A clinical approach to problem solving

December 26, 2022by Editorial Team
Problem solving skills

We all react differently to problems. Some succumb, while others get excited. But why is a problem in most cases a 'problem' for most? Young minds attempt a clinical diagnosis of the problem.

Problems: an overview

Problem solving is the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementation.
As we observe the happenings in our environment, we identify real-life issues and situations that could be changed or improved through a diagnosis and developing approaches to influence change. We take necessary actions,observing the impact of those actions on the environment.


Common approaches to problem solving.

One approach to solving problems is to build an encyclopedic memory of problem types in their many forms, and to memorize the steps for their solution. This approach makes it sometimes easier to solve difficult problems quickly, as it makes us feel comfortable through familiarity. At times we use our previous experience and apply those approaches to solve future problems. It helps when we reduce, simplify and split it into several subproblems, asking the right people for help or about the solution itself.


Effective and sustainable approaches to problem solving

The broad steps in the problem solving process involves defining the problem, generating alternative solutions, evaluating and selecting the best solution and finally implementing it.

Each step in the problem-solving process employs skills and methods that contribute to the overall effectiveness of the solution. Humans learn how to solve simple problems from a very early age, such as learning to eat, making coordinated movements and communicating. Problem solving skills and the problem-solving process are a critical part of daily life. Developing and refining these skills through training, practice and learning can provide the ability to solve problems more effectively and over time address problems with a greater degree of complexity and difficulty.

When faced with a problem, we should develop an approach of being solution minded rather than focussing our attention on the problem. Rather than asking ” why me? “, we should rather try to answer “why did this occur? ” and find explanations. Asking for help from anyone and being patient are also equally crucial here. Once a solution to a problem is obtained, communicate the solution to as many people in as many ways as possible, instead of keeping the solution to yourself as a well-guarded secret. Thus knowing about a way to solve a problem will help others who might face similar issues, who can thus proceed towards greater goals, making the entire process sustainable.

To take a real-life example, if we probe to identify the root cause behind the wide prevalence of crimes today, we need to go back to the Indian education system. Here there is no focus on skill education and the only focus is to give theoretical study when a student passes out from their school or college, he/she doesn’t have enough skill to earn their livelihood. Another reason is the legal framework and lack of stringent enforcement of laws.


Applying to education

This approach to problem solving can be equally well applied to education. Once we complete one problem-solving assignment, our skills grow and we get ready to move on to the next level of difficulty. The higher we are in this hierarchy, the better are our problem-solving skills, enabling us to solve more complex problems.


About the authors

The article has been contributed by the following students from Mahavir Senior Model School, New Delhi: Anahita Gupta, Anshika Gupta,Tushar Jain, Uday Sood and Punish Anand.

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