Practical action plans and a worksheet for problem solving when the actions get stuck

The cognitive behavioural approach to pain management is marked by not just working through ‘education’ or ‘information’, not simply being about ‘psychotherapy’ and ‘cognitive therapy’ – but also about moving from being a patient to whom things are done to being a person who does things. This means goal setting and problem solving are almost compulsory components to a good cognitive behavioural pain management programme.

The main problem I’ve had is finding suitably simple worksheets for the people I see who, by and large, are not ‘pen and paper’ people!  Not that they all have learning disorders, but many are just not conversant with written work, and they don’t respond well to screeds of paper and words (unlike me!).

Today I spent a little time reviewing how I might go about helping people develop an action plan to achieve a goal, and then a problem solving worksheet that they could use to work out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what the next step might be.

I don’t have references for this post today, but I’ve tried a lot of different ways to do it, and seen some that just don’t seem to be simple or clear enough.

Action plans

Lots of times, people I work with get hung up on ‘goal setting’, so I’ve decided to rename ‘goals’ as ‘action plans’ – in other words, the actions people need to take to achieve a goal.  Goals seem to be a little abstract, while action planning has the idea of doing something positive to get what you want!


Problem solving – really simple problem solving

When people hit snags – problem solving! The problem with problem solving is that it’s not easy to find a really simplified problem solving diagram to show the process. This is my attempt – but I’m still not entirely happy with it.
Problem solving simplified

If you do this type of work, and have found something that is really, really basic to take people through a step-by-step process to work out what has gone wrong, why it’s gone wrong and then what the options are – do let me know!
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