Problem Solving

Emotion Regulation is the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy module that teaches how emotions work. It provides skills to help manage emotions instead of being managed by them, reduce vulnerability to negative emotions, and build positive emotional experiences.

When you find yourself experiencing a challenging emotion, you are faced with the choice between changing the emotion or changing the situation. Often this decision depends on whether your emotion is justified or not, which you can determine by using the skill Check the Facts. If your emotion and its intensity are justified, consider changing the situation by Problem Solving. This skill will help you find a solution to the problem situation and put it into action. There is also a handy flow chart to help you figure out whether Problem Solving or Opposite Action is the right skill to use.

There are 7 steps to Problem Solving that can help you figure out what to do next.

  1. What is the problem? Describe the situation
  2. Use Check the Facts to ensure you’re describing it accurately
  3. Figure out your goal in solving the problem
    1. What needs to happen so you can feel okay?
    2. Keep it simple and realistically attainable
  4. Brainstorm as many solutions as you can
    1. Ask for suggestions from people you trust
    2. Practice willingness – don’t be critical of any ideas at first
  5. Choose a solution that fits the goal and is likely to work
    1. If you’re having trouble choosing one, pick two
    2. Do a Pro-Con 4-Square to compare them, then pick the best to try first
  6. Try the solution
    1. Take it step by step
  7. Evaluate the results
    1. Did it work? If not, go back to step 5 and choose another solution to try