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What is PST?

What is Problem Solving Treatment (PST)?

Problem-Solving Treatment (PST) is a brief form of evidence-based psychotherapy. PST has been used since the 1970's as a standalone intervention. It has been studied extensively in a wide range of settings and with a variety of providers and patient populations, and there are over 80 peer-reviewed articles on its use.

While there are many different types of PST, they are all based on the same principle of resolving depression by re-engaging the client in active problem solving and activities. However, most types of PST involve the following specific stages: 1) Selecting and defining the problem 2) Establishing realistic and achievable goals 3) Generating alternative solutions 4) Implementing decision-making guidelines 5) Evaluating and choosing solutions 6) Implementing the preferred solution and 7) Evaluating the outcome. An important underlying assumption of PST is that everyone has problems; problems are a part of life and not something to be avoided. In fact, PST can help improve a person’s coping and problem solving skills, give one a sense of accomplishment, help one begin to think more positively and ultimately climb back out of the depths of depression.

Successful PST reinforces the rationale that our mood can be improved as a result of problem-solving efforts. PST can help reverse the downward spiral of depression and foster skills that clients can use to address ongoing and future problems that are sure to arise.