Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: 7 to 14 year olds with behavioral problems, particularly children who struggle to handle disappointments, frustrations, or problems calmly

For children/adolescents ages: 7 – 14

Brief Description

PSST is aimed at decreasing inappropriate or disruptive behavior in children. The program teaches that problem behaviors arise because children lack constructive ways to deal with thoughts and feelings and instead resort to dysfunctional ones. It is designed to help children learn to slow down, stop and think, and generate multiple solutions to any given problem. The program uses a cognitive-behavioral approach to teach techniques in managing thoughts and feelings, and interacting appropriately with others. Specific techniques include modeling, role-playing, positive reinforcement of appropriate behavior, and teaching alternative behaviors. Children are typically given homework to help them practice implementing these skills. Most sessions are individual, but parents may be brought in to observe and to learn how to assist in reinforcing new skills.

Program Goals:

The goals of Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST) are:

  • Train the child to think differently about situations and behave differently in diverse situations
  • Help the child internalize the problem solving steps so that they are able to use them to evaluate potential solutions to problems occurring outside of therapy
  • Learn and generalize problem solving skills and how to apply problem solving skills using self-instruction
  • Learn how to generate positive solutions that would enable the child to avoid physical aggression, resolve the conflict, and keep themselves out of trouble

Contact Information

Alan E. Kazdin
Agency/Affiliation: Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic
Phone: (203) 432-9993
Fax: (203) 432-5225

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2009