Stress can affect a patient’s ability to respond well to problems. Patients may feel helpless or lack confidence in managing their problems, or possibly their feelings of anxiety or grief will get in the way of managing their day-to-day problems well. Problem-solving is a step-by-step strategy that may help distressed patients to solve and manage their problems (55).
In general, direct advice should not be offered. Instead, patients should be helped to explore their own solutions (see Box 2).