Problem Management and Solution-Focused Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy

This section covers problem management and solution-focused approaches.

Problem Management & Solution-Focused

Egan, G. (2002) The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping, 7th Edition. Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole.

This is the most widely-used counselling textbook in the world and is regarded by many as the textbook of problem management approaches to helping. Egan's work also elicits a variety of reactions ranging from complete dismissal as 'obvious' or 'common sense' at one extreme to vitriolic contempt and defensiveness at the other extreme. In my opinion, the book has a great deal to offer to counsellors from many different theoretical persuasions, even those person-centred counsellors who may think that being person-centred means they should not address client problems for fear of becoming 'problem-centred'. Egan offers a straightforward three-stage model for the helping process (which he sees as more broadly applicable than bearing just on the counselling setting) whereby the helper works alongside the client to understand where the client is now, where they would like to be, and how they could get from one to the other. Throughout, Egan maintains a focus on 'positive psychology' and emphasizes the importance of fulfilling human potential and identifying under-used opportunities. My own recommendation to anyone with the faintest interest: read it, and judge for yourself.


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.