Friday, June 3, 2011

Problem-Solving Thinking

In my new book (looking for adoption by a publisher) Handbook #1 for Intelligent Women: Break the Negative Self-Talk Habit, I describe three categories of approaches to eliminating negative self-talk: problem solving thinking, cognitive restructuring and detachment. In the process of working on the three technique chapters I became particularly intrigued with problem-solving. I realized that I had learned problem-solving as a freshman nursing student at the University of Michigan. We were taught that the p-s process was superior to memorization in learning nursing procedures such as sterile technique, measuring vital signs, dressing wounds.

I recently realized how dominant problem solving thinking has been in my life. I started to do more reading and informal research. I contacted experts and authors.
Here's what I've discovered from my casual survey of adults over 50.

• Some people learn a specific p-s process in the course of their education or job training. A gender/occupation correlation seems to hold.
Men in traditional male occupations almost always have been taught and use a step-by-step system. e.g. engineers, MDs, pilots
          Many say that whether they had been taught problem-solving thinking or not, they have always used it. "It's in the genes," one       

 Women in a variety of occupations are often not sure what I mean when I talk about problem-solving thinking. They think they may not have been taught the process formally, but believe they are good problem-solvers naturally.

 Academic research about coping with stress finds that men use a problem-solving approach and detachment to reduce stress.
Women use an emotional approach and avoidance.And further, that men's approach works better for them, than ours works for us.
What's the moral of the story?
Women need to improve their use of problem-solving thinking? What do you think?
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