Problem Solving

Problem-solving training is a component of many programs for offenders. In our program, problem-solving training is not limited to offering individuals specific solutions to specific problems, but aims to teach cognitive and behavioral skills which will enable the individual to develop a general approach to problems. The offender’s general orientation and attitude in approaching a problem situation can greatly affect his response to that situation. Offenders need to be taught to adopt a coping set or attitude which recognizes that problem situations are part of everyday existence and that it is possible to cope effectively with most of these situations. They also must be taught to inhibit the tendency either to do nothing or to respond on their first impulse.

In this program the offender learns how to define problems; to consider all information; to define the situation in detail and in concrete terms; to identify relevant concepts; to arrange facts into an orderly form; to recognize irrelevant facts; and to recognize gaps in the information available to him. He also must learn verbal and non-verbal communications skills so that he can obtain as much information as possible about a problem, recognize that problems are about to occur and express his views clearly.