Associate Program

Collaborative Problem Solving

Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS), developed at Massachusetts General Hospital, is an evidence-based, trauma-informed practice proven to reduce challenging behavior, teach kids the skills they lack, and build relationships with adults. We can help you bring a more accurate, compassionate, and effective approach to working with children with behavior challenges to your organization, school, district, facility, or program.


Associate Program Overview

The Think:Kids Associate Program is designed for organizations interested in learning Collaborative Problem Solving but not currently in a position to take on organization-wide intensive implementation through our Partnership Program. Think:Kids encourages these organizations to have as many staff as possible attend the Essential Foundation (Level 1) training. The next step is developing one or more internal Collaborative Problem Solving expert teams. The identified individuals should complete Advanced Concepts (Level 2) training and then apply to enter the Certification Course. The number of staff participating in these activities will depend on the size of your organization and the resources available. Think:Kids can provide guidance on selecting these individuals as needed.

Many organizations use the Associate Program as a jumping-off point for future intensive implementation through our Partnership Program. The services listed below are contracted directly with your organization and are held exclusively for your staff and employees. Any in-person services are subject to additional travel costs, to be invoiced separately.

Associate Program Training Menu


Introductory Training: Fundamentals Overview
This training introduces the basic principles of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), an innovative and evidence-based approach to understanding and helping kids with challenging behavior. Participants learn a more empathic and accurate understanding of what causes challenging behavior and are exposed to an overview of the three key components of the CPS approach. This training lays the foundation for further learning opportunities.

Essential Foundation

Essential Foundation in Collaborative Problem Solving (Level 1)
This foundational training covers all aspects of the  approach through engaging lectures, role-play, video examples, case studies, and breakout groups. Participants learn how to identify what’s really causing unmet expectations and challenging behavior and address those causes using a relational, replicable, and trauma-informed process. Attendees discover why a new approach is needed to meet the needs of all children, including those with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. They will be able to assess an individual’s thinking skills and what’s required to handle a particular situation. Participants will then be able to tailor interventions based on goals, skill and relationship building, and addressing problems. At the end of this training, participants will begin applying and practicing the approach with others to address challenging situations and are eligible to take Advanced Concepts (Level 2).

Advanced Concepts

Advanced Concepts in Collaborative Problem Solving (Level 2)
This advanced training deepens skills at all phases of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach through engaging lectures, role-play, video examples, case presentations, and breakout groups. Participants learn strategies for using the approach in the most challenging situations using real-life examples from their experiences, enhancing its implementation in the real world. Attendees grow to use the approach with groups, in the spur of the moment, in complex situations, and when they are not directly involved. They learn how to support others and develop strategies for when things get tough, including a lack of trust or language skills. After completing Advanced Concepts, graduates are eligible to apply to the Certification Course.


Certification Course
The Certification course is designed for individuals who want to become experts in the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. The course provides highly individualized training and support over six months using online learning and virtual meetings. Participants receive detailed feedback in individual and small group coaching sessions through recordings and case examples from their work. Trainees learn to recognize common mistakes, areas of difficulty, and ways to course-correct in the moment.

Once Certified in Collaborative Problem Solving, individuals become members of our international Certified Community, receiving ongoing training and support from Think:Kids. Members are given access to a vast array of resources and materials and are recognized on our website as Certified in Collaborative Problem Solving. They are approved to conduct Introduction and Parent/Caregiver Classes in their community using the official Think:Kids curriculum and may serve as a mentor on best practices within their organization. Certified individuals may apply to take the Trainer Certification course to become experts in teaching Essential Foundation (level 1) to others.

Trainer Certification

Trainer Certification Course
Individuals who are Certified in Collaborative Problem Solving may apply for the Trainer Certification course. This course is intended for individuals interested in providing formal training in Collaborative Problem Solving and small-group coaching. The  Trainer Certification course supports learners by providing instruction, practice, and feedback in their use of official Think:Kids training materials. Attendees will complete assignments to further their expertise, including co-training opportunities offering personalized coaching and feedback. Graduates can competently prepare and teach all components of an Essential Foundation (Level 1) training equitably and inclusively.

Trainer Certification is the best way for organizations to sustainably instill CPS into their program’s culture. Upon completing the Trainer Certification course, participants join our passionate and talented community of Certified Trainers. They receive ongoing support and professional development from Think:Kids by maintaining their community membership. Certified Trainers are authorized to conduct Essential Foundation (Level 1) training in their organization and community using the official Think:Kids training materials.

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Contact us to learn more about our Associate Program and how to bring Collaborative Problem Solving to your organization, school, district, or facility today!

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