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The Art and Science of Effectively Managing Problems

The Art and Science of Effectively Managing Problems
(24 Common Patterns in Managing Problems).

Life is full of difficulties and problems. How we identify and respond to them can strengthening and enrich us or burden us with unnecessary pain and suffering. As we are born not knowing anything about problems we need both to learn how to identify them and to know how best to respond to them. This is all the more challenging as there are many different types of problems and a successful response to one of them could, if applied to another one, make things worse.

All that we call difficulties, limitations and problems are different kinds of life problems each requiring a different type of intervention. There is not a single panacea, one fix for everything.


Paul Watzlawick has described one situation where “the problem is a solution”. This is where in an inappropriate solution or poorly executed solution can create new problems. This danger of well meaning but poor intervention creating new problems or compounding existing problems is not the only way that we can mismanage problems, there are many others. One other common situation, one where we could say “the problem is the problem”, this is where the problem is poorly formulated in the first place never any attempted solution based on it will be a waste the time or again potentially make things worse. Another common situation is where there is a problem but it is not recognised or is ignored, we could say that “nothing IS the problem”.


All of these examples demonstrate how complex and challenging it is to successfully manage problems. They are all examples from 24 different patterns that we use to mismanage problems that John McWhirter has identified through 30 years of working to help people manage problem better.. They are the same 24 different patterns that we use when effectively managing problems.

If we understand how these different patterns work and use them appropriately we can avoid the negative possibilities create effective responses, manage problem better and enhance our quality of life. To be most effective we need to:

  • Recognise that there is a problem.
  • Identify accurately what kind of problem it is.
  • Know how to effectively respond to each kind of problem.
  • Apply the appropriate response effectively.

John McWhirter, Creator of Developmental Behavioural Modelling (DBM®)

John McWhirter has been modeling how we manage problems for over 30 years and this has been integrated into his creative modeling with his work as a therapist, teacher and consultant together with extensive research and study including systems theory, communication theory, and information theory creating the field of Developmental Behavioural Modelling (DBM®).

The 24 patterns have been identified through Developmental Behavioural Modelling (DBM).

In this workshop John will introduce 24 common types of response to problem situations all of which are useful sometimes and of which can make things worse if inappropriately applied. Participants will learn how to identify each of the 24 patterns, learn what is appropriate and not appropriate for different problems, how to effectively apply each of the patterns, and learn how to help people change from an inappropriate to the appropriate pattern.

In the workshop a number of additional DBM distinctions, models and skills will be introduced to support and extend the ability of participants to work effectively with the 24 patterns.


Developmental Behavioural Modelling  (DBM®)

All of us build our understanding of the world around us based on our experience. We continue to create and change this understanding throughout our lives. We call this understanding that each of us creates our ‘model’ of the world. By a model we mean “an organised dynamic representation of our world”. We do not respond to the world as it is. We respond to how we have made sense of it, how it is “meaningful” to us. We then respond to new things based on what we already “know”. Instincts build in responses for animals but human beings need to learn how to respond in our cultures, organisations, countries and families. This learning, the building of a model, is a process of Modelling. All our cognition and all our emotions are based on our understanding of reality, on our models of the world.

We build and use models; our clients build and use models. As professional we are more likely to build formal models (including theories) to extend our informal or “naturalistic” modelling. Both informal understanding and the formal understanding of science are models (and theories) built through the process of modelling. No matter what the epistemology underlying a theory both the epistemology and the theory require to be created in the first place.

Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM is the formal studying of the complete range of modelling. This includes the structure and function of models, how models are formally and informally constructed and applied. DBM® offers a practical and verifiable set of distinctions, models and processes for identifying HOW we communicate, HOW learn and improve our communication.



The Training

This training is NOT about simplistic tricks and “quick fixes“. The workshop IS about developing a deeper understanding, an increased sensitivity, and more effective approaches to managing life problems.

The training uses a combination experiential learning, and direct instruction within a caring and protective environment. Openness and willingness to explore and share experiences with others is a pre-requisite for all involved and will used to both create and test the new understanding and skills in managing life problems.

Core Syllabus:

  • 24 Common Patterns of responding to Problems
  • Difficulties, Problems, Limitations
  • Resolving, Solving and Dissolving
  • DBM® Creative Modelling
  • DBM® Analogue, Digital and Differential Information Model.
  • Sensory sensitivity and how to develop sensory skills.
  • DBM® Sensory Experience, Meaning, Significance Model.
  • DBM® Input, Relate, Compute, Output Model.
  • DBM® Transitions Fiction, False Facts, Fallacies, Faults Model.
  • DBM® Types of Distinction.
  • DBM® Managing Labels.
  • DBM® Types of Nothing.
  • DBM® Types of Feeling.
  • DBM® Types of Thinking.
  • DBM® Types of Doing.
  • DBM® Subjective, Objective, Contextual Modelling


Key Background Distinctions and Models

  • DBM® Natural Modelling, Mythical, Metaphoric, Magical, Formal Modelling
  • Causal and Transitional Modelling
  • DBM® Fractal Modelling
  • DBM® Self Management Model
  • DBM® Consultancy Model
  • (Integration of Advising, Counselling, Therapy, Consulting, Teaching, Training and Coaching)
  • DBM® Knowledge Trees
  • DBM® Motivation and Attainment Model
  • DBM® Field Model
  • DBM® Transitions Model
  • DBM® Twelve Patterns of Change
  • DBM® Three models of Change
  • DBM® Seven Types of Change
  • DBM® Processing Preferences
  • DBM® Systemic Leadership Model
  • DBM® Seven Types of Transitions
  • DBM® Five Stages of Transitions
  • DBM® Managing Grid
  • DBM® Subjective, Objective, Context Model
  • DBM® Evaluation Model
  • DBM® Coaching D.A.N.C.E. Model