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Step 1 - Problem Orientation

Problem orientation can be understood as a client's attitude to solving problems, as distinct from the actual problem solving skills they possess. Problem orientation is made up of a client's thoughts and feelings about problems in general, and thoughts and feelings about their own ability to solve problems. Together these two elements determine how a client will respond when faced with a stressful problem. This makes it a really important part of problem solving therapy.

Positive problem orientation is linked with a rational, and effective, problem solving style. By contrast, negative problem orientation is linked with either an impulsive/careless problem solving style, or an avoidant problem solving style. An impulsive/careless style means clients are likely to make sudden decisions that are not well thought out and are not necessarily relevant to the actual problem. An avoidant style means clients are likely to ignore the problem in the hope that it might go away or in the hope that someone else might solve it.

Problem Orientation is referred to often throughout the therapy sessions. One of the primary aims of PST is to assist the client to develop a more positive orientation, and this is done by education, helping the client to recognise when their attitude toward problems is negative, teaching the client to challenge their more negative attitudes and encouraging them to increase their belief in their ability to solve problems through positive experiences.

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