Solution Focused Problem Solving

Problem solving is one of those skills that every mother does on a daily basis whether she realises it or not.  From solving how you are going to achieve all of the seemingly impossible demands on you to working out how you can balance the finances, spend quality time with your children and keep the spark alive in your relationship, there is a process that you undertake (whether consciously or not) to achieve all of these things as best you can.  But what do you do when the problem seems overwhelming and you have no idea where or how to start tackling it?

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Traditional problem solving methods involve focusing on what the problem is, weighing up your options, and choosing the best action plan.  But how taking a more solution focused approach?  This way of looking at the world isn’t about wearing rose coloured glasses, but rather about focusing your energy on how you want things to be (the solution) rather than getting stuck in the depths of your problem.

Focus on one issue at a time

Trying to solve all of your problems at once is not only impossible but also too overwhelming for most people.  Pick the issue that worries you the most and start there.  If it feels too overwhelming to do this, then pick a smaller issue to start with.  Successfully working through one problem will give you confidence to tackle the next.

Write it down

Sometimes it can be really helpful to see the issue in black and white in front of you.  Writing it down makes it more concrete and can also help to externalise it from your emotions.

What is your end goal?

What is the solution that you are looking for or in other words, how will you know when this problem is adequately ‘solved’.  Unless you have a clear idea of where you want to get to, this problem may never be resolved.  Keep this end goal in your mind rather than focusing on the problem.

Look for exceptions to your current problem

Has there been a time when this wasn’t an issue?  For example, if you’re feeling lonely and isolated, ask yourself if there has been a time when you haven’t felt this way.  What was different?  Were you doing things differently then that you can start doing now?

What strengths can you bring to help you with this situation?

Ever found yourself so stuck in a problem that it feels like you have no skills or abilities to solve it?  Odds are this is not the case and if you took a few minutes to think about it, it is likely you have many strengths that will probably help you out of your current situation.  Skills are transferrable.  For example, getting everything done around the house whilst still having dinner ready on time requires prioritising and time management – both skills that can be transferred to other situations.

Ask for help!

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Whether this be help with resolving your problem, help in the form of a supportive ear or brainstorming solutions – as the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.



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