What is CPS®?

Collaborative Problem Solving® Explained

Kids lack skill not will

The Collaborative Problem Solving® approach is a trauma-informed, strength-based, neurobiologically- grounded model that starts with the philosophy that all kids want to do well and will do well if they can—that kids lack skill, not will.

Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS) approach by Think:Kids, is a program based in the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.

CPS® addresses challenging behavior while building skills for success. Additional resources can be found at Think:Kids.

Challenging behavior is linked with deficits in areas of neurocognitive skill such as social cognition, attention and working memory, emotion and self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, and executive functioning. To help students manage their behavior, interventions should focus less on rewards and consequences and more on building skills. CPS® helps adults shift their mindset from the view that kids do well if they want to and instead the view that kids do well if they can.

The CPS® approach is designed to support children and adolescents (as well as adults) at home, in schools, foster care and therapeutic/residential settings.

What does CPS look like?

These results have been reported for children who have completed The Collaborative Problem Solving® Program

Reported Results: Home-based Services

Significant reduction in parents’ stress

Significant improvement in children’s executive functioning skills

ADHD and ODD symptoms decreased significantly post-treatment

Significant improvement in parent-child interactions


of pediatricians noted much/very much improvement at 6 month follow up


average reduction in use of seclusions


of children exhibited improved behavior


fewer self-inflicted injuries

Reported Results: School-based Services


reduction in school office referrals


increase in student attendance


reduction in oppositional behaviors during school


of teachers reported less stress

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The parents of St. James Preschool were so lucky to learn from Maria’s thoughtful and candid presentation. It was filled with real world examples that provided tangible tools for more peaceful relationships with our young children.

Parent and School Board Member, St. James Preschool

As a member of our school’s leadership team in charge of community building, I am delighted to say that Maria’s presentation was well received by the school community. Maria Sanders gave me the insight to connect with my children on a deeper level and encouraged me to look beneath the surface at the root cause of some of the unique challenges we face as parents. Having two children with very different personalities, I feel refreshed and motivated to continue strengthening the bonds between the whole family and coming up with solutions that work for everyone. Her talks a must listen for parents of children of all ages. I also found some of the tools I learned to carry over to everyday life and connecting with one’s spouse.

Union Congregational Nursery School, Leadership team

Maria Sanders delivered an informative and insightful workshop to Guggenheim staff members with children between ages 2-14. Maria is a gifted facilitator who can create and deliver excellent content while also being sensitive to the emotions of her audience. The Q&A session was particularly well received as she addressed individual questions with concrete, specific tips that were beneficial for all. I highly recommend Maria and would love to have her return!

Laurie Davis
Talent Acquisitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation

Maria generously agreed to present to New York University’s Administrative Management Council on Parenting Essentials: Strategies to Support Us During COVID. During a time when employees are very stressed trying to work full time and teach and parent full time, Maria brought a sense of grounding and practical advice. What particularly resonated with me was her slide called “A Child’s Behavior is an Iceberg.” This made me think about my behavior toward my child and how I needed to be more patient and also to take care of myself. I highly recommend Maria!

Kristi Schwindt Ramos
New York University, Graduate School of Arts & Science

As a busy pediatrician I am so thankful to have Maria’s help with the myriad parenting issues that arise for our families and their children. Her conscious parenting techniques have helped parents of toddlers to teens in my practice. I continue to recommend her kind, calm and brilliant care to patients and friends alike. I find her immediately able to connect with so many different types of parents – first time parents, parents of multiples, Spanish speaking parents, parents of children with delays and those of anxious over-achievers. She has a true gift. I am grateful to say that she has even helped me with my own kids along the way and has made me a better and more conscious parent.

M Thomas, MD, FAAP Pediatrician
NuHeights Pediatrics Medical Director, Armada Health

Thank you so much for giving us the right tools to help us be the parents that are able to help our children thrive, and aid us in raising our girls to be happy well-adjusted kids. From the first few minutes of our first phone call to the last, Maria stepped right in asking the right questions that addressed the issues head-on and guided me to think of the solutions and steps necessary to get the results I envisioned. Not only did Maria help with my concerns about parenting, but she helped to self reflect on my life to better every aspect of it. She was flexible with her schedule, always available for us, trustworthy, dependable and more importantly, she regularly encouraged us that we were doing the right thing for our daughter and for our family.

Mom of Two
Montral, Canada

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