Books & Resources

Changeable: How Collaborative Problem Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School, and at Work

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Why is it so hard to change problem behavior—in our kids, our colleagues, and even ourselves? Conventional methods often backfire, creating a downward spiral of resentment and frustration, and a missed opportunity for growth. What if the thinking behind these old methods is wrong? What if people don’t misbehave because they want to, but because they lack the skills to do better? Or as renowned psychologist Dr. Stuart Ablon asks, what if changing problem behavior is a matter of skill, not will?

Based on more than twenty-five years of clinical work with juvenile offenders as well training parents, teachers, counselors and law enforcement, and supported by research in neuroscience, Changeable presents a radical new way of thinking about challenging and unwanted behavior—Collaborative Problem Solving—that builds empathy, helps others reach their full potential, and most of all really works.

With illuminating scientific evidence, remarkable success stories, and actionable insights, Changeable gives parents, teachers, CEOs and anyone interested in learning about why we behave the way we do a roadmap for helping people grow.


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The School Discipline Fix: Changing Behavior Using the Collaborative Problem Solving Approach

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A complete guide to a paradigm-shifting model of school discipline. Disruptive students need problem-solving skills, not punishment.

Traditional school discipline is ineffective and often damaging, relying heavily on punishments and motivational procedures aimed at giving students the incentive to behave better. There is a better way.

Dr. Ablon and his co-author Dr. Pollastri have been working with schools throughout the world to refine the Collaborative Problem-Solving (CPS) approach, creating a step-by-step program for educators based on the recognition—from research in neuroscience—that challenging classroom behaviors are due to a deficit of skill, not will. This book provides everything needed to implement the program, including reproducible assessment tools to pinpoint skill deficits in areas like frustration tolerance and flexibility that are at the root of students’ challenging behaviors.

Whether you are a teacher, counselor, coach, or administrator, the CPS approach to school discipline will provide you with a new mindset, an assessment process, and an effective intervention plan for each of your challenging students. You will walk away with strategies that are immediately actionable with the students in your life.

Download the free PDF discussion guide

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Collaborative Problem Solving with Students: A Quick Reference Guide

From the authors of The School Discipline Fix: a three-step guide to using CPS. The most effective way to address students’ challenging behaviors is with skill development, not motivational incentives or disciplinary measures.

When students miss class, forget homework, and misbehave, they lack the skill rather than the will to succeed. With this philosophy in mind, Collaborative Problem Solving with Students, by youth psychology experts J. Stuart Ablon and Alisha R. Pollastri, provides a clear framework for working with students to address challenging behavior. The QRG offers proven steps for solving a problem collaboratively with a student:

Empathize: Clarify the student’s concern
Share: Express your concern
Collaborate: Brainstorm, assess, and choose a solution to try

The easy-to-follow guide is an essential tool for tackling challenging student behavior effectively, collaboratively, and compassionately. This 8.5″ x 11″ multi-panel guide is laminated for extra durability and 3-hole-punched for binder storage.

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Collaborative Problem Solving for Mental Health Professionals and Parents

An essential guide to the Collaborative Problem Solving approach for anyone working with children outside of a school setting.

The Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach recognizes that kids don’t lack the will to behave well, they lack the skills to behave well. The process begins with identifying triggers to a child’s challenging behavior and the specific skills they need help developing. The next step involves partnering with the child to build these skills and develop lasting solutions to problems that work for everyone.

In this guide, clinical staff, parents, guardians, and other CPS trainees will find crucial information about the guiding philosophy of the approach; the cognitive skills that contribute to children’s behavior; the key aspects of a CPS assessment; information on planning and prioritizing the treatment; and step-by-step instructions for completing CPS itself.

The easy-to-follow guide is an essential tool for tackling challenging behavior effectively, collaboratively, and compassionately. This 8.5″ x 11″ multi-panel guide is laminated for extra durability and 3-hole-punched for binder storage.

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Collaborative Problem Solving Assessment & Planning Tool (APT)

The CPS-APT walks you through the steps of assessing unmet expectations/triggers, skills, and challenging behaviors, as well as planning your intervention.

Download a Completed SAMPLE CPS-APT

This completed version of a sample CPS-APT provides an example of what an APT with a child in at home may look like.

Download Editable Version

Plan B Flashcards

Our Plan B Flash Cards are a wonderful visual tool! The Plan B Cards have been a huge hit among parents and professionals who find them helpful for both maintaining the mindset that “kids do well if they can,” and for keeping Plan B discussions on track.

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Collaborative Problem Solving: An Evidence-Based Approach to Implementation and Practice

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This book is the first to systematically describe the key components necessary to ensure successful implementation of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) across mental health settings and non-mental health settings that require behavioral management.  This resource is designed by the leading experts in CPS and is focused on the clinical and implementation strategies that have proved most successful within various private and institutional agencies.  The book begins by defining the approach before delving into the neurobiological components that are key to understanding this concept.  Next, the book covers the best practices for implementation and evaluating outcomes, both in the long and short term.  The book concludes with a summary of the concept and recommendations for additional resources, making it an excellent concise guide to this cutting edge approach.

Collaborative Problem Solving is an excellent resource for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and all medical professionals working to manage troubling behaviors.  The text is also valuable for readers interested in public health, education, improved law enforcement strategies, and all stakeholders seeking to implement this approach within their program, organization, and/or system of care.

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Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach

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The first comprehensive, clinical guide for the groundbreaking Collaborative Problem Solving approach, this book provides a detailed framework for effective, individualized intervention with highly oppositional children and their families. Many vivid examples and Q&A sections show how to identify the specific cognitive factors that contribute to explosive and noncompliant behavior, remediate these factors, and teach children and their adult caregivers how to solve problems collaboratively. The book also describes challenges that may arise in implementing the model and provides clear and practical solutions. Two special chapters focus on intervention in schools and in therapeutic/restrictive facilities.

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