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Collaborative Problem Solving

The Psychology and Therapeutic Services utilise ‘Solution Circles’, ‘Insights Solution Circles’ and ‘Circle of Adults’ processes to help support colleagues.

Solution Circles

Solution Circles are tools to build ‘community capacity’ and provide an effective way at getting ‘unstuck’ from a problem in life or at work in short and powerful way; approximately half an hour.

This process was designed by Marsha Forest & Jack Pearpoint and is popular as it’s a short and powerful, effective problem-solving tool. It helps to build “community capacity” as it assumes and demonstrates that nearby people – in any community or workplace have the capacity to help if asked.

Feedback from people who have experienced Solution Circles are that it is a quick and easy tool to learn and have incorporated them into their workplace peer supervision practice. Outcomes are that people can see a way forward to a problem,

In Suffolk, as part of our ‘core offer’ we are using the Solution Circle process ‘virtually’ as part of early intervention support that forms an element of the Graduated Response to supporting Special Educational Needs and Disability. Here is a link to an explanation of how we are using Solution Circles in this context (PDF, 379KB).

After each Solution Circle the education setting staff member, having spent a short time with a group of colleagues, is allocated a named person to follow up with a phone call, text or email. This has proven to be an extremely helpful element of the Solution Circle.

Insights Solution Circle

Insights Solution Circle is an expanded version of the collaborative problem-solving Solution Circle process. The Insights Solution Circle process has a few more steps in order to look deeper into the situation being considered. It takes around 50 minutes and works well with a range of groups e.g., involving families as well as professionals.

The process involves presenting an issue, being able to ask a few questions, sharing theories and strategies, having a dialogue around some of the strategies and finally planning next steps together.