CSS/Our Re-Conceptualized Framework to Problem-Solving

What is CSS®?


CSS® stands for the Cultivating SEEDS System Framework. In turn, SEEDS is an acronym for Social Emotional Education in Diverse Settings.


CSS® is an organizing framework that gives context, order and meaning to information obtained about a client’s background. The framework uses social emotional competencies and the social determinants of a person’s life course to explain human behavior. It also identifies the culturally responsive approach-the RUMERTIME Process to influence and transform lives and communities.

Features of the CSS Framework


  1. Research Based: The CSS framework is built on multiple evidence-based human growth and development theories as well as evidence-based therapeutic theories and techniques.


  1. Evidence Informed: The author incorporated research evidence, stakeholder needs, cultural competencies, values, preferences, practitioner wisdom, and theory into the development of the CSS™framework.


  1. Innovative: The CSS framework uses agricultural metaphors to educate, demystify, de-stigmatize, and re-conceptualize mental health concepts as they relate to the inevitable life challenges associated with self, others, and situations both locally and globally.


  1. Relatable: Agriculture is a universal, unbiased construct, and everywhere across the globe elements of the natural plant world exist.


  1. Easy to teach: Facilitators teaching the CSS framework are not required to have a formal college education. Many of the activities included in the framework offer the facilitator the opportunity to use materials indigenous to their culture and setting. However, facilitators need to complete an official CSS framework training course.


  1. Easy to learn: Concepts in the CSS framework are developmentally appropriate and strongly linked to the plant world, making the concepts both practical and easy to learn, not only for the intended audience but also for any unintended audiences.


  1. Adaptable: The CSS framework is accessible, generalizable, and flexible. It was designed to be easily modified to fit diverse settings, needs, ethnocultural groups, time, ages, and resource levels.


  1. Scalable: Facilitators and learners engaging with the CSS framework can have diverse levels of educational attainment as well as a wide range of life experiences.


  1. Culturally responsive: Ecological systems theory and narrative therapy are two of the multiple theories on which the CSS framework is built. This foundation ensures that rudimentary components including voice, beliefs, culture, and experiences of individuals are reflected in the learning and teaching of the CSS framework.


  1. Engaging and active: The activities included in the learning modules actively engage multiple intelligences. Furthermore, the learning modules are delivered in multiple modalities, such as individual, small group, large group, classroom, workshop, advisory, and other modalities using active learning principles.


  1. Comprehensive: “As air is to life, so are social-emotional skills to relationships.” Social-emotional competencies are like the air we breathe.


  1. Integrated: The CSS® framework is thoughtfully designed to be easily integrated into any setting where relationships are fundamental to success in family life, school life, work life and community life.

The Goals of the CSS® Framework


  1. To increase access to the de-stigmatized and de-mystified problem-solving strategy-the RUMERTIME ® Process so that individuals in diverse settings locally and globally can become conscious problem solvers and empowered life coaches as they acquire healthy social-emotional MARKERS™


  1. To educate, equip and empower individuals to effectively use social emotional competencies as they renew their minds, transform their lives and create safer communities.

The Components of the CSS® Framework

The CSS® Framework is comprised of six components and uses an agricultural metaphor to reconceptualize the promotion, practice and intervention of mental health


  1. Six theories
  2. Social emotional competencies
  3. Social determinants
  4. Triadic principles of social-emotional wellness(body/mind/spirit)
  5. Levels of engagement
  6. RUMERTIME® Process (the prevention/intervention strategy)

Each component works synergistically to create what we propose as a re-conceptualized approach to global mental health promotion, practice, and intervention.

Six Theories


The CSS® Framework is built on six well-established principles:


  1. Ecological Systems Theory
  2. Erikson’s eight-stage Psychosocial Life Span Development Model
  3. Strengths-Based Approach
  4. Social Learning Theory
  5. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  6. Problem-Solving Therapy


The first four of these theories share some conceptual similarities that transcend theoretical bounds – they explain and conceptualize human behavior as occurring within and across social contexts.

The last two theories are cognitive behavior therapy and problem-solving therapy.  These two approaches are widely used across settings and many of the techniques are scalable thus creating accessibility. They both focus on changing unhelpful patterns in cognition (thoughts and attitudes), behaviors and emotions so that the individual can develop personal coping strategies to solve current problems.

Agricultural Metaphor


The CSS® Framework is based on an agricultural metaphor – SEEDS, Social Emotional Education in Diverse Settings. SEEDS corresponds to the five core social emotional competencies. For example, the soil and essential growth elements in the plant world are the metaphorical equivalent of the social determinants of human development.


Here’s an excerpt of the table of the working definitions of the CSS™ Framework.


Soil The environments in which an individual is born, grows, lives, works, learns, and plays. They are made up of influences on every aspect of a person’s life.
Essential Growth Elements Positive influences such as self, peers, government, home, school, work, community, media, and culture are needed to foster and promote growth. Optimal balance of these (influences or) elements results in healthy growth and development. Unfavorable balance of these elements leads to inadequate growth and production.

Social Emotional Competence

Social emotional competence is a person’s ability to Recognize, Understand, Manage, Express and Reflect upon the social and emotional aspects of their life in ways that enable them to successfully relate to themselves, and others. Being socially emotionally competent helps people to effectively navigate through life and its challenges, found in living, learning, working and loving.

Social Emotional Skills

There are five core social emotional competencies that the CSS® framework utilizes: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management and Responsible Decision-Making Skills.

Social Determinants

The social determinants of mental health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. These include the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life such as economic policies, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.

Positive social determinants are necessary for developing social-emotional competencies. Many common mental health disorders have risk factors that are strongly associated with various social inequalities.

Levels of Engagement

The level of engagement refers to the “who” of the CSS® framework – the client. The individual, the family, the school, diverse work settings or the community – all of these can be the client. The person delivering the intervention engages with the client and operationalizes the CSS® goals, all at the appropriate level.


The RUMERTIME® Process is a five-step social-emotional, problem-solving process that helps individuals move from a position of intra- and interpersonal imbalance to balance; and from unconscious living to conscious living.

Learn more about training for the RUMERTIME™ Process

Get Our Updates

Subscribe to our mailing list and get updates delivered directly to your email inbox.

Thanks so much. Check your inbox for an email confirmation. You may also want to check your junk/spam folder in case.

Sorry, something went wrong.

We respect your privacy and won't send you SPAM or share your contact details. Checkout our privacy policy to learn how we protect and manage your submitted data!