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On the last track we discussed the problem-solving strategy of Creating a Problem "Horoscope."
In this track, we'll discuss the brainstorming Cognitive Behavior Therapy problem-solving strategy.
5 Components of CBT Problem Solving (Continued)
Component #2 - Generation
Have you found, like I, that oftentimes clients expect there to be one right answer for each problem, and that therapy, or the therapist, will provide this one right answer for them. Moreover, in trying to find the right solution to a problem, clients sometimes believe that the first idea that comes to mind is the best one. Therefore, in order to maximize problem-solving effectiveness, I found I needed to convey to Elsa the necessity of generating as many different options as possible. What do you think of this approach?
how I introduced the generation-of-alternatives process or brainstorming to Elsa:
...Sometimes, the more they think about it, the worse they feel, and a vicious cycle of negative thinking and negative feelings gets started. Often, the person feels helpless about changing either the problem or their feelings. This type of thinking, which is dominated by worrying and ruminating, can be thought of as "nonproductive thinking." Nonproductive thinking usually leads to an accumulation of more negative feelings; it doesn't help to resolve the problem." Obviously, the above was repeated in various ways over several sessions.
To present the next concept in brainstorming to Elsa I stated, "How would you feel about learning how to avoid negative thinking by developing those skills that lead to productive thinking? Productive thinking involves confronting the problems we discussed in our last sessions head-on by creatively developing a list of possible ways to resolve the problems facing you. Have you heard of brainstorming?
I have found brainstorming has helped other clients break out of their cycle of negative thinking and negative feelings. Brainstorming can improve your productive thinking abilities and can help you to cope more effectively with your problems of aging, gambling, and depression over the loss of your aunt.
Three Guiding Principles of CBT Brainstorming
When using brainstorming to generate alternative solutions, I guided Elsa to develop solution ideas that are both relevant and specific. Relevant options are oriented toward accomplishing the objective or objectives necessary to resolve the identified problem. Specific options are stated in concrete and unambiguous terms so that your client can later evaluate how effective they were in meeting the goal and resolving the problem. The following sections describe in detail how to implement the procedures of brainstorming during the course of therapy with your depressed client.
Two Basic Rules of the Quantity Principle:
Byincreasing the number of alternative solutions, your client will improve the selection of high quality possibilities. I found with Elsa, to facilitate her creation of alternatives, occasionally I offered solution ideas. These solution ideas particularly concerned differing strategies or classes of ideas. I found it with Elsa to begin such training with an exercise that emphasizes the use of list-making in solving a simple, impersonal problem.
Two Positive Features in Making a List of Alternatives:
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