Collaborative Problem Solving

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Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is an approach to understanding and helping children with behavioral challenges originated by Ross Greene and originally described in his book The Explosive Child. The CPS model views behavioral challenges as a form of learning disability or developmental delay—in other words, behaviorally challenging children are lacking crucial cognitive skills, especially in the domains of flexibility, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving—and seeks to create fundamental changes in interactions between children with behavioral challenges and their adult caregivers by having caregivers engage children in solving problems collaboratively. While studied primarily in children with oppositional defiant disorder,[unreliable medical source?][1] it has been suggested for behavior management in youth with a variety of behavioral challenges, including youth with bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder, and has been implemented and studied in many settings including families, schools, inpatient psychiatry units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities.[medical citation needed]

Though the CPS model was originated by Dr. Greene—and though he has referred to his model by the name "Collaborative Problem Solving" in his books, research papers, articles, and chapters since 2002—a federal district court ruled in 2013 that the trademarks for "Collaborative Problem Solving" and the "Collaborative Problem Solving Approach" belong to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).[citation needed] Subsequent to this ruling, MGH took successful legal action to prevent Dr. Greene from continuing to refer to his model as "Collaborative Problem Solving". The court's rulings are currently before the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals.[citation needed] Dr. Greene now refers to his model as "Collaborative & Proactive Solutions". MGH is now disseminating a similar model—through its "Think:Kids" program and calling it "Collaborative Problem Solving." Dr. Greene hasn't been associated with MGH since 2009. He founded the non-profit organization Lives in the Balance in 2009 and has authorized it to disseminate his model.[citation needed]


  1. ^ [non-primary source needed] Greene RW, Ablon JS, Goring JC et al. (December 2004). "Effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in affectively dysregulated children with oppositional-defiant disorder: initial findings". J Consult Clin Psychol 72 (6): 1157–64. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.72.6.1157. PMID 15612861. 

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