How is problem-solving therapy (PST) delivered in the treatment of major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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According to social problem solving theory, one’s ability to successfully solve problems is based on both problem orientation and problem-solving style. [148, 149] Problem orientation includes an individual’s beliefs, attitudes, and emotional reactions to problems and their ability to cope with these problems. Problem orientation can either be positive (i.e., be optimistic that one can effectively solve problems, understand that negative emotions are an inevitable part of the process, understand that time and effort are required to solve problems) or negative (i.e., problems are viewed as threats, the individual feels pessimistic about their ability to solve problems, and they become especially upset in the face of problems and negative emotions). Problem-solving style refers to the activities someone engages in while trying to cope with a problem. [149, 148] This could be adaptive or maladaptive. An adaptive problem-solving style is referred to as rationalproblem-solving,whichincludes systematically applying skills to effectively solve a problem. These skills include: (a) defining a problem, (b) determining alternative solutions, (c) decision making regarding different solution strategies, and (d) implementing and evaluating a particular solution strategy. Maladaptive coping styles include the impulsivity-carelessness style and avoidance. [149] Treatment includes training in problem orientation, training in each of the steps of rational problem-solving, and practicing these skills. [150]

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