Problem-solving ability is an immensely important set of skills that assist adolescents to deal effectively with the navigation of stressful situations that they face daily. The conflict, confusion and difficult choices adolescents are up against, create additional stress. To have in place a useful strategy for dealing with this ongoing conflict is essential for problem resolution.

The rationale behind Problem Solving Training is to teach youth a “do-it- yourself” way to solve their own problems. Youth should not simply be taught what to think, but more importantly, how to think. In this training strategy, a structured method or process to follow is prescribed that can help them learn how to solve the many problems that will arise in their future lives.

The following program description includes many of the theoretical underpinnings of Goldstein, D’Zurilla, Nezu, Spivack, Shure and others. It is presented in a series of sequential sessions, taught at a pace that ensures that youth have a good grasp of the concepts before moving on. Although a structured program, there are many opportunities to use interactive activities to appeal to and accommodate the large numbers of kinesthetic learners also in need of strategies to resolve issues

Session 1: Program Overview

Session 2: Barriers to Problem Solving: Cognitive Distortions/Thinking Errors

Session 3: Problem Signs/ Stop and Think

Session 4: Problem Identification: Goals, Obstacles and Change

Session 5: Gathering Information: from your own perspective and from others

Session 6: Brainstorming Alternatives

Session 7: Evaluating Consequences and Outcomes

Session 8: Practice “I can do it!”

The goal of parents and educators is to prepare children to become responsible citizens. We can accomplish this by strengthening their ability to think clearly and carefully, even under stress. Problem solving training has proved to be successful for antisocial behavior both as a single modal program and in combination with anger control training or with social skills training . As such, problem solving should be viewed, in the context of this curriculum, as both skill and meta-skill. The development of high levels of competency in problem solving is, therefore, supported by other Prepare® Curriculum courses.

For more information contact: Kim Parker at or Robert Calame at