The Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach is a revolutionary, evidence-based practice for understanding and helping behaviorally challenging children and adolescents. The technique itself is a non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model of care designed by the Think:Kids initiative within Massachusetts General Hospital, the top psychiatric hospital in the United States. The philosophy acknowledges that challenging behaviors in children-including tantrums, pouting, violent outburst, lack of engagement and others-is not "bratty," but the child is lacking the skills appropriately respond to an expectation of an adult. Since the child's brain has not developed the communication functions that adults have, this "bad behavior" is really a way for them to communicate that they are struggling. Punishing them is the worst course of action because in reality, such an action causes them to withdraw and develop negative emotions. These negative effects are often carried throughout an individual's life if not appropriately managed. The CPS approach, therefore, meets behaviorally challenged children at their level and helps them build the skills to respond appropriately. This is the opposite of the traditional, punitive approach, which is harmful to a child who really needs compassion.
Since 2001 when its implementation began across the United States, this evidence-based approach has met with great success; apart from individual patients and families, schools, law enforcement agencies, social workers, and a wide range of individuals and intuitions have adopted this method with great success and could serve as an excellent secondary market for a resource like this. New York State's and California's Department of Education have both report positive results, for example. The top researchers in this field have given lectures and articles that have had an overwhelming response, with many mental health and para-professionals reaching out to Think:kids in search of more guidance on the subject; despite this, no such resource exists.
This book will be the first to systematically describe the key components necessary to ensure successful implementation of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) across mental health settings, including private practice, medical schools, large hospitals and research settings, therapeutic school settings, social work settings, and many others. A secondary audience includes non-mental health professionals who may also manage behaviors, including educators, law enforcement, administrators, and others. The reader will gain a concrete framework that will support their task of implementing this approach within their program, organization, and/or system of care.