Sickle cell disease and problem solving: Going through Steps 1 to 5

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If you have completed the five steps of the Bright IDEAS system and are not satisfied with the result, you might need to go back and try Steps 1 to 5 again. Read through the case study for an example of what this can look like.

Key points

  • If you rated your satisfaction level as a 1, 2 or 3 in Step 5, you may wish to try your second- or third-choice options instead.
  • If none of the options seem suitable anymore, make sure you have identified your problem correctly.
  • In the case study you followed throughout this module, Maya found she was not satisfied with the result of her first-choice solution. On this page, Maya follows Steps 1 through 5 again with her second and third choices.

If you were not satisfied with the solution to your problem, you can refer to your list of possible solutions and try another of the options you came up with. If you no longer think any of the options are a good solution, you may want to go back to the beginning of the Bright IDEAS system to make sure you identified the problem correctly.

The case study below follows Maya through the five steps to problem solving using her second and third options after she was not satisfied with the results of her first solution.

Optimism/positive attitude to the problem

I’m feeling a bit discouraged, but I’m glad I tried something. I still think I can make things better, and I want to try again.

Step 1: Identify the problem

I want to address the same problem: “My husband and I fight most mornings about whether to make Eva to go to school.”

Step 2: Define options

I looked back at my list of possible solutions, and I added a couple of new possibilities.

Step 3: Evaluate options

I crossed out taking away Eva’s cell phone and added a few pros and cons to the list. I’ve decided that I will try having Eva set an alarm (this was option #3). I will also try rewarding Eva for going to school (this was option #2). And I will try deep breathing to help reduce my high emotions in the situation.

Step 4: Action plan

I organized a time to have a detailed conversation with my husband about how we will work on this plan together. I decided that I will share my solution list with my husband and talk about how I came up with the new plan. On Saturday, I will go to the store with Eva to buy an alarm clock for her room. I will also tell Eva that she can choose the take-out meal the family has at the end of the week if she gets up for school and goes at least four days of the week. On Sunday, I will help Eva set an alarm for 6:30 a.m. This gives her enough time to shower and get ready for school and have a little extra time to spare. Each school night, either I or my husband will remind Eva to set her alarm.

Step 5: See if it worked

On Monday, my husband and I heard Eva’s alarm go off three times, but Eva got out of bed before either of us went to wake her. Tuesday morning, Eva’s alarm didn’t go off because Eva forgot to set it. My husband and I argued about who had to wake her up. I used deep breathing to help myself stay calmer than I did before. On Tuesday night, I made sure to remind Eva to set her alarm. On Wednesday morning, Eva got up after the alarm went off the second time. Thursday and Friday morning, Eva was very grumpy when her alarm went off, but she got up before my husband or I went into her room. Eva earned the reward of selecting the family meal on Friday evening and seemed pleased with it.

On a scale of 1–5, how satisfied are you with the result?

This time, I'd say 4 out of 5!

Maya believes this week went much better. Even though she and her husband still argued, it happened much less than before. Maya noticed that she felt more like a team with her husband. They observed together that reminding Eva to set her alarm helped and that Eva was happy with earning a reward. They decide to keep this plan in place for the next few weeks.

Last updated: March 4th 2024