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Problem-Solving Treatment in Primary Care – an Evidence-Based Method for Everyday Healthcare

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2017.0260-0265

german translation / full article

Keywords: problem-solving treatment psychotherapy mental disorders primary care

Summary: Problem-solving training is an economical and evidence-based intervention for the treatment of mental disorders, which is adapted from problem-solving therapy for the primary care setting. Problem-solving training should reduce psychological burden in patients by guiding them to learn and apply a method for active problem solving. The aim is to improve patients’ ability to solve problems by using this approach independently in everyday life. Following a fixed schedule, the problem-solving training can be executed in four to eight sessions. In session 1, central assumptions in the problem-solving training are introduced, e.g. the relationship between problems and mental disorders as well as between physical symptoms and psychological burden. Furthermore, functional problem-solving styles and orientation are explained and the seven steps of the problem-solving training are introduced. These steps are implemented and practiced in every session using the patients’ current problems. In step 1, an accurate formulation of the problem is developed. In step 2, a realistic and achievable goal is determined. In step 3, different solutions are developed using brainstorming techniques. In step 4, the developed solutions are systematically evaluated, before – based on this evaluation – a practical solution is selected in step 5. Step 6 serves for developing a detailed plan of action for the application and implementation of the selected solution. In step 7, the success of the plan of action is evaluated during the subsequent session. Problem-solving training is an easy-to-learn and effective psychosocial intervention for treating mild mental disorders in primary care.


(State: 19.06.2017)

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