Problem Solving Therapy

What is Problem Solving Therapy?

Problem Solving Therapy (PST) is a 7-step program to teach problem-solving skills. PST is based on a relational/problem-solving model of stress and well-being in which real-life problem solving is assumed to play an important role as a mediator of the relationship between stressful life events and negative mental health outcomes. It is a collaborative therapeutic process that includes being friendly, genuine, and empathic while promoting an image of self-assurance and knowledge. The techniques in our PST process are adapted from Hegel, M.T., & Arean, P.A.. (2002). Problem-Solving Treatment for Primary Care (PST-PC): A Treatment Manual for Depression. Retrieved from:

PST has the potential to reduce the impact of a variety of caregiving stressors (e.g., bothersome behaviors, lifestyle constraints, loss of reciprocity in the relationship, and/or everyday stressors such as managing household finances or balancing responsibilities) through increased awareness and use of effective problem-solving techniques, ultimately enhancing family caregivers' self- efficacy when applying newly learned coping skills along the caregiving trajectory.

What is Involved in PST?

PST involves daily training. It involves 9, 60-minute or less face-to-face sessions with a PST therapist through a web-camera. Six sessions are approximately one week apart and three sessions are approximately every-other-week. It involves creating a list of current problems, goals, and then learning the 7-steps to effectively problem solve those identified problems to get to the goals. As a result, some problems may be eliminated quickly and some may not get resolved but require continued effort to reduce the stress from the problem. Brainstorming activities are presented, pros and cons considered, and then selection of the best solution. Following that, an action plan is developed and then applied.

What if I can't identify any problems?

PST can still be helpful if you cannot identify any problems. The goal of PST is to teach problem-solving skills that can be applied in life.

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