Problem solving attitudes (Nezu, 2007)

13 October 2010

Effective problem solvers view problems more as opportunities for growth or positive change rather than threats, have self-confidence in their ability to adequately tackle difficulties, and attempt to react to problems in a thoughtful, planful, and systematic manner, rather than trying to go for the quick fix or avoid dealing with problems. These effective problem-solving skills serve to increase the likelihood that such individuals can adapt more successfully to life’s strains and difficulties. (Nezu, 2007, p. 3)

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Problem def (Nezu, 2007)

13 October 2010

Problems can be a single event or situation, such as forgetting our wallet after going off to work. They can also be a persistent series of related events, such as having continuous arguments with your spouse, difficulties relating to co-workers, or continuous financial strains. Problems can also involve deeper or more complex issues, such as being afraid of having intimate relationships, having chronic back pain, or experiencing and inability to overcome grief related to the loss of a family member.

In essence, problems represent a discrepancy between your current state (what is) and your desired state (what I want). This discrepancy is a problem because of the existence of various obstacles that block the path when trying to reach your goals. Given this definition, the same situation might represent a problem to one person, but because of different circumstances, it is not a problem to another individual. Usually, situations that serve as obstacles to goal attainment (that is, why a situation is a problem for a given person) include the following:

  • Novelty or unfamiliarity (”I’m not sure what to do.”)
  • Complexity (”This is very complicated.”)
  • Conflicting goals (”I’m confused about what to choose.”)
  • Skill deficits (”I can’t do that because I don’t know how to.”)
  • Lack of resources (”I don’t have enough time to take care of that. ”)
  • Uncertainty (”What’s going on?”)
  • Emotional difficulties (”I’d rather do nothing because I’m afraid to try and fail.”)

(Nezu, 2007, s. 3)