Module 14: Problem Solving

Overcoming obstacles

Sometimes overcoming obstacles involves thinking outside the box (or from a new perspective!). An easy way of practising this skill is to do a simple brainstorm, this is where you put down all your ideas relating to something without criticising or finding obstacles for them. For example:

Use for toothpaste example

Then you can look back and review those that might work and those that aren’t very good - some of the ideas above may not be very practical but you may have also found a new and useful way of using toothpaste! The same exercise can be used when you are looking at bigger problems:

Improving self-esteem example

Again review and pick the best option for you, you may have to try a few before you find one that works but that’s why it’s great to have thought of so many ideas.

Now, try a brainstorm with one of your own obstacles and see how you get on – see if the approach helps you come up with new and different ways of dealing with your problem.

Ways to avoid acting on impulse

Good problem solving involves the ability to stop and think and consider consequences.  Here is a list of approaches that can assist in this and reduce the chance of you acting impulsively.

  • Don’t allow other people to pressure you into making a decision
  • Don’t panic when faced with a difficult decision- few good decisions are made in haste
  • Sleep on it BUT don’t put off important issues for so long that you leave it to the last minute and then don’t have time to consider them
  • Check the facts- seek other people’s views but don’t rely on opinions
  • Write things down, make lists, notes
  • Never sign anything without reading it and read everything at least twice
  • Don’t be afraid to say if you are unsure, to clarify your understanding
  • Don’t make decisions after taking drink or drugs
  • Count to ten before responding
  • Ask yourself how you will feel about the situation/decision next week or next year



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