Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is an approach to working with children who exhibit emotional and behavioral troubles articulated by Dr. Ross Greene in his book, The Explosive Child (1998). The CPS model views behavioral challenges as a form of learning disability or developmental delay — in other words, behaviorally challenging kids are lacking crucial cognitive skills, especially in the domains of flexibility, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving
Rather than focusing on punitive motivational means, CPS seeks to create fundamental changes in interactions between kids with behavioral challenges and their adult caregivers. It shifts the focus from that of a more authoritative stance to one where caregivers engage with children to solve problems togther.
A foundational statement in CPS is “Children do well if they can.” Its aim is to shift perspectives by confronting the caregiver to consider the child’s development and then ask the question; ‘Is the child capable of what we are asking him to do?’ While CPS is frequently misunderstood and poorly executed, you can’t fault it’s aim: to find solutions that are “doable, realistic and mutually satisfactory.”