The Problem Solver’s Practice Manual



By Neil Thompson

“Where there are people, there will be problems, but there will also be potential” is a key part of Neil’s work. And that is precisely what this manual is all about – equipping practitioners from various professional disciplines to help people address their problems and realise their potential. Part One provides an extended essay on the nature and significance of problem solving to lay solid foundations of understanding. Part Two then offers guidance on using 101 problem-solving tools that can be used in a wide variety of circumstances.


“This book, which helps us better appreciate people, their context, their relationships and their communication with others, is a great resource to support professionals in playing a positive role in people’s lives”

From the Foreword by Carolyn Ewart

“Anyone whose work involves helping others wrestle with their problems and challenges will benefit from this manual. This important, interesting and valuable book provides a very different model for solving problems rooted in a social and cultural approach to people and their problems. As one of the most skilled mediators in the field, Neil Thompson’s many years of experience in solving people problems are offered here in a magnificently orchestrated book, with solutions that actually work! It takes the reader light years beyond the limited, formula-based approaches of solving problems found in other books in the field. Anyone who works with people will find this book to be an essential tool. It is an exceptional book that will be of value to anyone who works with people and is destined to become a classic in the field.”

Dr Gerry R. Cox, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

“At a time when social work has become notoriously conservative, this foundational book delivers social workers gold standard insights and practical problem-solving tools that promote empowering practice. Offering innovative solutions, this book is a fantastic resource to help workers creatively navigate the complex and challenging dilemmas often involved in working with people.”

Professor Christine Morley, Faculty of Health, University of Queensland

“This manual masterfully brings together the author’s vast repository of knowledge and skills to offer practical tools and reflective thinking points to help those who help others in developing and maintaining best ethical, effective practice. It will be relevant to all areas of problem solving and can be applied across a range of disciplines, specialisms and professions. The way in which it is so firmly embedded in critical reflection, with a healthy dose of pragmatism, makes it a refreshing and nourishing resource for practitioners and professionals at all stages of their training and career.”

Dr Christian Beech, Director, MSc Social Work Programme, Swansea University

“This manual is a godsend! It is a well put together handbook drawing on a variety of useful problem-solving techniques. It can be used as a ‘go to’ source when practitioners or managers are ‘stuck’. I found the section on anticipating failure especially useful. It encourages teams to see a potential weak spot in any plan, enabling the development of a ‘Plan B’. My personal favourite is Fishbone Analysis which offers a creative approach to ensure all elements of a plan are being included and nothing is being left to chance. This is a first-class resource which I heartily recommend.”

Hannah E. Bates; Team Manager, Wolverhampton City Council


1. Free shipping is only available for UK book orders (excluding Pavilion publications). If you are based outside of the UK, please email [email protected] with details of your order.  A member of our team will process your order manually and apply the appropriate shipping fee dependent on the size of your order and the country you are ordering from.

2. Price is discounted to £20 per copy for orders of 5 or more copies.


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