Since the 1970s direct social work practice has been characterised largely by problem solving methods. In fact it could be argued that problem solving has become the predominant social work method. More recently, however, problem solving approaches have been questioned as blaming, negative and labelling. It is argued that direct practice should be strengths-based, solution focused and concentrated on positives. This article considers the place of problem solving in direct social work practice and argues that the interests of our clients would best be served by building on problem solving approaches rather than casting them aside.