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Bright IDEAS

About Bright IDEAS

Welcome to the Bright IDEAS Problem-Solving Skills Training program.

Bright IDEAS Process
For more than 20 years, our* work with mothers of childhood cancer patients has shown that learning how to successfully solve the many kinds of problems faced by families of a child with cancer helps to decrease stress and anxiety. Our results have been so positive that we’re now providing this training in several ways: through in-person visits with a trainer and on line. We are also inviting fathers, grandparents, other caregivers, and patients themselves to learn this skill.

Actually, learning how to be a good problem solver is a skill that you can use throughout life not only to cope with cancer but also to cope with ANY problem --- how to do your job better, how to run your household better, how to work with people in your family and community better. Many day-to-day life situations lend themselves to this careful, thoughtful problem solving strategy.

Good problem solving comes naturally to some people, but for most of us, it takes understanding the system and practice. Our program is designed to help your feel optimistic that you can solve the problems you face---this is the Bright in Bright IDEAS --- and the first step toward success. Then we help you learn the basic steps of problem solving itself, which spell the word IDEAS. I for Identify the problem, D for Define your options, E for Evaluate your options and pick the best option or solution for you, A for Act, that is try out the solution you picked, and S for See if it worked. If the outcome was as good as you hoped, then it’s time to move on to another problem. But, if the solution really wasn’t good enough, the program helps you try another solution from your list or think up a new solution entirely. Sometimes you have to try out two, three, or more plans until you’re satisfied that your problem has been solved.

Parents of children with cancer cannot avoid facing some challenging problems. However, effective problem-solving skills can help you feel that the problems are manageable and that you can find positive outcomes. These skills can also help give you a sense of being in control: a very important feeling to have when you are overwhelmed by your child’s cancer.

Again, welcome to the Bright IDEAS Problem-Solving Skills Training program.

*Bright IDEAS was developed by a group of childhood cancer specialists from some of the top childhood cancer centers:

  • Martha A. Askins, PhD, UT/MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Robert W. Butler, PhD, Oregon Health Sciences University
  • Donna R. Copeland, PhD, UT/MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Michael J. Dolgin, PhD, Ariel University, Israel
  • Diane L. Fairclough, DrPH, University of Colorado Denver
  • Ernest R. Katz, PhD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Raymond K. Mulhern, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Robert B. Noll, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Sean Phipps, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Olle Jane Z. Sahler, MD, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • James W. Varni, PhD, Texas A&M University