Problem solving

Making difficult choices, whether as a person or a group, is a necessary component in problem solving (Bardach&Patashnik, 2015).

In order to conduct my field research, I had to get in touch with an acquaintance who had experienced severe child abuse. As I interviewed her, I took notes to compile my data. She struggles to lead a normal sober life since the act of child abuse and the results that followed are still vividly apparent in her mind. This paper involves an outline of steps that I will absorb in the attempt to help her in solving her problems and ensuring she forges on with life putting beside what she went through.

Step 1: Problem identification

My friend, I prefer not mentioning her name, is a 24 year old working as a waitress in a hotel. From a normal look at her, you would not notice any burdens that she is carrying. It took me a long time of getting into contact with her since she is always the one serving me at the hotel. From my conversation with her, which was after I noticed there was something bothering her, she was able to elaborate every detail of the problems that she is going through. She was a victim of child abuse at a very tender. She was in a family that had domestic violence as daily bread. This really affected her as she was also involved since the father was a drunkard and would at times go home drunk and beat all of them including their mother and the younger sister. Her mother ran away at some point in her growth and this made the situation worse as she was now responsible for not only herself but also her little sister. Battering and a lot of child labor became a normal thing in her life till some point in her life when she decided to run away from home too. The same day she attempted to run away was the same day she got the misfortune of being raped and being further abused by some two men. She resulted to going back home the following day to the same harsh conditions she left. She had no one to tell about the occurrences that took place that fateful night. Some time later in her life after things got better, she noticed changes in her health and after seeking medical attention she was found to be infected with HIV/AIDS. She has struggled with the same till the day I interviewed her.

The situation is quite a complicated one and it is very hard to come up with a conclusion that will be aid to her. She is struggling with depression and it is the one thing I hope to find solutions to since the rest are irreversible. I also would love it if she finally forgives her father since in our conversation; she described the father as the root cause of all the problems that she is going through, which is true to some extent.

The problem has several perceptions and it can be tackled from a number of angles. I would describe it as a child abuse problem where the solution has to be though carefully since if some details are left out in solving the problem, the affected might remain the same and this would certainly affect her greatly.

Step 2: Alternatives

In my attempt to get a solution for this problem, I have come up with some alternatives which I will decide on the best one that I will choose and ensure that it bears enough fruits (Brown&Chandrasekaran, 2014).

The first alternative would be to forgive the father and forget that it all happened. This is of course a very tough decision for the young adult as a greater part of her growth was and will be affected since she was infected with a virus, which apparently has no cure. She was also denied the right to proper education since her father was never there for their good, but just to barter them and their mother ran away.

The second alternative would be to forward her case to the authorities and find out whether the perpetrators of her rape case can be brought to justice. On this issue, she explained that the she knew the people who raped her since they lived near their neighborhood. This would also pose some difficulties since she has no evidence.

The third alternative would be to move to a far away town where she cannot be able to see the people who were just watching as her life was destroyed. This would really help her in moving on with life but it would also prove difficult due to her little sister who was schooling near their home.

The fourth and final alternative would be to go to her father who is unwell at the moment and take care of him as she also tries to look for her mother. This seems to be related to the first alternative, but it is not: in this scenario, she must not have forgiven her parents. Also in the first solution, she can forgive the parents but forget even of the troubles that they are going through.

Step 3: advantages and disadvantages of alternatives

In the first alternative, there is the advantage of living in peace knowing that she has forgiven her father. This could save her from the possibility of being in a depression. The disadvantage however is that there is a possibility of her being affected more if she decides to let everything that her father did to her be carried by the wind.

On the second alternative, there is an advantage of having the perpetrators of her rape case being brought to justice for their wrong actions. The shortcoming that would follow this idea is the lack of evidence after they forward the case. The rapists would be released due to the lack of evidence and this would lead to the accuser living in fear of attack by the men again.

The third alternative will give her some peace of mind since she would not see the same old things that she was used to since she was a child and as she was being abused. The disadvantage to this move is the fact that her sister is still in senior school and she still has more than an year to complete her studies so she cannot move anytime soon.

The pros of the final shortcoming would be the guilt that the father would have on the event of having the daughter that she really mistreated being the one coming to his rescue in the very trying times of her life. The alternative however has the shortcoming of reflecting back the memories that she had been trying to avoid since she moved out of her father’s home.

Step 4: Solution

I will pick on two solutions. The first one is the first alternative where I will advice her to forgive and forget. This is worthwhile since she will acquire back her peace of mind and this will put her further from depression. Depression could also cause more diseases such as ulcers or even high blood pressure. I will convince her to buying this move through explaining to her the dangers that she would accrue if she continued thinking about avenging her father. This might be difficult but I will try through even citing examples of people who have perished due to depression and other related ailments.

The second alternative that I will choose will be the fourth alternative where I will encourage her to go back home and help her ailing father. As I said earlier, the guilt that her father will have will be enough punishment to him. By his father living for more years to her succeed will also be a wise move that would make him regret of his actions and live to tell the tale. I will impose this by explaining to her the benefits of helping her father like I have just explained. I will also explain to her how important it is for the father to get well so that he protect her smaller sister from incidents similar to those that happened to her. I will also support her personally by being there when she will be going back home. Through this, I also hope that she will also find it in herself to forgive her father.

Step 5: Evaluation

After I have ensured there is implementation of the alternatives, there is evaluation (Frensch&Funke, 2014). I will be visiting her on a weekly basis to ensure that everything is okay. I will also give her my contacts so that she can be informing me in case of any shortcomings that might be in their way as a family and also herself as an individual. What I tend to add at that later stage would be to ensure that she forgets everything that had happened to her in the past and this I would do through looking for better things to discuss other than her past life after she has settled with her family.

The above is all I can and I am willing to do as an individual. The rest is all upon her if she is willing to let go of the past and work on bettering her future. I cannot be able to alter all her decisions as far as how she feels about her father but I am hoping for the best.


Bardach, E., & Patashnik, E. M. (2015). A practical guide for policy analysis: The eightfold path to more effective problem solving. CQ press.

Brown, D. C., & Chandrasekaran, B. (2014). Design problem solving: knowledge structures and control strategies. Morgan Kaufmann.

Frensch, P. A., & Funke, J. (2014). Complex problem solving: The European perspective. Psychology Press.

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