oriented; it is not a power struggle.

Problem-solving has two distinct phases: a problem definition phase and a problem solution phase.

When defining a problem:

  • Be specific (refer to what both partners can observe)
  • Be brief
  • Express your feelings about the behavior which is the subject of the conflict

When solving problems:

  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Evaluate their costs and benefits to each partner and to the relationship
  • Decide on the best solution
  • Be willing to compromise; problem-solving involves give-and-take

Also, when defining and solving problems:

  • Discuss only one problem at a time
  • Paraphrase what you hear your partner saying and check the accuracy of your paraphrase

Remember, the attitude with which you approach problem-solving is very important. Problem-solving requires collaboration and problem-solving requires that each problem being discussed is seen as a mutual problem.