Collaborative Problem Solving

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Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is an approach to understanding and helping children with behavioral challenges originated by Dr. Ross Greene. 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 -- and seeks to create fundamental changes in interactions between kids with behavioral challenges and their adult caregivers by having caregivers engage kids in solving problems collaboratively. While studied primarily in children with oppositional defiant disorder,[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.

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 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). Subsequent to this ruling, MGH took successful legal action to prevent Dr. Greene from referring to his model as "Collaborative Problem Solving". The court's rulings are currently before the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. Dr. Greene now refers to his model as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions. Dr. Greene hasn't been associated with MGH since 2009.


  1. ^ Greene, R.W. et al. (2004) Effectiveness of Collaborative Problem Solving in affectively dysregulated youth with oppositional defiant disorder: Initial findings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 1157–1164.

External links[edit]

Lives in the Balance, the non-profit organization founded by Ross Greene