Problem-Solving and Cognitive Flexibility

After experiencing a traumatic brain injury, you may find that you have trouble problem-solving because your thinking style has become more rigid (not flexible). For example, you may only see one way to solve a problem, when in fact there are many ways to solve the problem. You may get “stuck” on an idea and may not have the cognitive flexibility to think of other solutions.

Strategies for problem solving 

  • Talking yourself through solving a problem can help you generate other solutions or alternatives. Keep your mind focused on the task and think of the steps you’ve done already and/or troubleshoot new ideas to see if they’ll help you reach the solution you need. 
  • Take a step back and evaluate your problem-solving strategy to see if it’s being effective. If it’s working, keep working at it. If it’s not working, you want to shift your strategy. If you are getting frustrated (either way), it’s a good time to step back and take a break. 

The 5-step problem solving process 

  1. Define the problem
  2. Brainstorm solutions to the problem
  3. Evaluate each solution in terms of ease of implementation, costs and benefits and likely consequences
  4. Pick one solution and put it into action
  5. Evaluate the solution. Did it work? Do you need to try another solution? If so, go back to step 3. 

If experiencing any, or all, of these symptoms and would like additional resources and Get Support