The connotation which is naturally and mainly given to the concept of “problem” is generally unfavorable.
And it is precisely this fact that very significantly interferes with the likelihood of adopting an effective form of coping when a life-threatening situation arises that requires a specific type of management and effort to overcome.
like that, before thinking about how to deal with a problem, it is necessary to analyze in detail the attitude that the person presents before the existence of these same, as well as the capacity of confrontation which it possesses in front of this circumstance.
The D’Zurilla and Golfried problem-solving model
D’Zurilla and Goldfried are the authors who in the seventies proposed a first model of problem solving (1971), which has been widely used in the field of cognitive-behavioral psychological intervention in social, interpersonal and clinical contexts.
More precisely, the problem-solving technique consists of the application of a set of non-linear phases which rationally and realistically guide the decision-making process of the individual and which mainly affects the cognitive element within the triple individual response system: cognitive (thoughts and beliefs), autonomous (physiological and organic effects) and motor (behavioral action).
This procedure promotes the generation of a greater variety of alternative solutions. by means of a scientific methodology and thus, to be able to choose also to choose the best option among all.
As initially stated, it appears that andthere are two different factors in effectively dealing with a problem: One is linked to the attitude of the person and the other to the systematic application of the steps described in the phases of the theoretical model. Thus, what D’Zurilla, Nezu and Maydeu-Olivares (1996) indicate predicts that the results obtained with the technique require that the two factors be worked in a combined way, because considering one without the other can lead to little results. .
The first attitudinal aspect is developed in the application of the first of the five phases of the model: Problem orientation. Subsequently, the following four phases concern the application of the scientific model itself: formulation and definition of the problem, generation of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives and decision-making and, finally, implementation of the decision taken and verification of results.
Types of personal adaptation
The contribution of Bados (2014) in this area of knowledge suggests that they exist two types of personal confrontations: one called experiential and the other rational. The first case is a type of automatic action based on emotional and intuitive content, while the second works in the opposite way: it is conscious, analytical, takes effort and relies on more objective arguments.
The author underlines as relevant what was underlined by D’Zurilla and Maydeu-Olivares (1995) on the fact that the rational system does not seek to replace the experiential but to regulate it, Prevent the latter from executing automated and impulsive decisions.
More often, people tend to opt for an experiential coping style because of the time and energy savings it entails, although this sometimes leads to an insufficient assessment of the problematic situation and how to proceed to effectively support it. In addition, it is based on a subjective and motivational component that can lead to the development of an attitude of avoidance or flight when exercising an active approach to problems.
For this reason, the second option may be more expensive but more secure in the medium and long term for the individual, Especially when it comes to more important and relevant decisions.
Attitudinal factors in the orientation phase of the problem
As indicated above, here are five elements to consider in the attitude of orientation towards the problem presented by the person and which will determine the type of confrontation exerted in front of him.
1. Perception of the problem
One of the main things to analyze is whether the person tends to acknowledge or minimize or deny that a problem exists.
If at first this last option has rather pleasant consequences because it generates a certain relief a priori, in the medium and long term it generally leads to a significant discomfort, because the problem continues to exist and can worsen.
Another aspect that also influences the perception of the problem is related to mistakenly confuse the discomfort generated by non-confrontation with the original problem, When it is very likely that it is independent of that.
2. Attribution of the problem
The cause to which the problematic situation is attributed becomes another of the essential variables to analyze, because if a biased or distorted reasoning of these circumstances is carried out, the person may associate the problem with only one factor without considering the others which may also have influenced it, Just as there can also be an excess of self-attribution (attributing the cause to the person exclusively) or finally, attributing the situation to immutable and stable factors instead of to aspects that can be modified and on which affected.
3. Assessment of the problem
Another aspect to discuss is the conceptual definition that the subject tends to make of problems in general.
like that, problems can be seen as a threat or also as a challenge. In the first case, the adversary is defined as a potentially dangerous situation, which can more likely lead to the development of emotional distress such as anxiety, worry, stress and avoidance.
However, in the second case, a more adaptive attitude is chosen where the problem is described as a process that allows for personal learning or enrichment. In this second case, we understand that it is more functional to try to solve a problem even if the result is not entirely satisfactory than not to have tried to solve it.
4. Personal control
Personal control it is about analyzing both the probability that the person appreciates a problem and a situation that can be solved by his actions, Having the same of a certain power of control over the situation.
Obviously, a higher proportion of these cognitions makes it easier to tackle the problem effectively, while a lower likelihood of personal control is related to problem avoidance and denial behaviors.
5. Commitment of time and effort
The person’s willingness to be actively involved in terms of the effort and time invested in solving the problem is the fifth factor that determines the likelihood of effective adaptation. As in the previous case, if these conditions occur at a low level, it will be more likely that the individual in the store will omit the appropriate and functional coping actions..
In the previous lines, a set of Personal attitude variables that greatly influence the management of potential life problems in a functional and adaptive manner and which relate to the person’s perception and assessment of the existence of problems in general.
Understanding them as natural phenomena, understanding them as challenges and not as threats, conducting a rational and logical reasoning on the causes that cause them, as well as taking into account a sufficient capacity for personal control over them are fundamental elements that help to adopt them. greater competence when resolving certain circumstances that may be problematic for the individual, avoiding that they are aggravated or become chronic as a result of more passive actions and certain cognitions of the type dysfunctional.
- Bados, A. and Garcia Grau, E. (2014). Problem solving. Electronic publication. Collection of objects and teaching materials (OMADO). http://hdl.handle.net/2445/54764.
- Olivares, J. and Méndez, FX (2008). Behavior modification techniques. Madrid: New library.
- Rosique Sanz, MT (2019) Advances in psychological intervention techniques (2nd edition). Madrid: CEF Publishing.