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Differences in Approach: Problem-solving vs. Solution-building

.:Chapter 1: From Problem-solving to Solution Building:.

What can be defined as the problem-solving paradigm?

  1. Practitioners ask clients to spend lots of time describing the nature of the problem (the who, what,when,where,and why of their problems to gain sufficient info for accurate assessment of problems).
  2. Once problems are assessed, most practitioners (drawing on their expertise about prbs and related interventions) modulate their interaction towards making intervention.
  3. Therefore, most of the interaction between clients and practitioners focuses on problems.
  4. Medical problems adopt the way of solving puzzles using convergent reasoning to narrow down onto the solution
  5. Problems brought to practitioners need to be dealt with divergent reasoning because one solution doesn’t fit all.
    • Example: a family may seek professional assistance because it is experiencing parent-child conflict. Perhaps both parents are employed, and the children are getting into mischief after school and seem to want more attention from their parents. The practitioner may be tempted to recommend that one of the parents work fewer hours to devote more time to the children. However, this solution may jeopardize that parent’s job performance and, consequently, make the parent more anxious, which , in turn, may have its own nehgative impact on parent-child interaction in this family.
      • The selection of appropriate solution depends upon a wide variety of variables such as parent’s individual needs at this point in their lives, their past experiences with parenting, and their cultural values regarding jobs and child-rearing.
      • There are a variety of solutions.
      • In divergent thinking, the practitioner looks at different perspectives about the problem and searches for workable solutions.
      • The cool part is that in order to make it effective for the client, divergent thinking gives as much wt to the perceptions of the client as to the expertise of the practitioner.

So what’s the aim then and why’s it different?

To empower clients to live more productive and satisfying lives. If too much time is spent on problems, the clients may feel that they are a victim of a ‘disease’ and may feel discouraged.

Focusing on Empowering and Building on Strengths

Empowering clients indicates the intent to, and the processes of, assisting individuals, groups, families, and communities to discover and expend the resources and tools within and around them. (Saleebey, 2007, p.11). As a result the practitioner:

  • Respects the strengths of people and the direction in which they want to apply them
  • Emphasizes on their strengths as the client defines them
  • Helps explore their strengths without having the last word on what clients need to improve in their lives
  • Do not judge and blame clients for their difficulties and direct them towards how they’ve managed to cope
  • All environments, even the most bleak, contain resources (assumption)
From:Interviewing for Solutions’ by Peter de Jong & Insoo Kim Berg
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