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What's a Coping Skill?

You may hear that phrase a lot in counseling. So what is a coping skill? To simplify, a coping skill is a tool you learn that can be implemented to help you when you need it. Coping skills come in different forms and techniques. I tend to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in my coping skills which has been shown through research to be highly effective. So what are some examples?

- Muscle Relaxation

-Thought Stopping

- Guided Imagery

- Cognitive Reframe & Restructuring

- Deep Breathing

- Acts of Self Care

- Faith Based Acts

- Journaling and Thought Records

- Mindfulness

Through these techniques you can learn how to deescalate emotional triggers that may lead to anxiety, depression, anger etc. and instead provide more emotion regulation for yourself. These coping skills can be used with kids and adults. When working with kids, I often simplify the steps or make it an art or game for them to practice using the skills. The goal is for you to learn and practice in session and then take with you so you have your own resources. I explain this sometimes as building you a toolbox. I want you to have as many "tools" (aka coping skills) as possible so when you need them all you have to do is go into your box and pick one to try. Coping skills do take work and practice. However, research shows that they are highly effective and with continued use can re-wire how your brain fires around emotional triggers. How cool is that!

In the coming weeks, I plan to take some of the coping skills I listed and go over in more detail. Each one provides unique benefits. I look forward to sharing more with you soon!


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