How To Problem-Solve With An Algorithm: Psychology And This Approach

By Gabrielle Seunagal |Updated February 1, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

The ability to solve problems is a very critical life skill. Like it or not, life isn't always easy; complications will inevitably arise, and when they do, it is always wise to be prepared. Now, problems can vary from situation to situation; problems also vary in nature. Sometimes solutions are quite easy to come upon; in other cases, it requires a bit more strategy and contemplation to solve a problem.

This is where the algorithm problem-solving enters the equation. Did you know that this is a very real psychological approach? The more you understand about problem-solving with an algorithm, the more natural and sensible it becomes. Of course, the only way to understand the psychological approach of solving problems with algorithms is to thoroughly review the matter.

A Full Overview Of Problem-Solving With An Algorithm

One of the most important things to remember about algorithms is the methodology. Put simply, an algorithm is merely a series of chronological protocols which lead to a solution for a problem. This sounds fairly simple, but there can be many variables which impact or change the protocols within an algorithm. Certain algorithms have multiples paths to the desired solutions, while others are very straight and narrow.

How Do Algorithms Help To Solve Problems?

The step-by-step instructions which inherently comprise algorithms are what helps people solve problems. In a nutshell, an algorithm is a formula which is designed to reach a solution. Some algorithms are complicated, while others are simple and fairly easy to get an understanding of. Believe it or not, algorithms are very present in our day-to-day lives. If you use technology, there are a series of algorithms in place to ensure that your products work efficiently. When troubleshooting errors arise, there are additional algorithms which exist for problem-solving.

Reviewing The Pros And Cons Of Problem-Solving With Algorithms

There are two sides to every story. It goes without saying that algorithms are very well-documented tools of problem-solving which have stood the test of time. However, to understand the psychological aspects of this approach, both the benefits and drawbacks of algorithms should be reviewed. This provides a full look at the grand scheme of things.

Straight And Narrow

As a problem-solving technique, algorithms are very straight and narrow. This means that if you're looking to solve a problem which is very analytical in nature, then an algorithm will likely prove to be the most appropriate path to a solution. Stability, proof, and predictability are the parts of algorithms which make algorithms amazing tools.

Prior Knowledge

The nature of algorithms can vary, depending upon the problem which needs to be solved. In certain cases, this means that prior knowledge in various areas is necessary for someone to understand a particular algorithm and all that it entails. Problem-solving with an algorithm is all well and good, but the person who is attempting to employ this approach needs to know what they're working with.

Step-By-Step Protocols

As previously noted, algorithms are comprised of step-by-step protocols which must be followed in chronological order. In many cases, this is an asset because it often prevents people from making additional mistakes or otherwise worsening an already bad problem. Some people thrive when they have multiple options, but others do well with algorithms, due to their inherently analytical nature.

Can Algorithms Solve All Problems In Psychology?

The psychological approach to problem-solving via algorithms is undeniable. However, it does raise questions about whether or not algorithms are the most suitable solutions for finding solutions to all problems within the psychological realm.

In a nutshell, the answer is no. This doesn't take away from the effectiveness of algorithms. This doesn't mean that people should not employ algorithms to solve the appropriate problems. However, there are many situations, particularly in the psychological realm where a chronological step-by-step series of protocols is not feasible. For as great as algorithms may be, knowing when to use them and when to employ other means of problem-solving is paramount.

The Existence Of Variables

In the psychological field, the existence of variables is something which must be noted and accounted for. This is one of the reasons why algorithms cannot be used to solve every problem. Take, for instance, someone who is experiencing depression and looking for a way to feel better and improve their life. In this situation, it would be unrealistic to simply throw someone a formula and tell them to follow each step to feeling good again. That's simply not how mental and emotional health works.

In a case like this, the patient would need to work with a therapist who would help them get to the bottom of their depression. There are so many causes which can trigger depression, whether it's a death in the family, a loss of employment, or even an unresolved issue from childhood. Before someone can even begin to feel better and achieve the solution to their problem, they would first need to get to the bottom of the underlying issue.

Problems In Interpersonal Relationships

Yet another area where algorithms tend to fall short is in cases of problems in interpersonal relationships. There are many problems which arise because two people are unable to get along or see eye-to-eye on various matters. Similarly to the individual who may be going through depression, simply handing an algorithm to the people who aren't getting along would not solve the problem. As a matter of fact, it might only further exacerbate both parties. This is an additional example of a problem which can't be solved with an algorithm.

A Word On Problem-Solving As A Whole

In psychology and other areas of life, there will always be various problems which arise. Problems can be generated by misunderstandings, differences in perceptions, unresolved issues from the past, and so much more. Sometimes problems are surface-level issues, while others require a little more digging to get to the bottom of them, and that's OK.

Understanding algorithms is great, and knowing when to use them is even more awesome. There are situations where algorithms are the best path to a solution; being cognizant of this is just as important as knowing when other methods are best used. Problems can be very complicated, and we might stumble as we attempt to find the right solutions. The key is to keep going and not allow the problem to spiral out of control.

You Don't Have To Do It Alone

Unfortunately, there are a series of misconceptions which involve problems and how people should go about solving them. Many individuals have been led to believe that if an issue arises, they're on their own and have to face it alone. In reality, this is simply not true, nor is it healthy.

There will always be challenges and obstacles in life; however, resources and guidance will also be available to those who are open and receptive to it. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. There's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion, confiding in other people and getting different outlooks. This can be helpful, and in many cases, not attempting to go at it alone can make solutions more apparent and easier to carry out.

Countless studies have affirmed the benefits of having a reliable support system. When you have people in your corner who care about you and have your best interests at heart, it provides a sense of peace. A support system also gives you a healthy network which can help you learn, grow, and evolve as a human being.

Working With A Mental Health Specialist

Did you know that one of the best people to have in your support system is a counselor or therapist? No matter who you are, what you may have gone through, or what your situation is, a mental health specialist can be of value to you. Now, many people may have questions or reservations about working with a therapist. Sometimes, people wonder whether or not they'll be judged. Others have anxiety about opening up to a stranger who they have yet to know.

One of the most important things to understand about therapy is that there's not judgement. Any counselor or specialist that you work with is only concerned with helping you. However, for this to happen, conversations about tough topics will need to happen. In the long run, you appreciate this because it'll help you live a better and more satisfying life.

Here at BetterHelp, we have a great team of therapists who would be more than thrilled to work with you. No matter what problems you may be faced with, you're not alone and you can get through this. If this sounds interesting to you and if you'd like to take the next step towards improving your life, then you're in luck.

You can contact BetterHelp at any time and from anywhere simply by clicking here.

 

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