Q: If your week has already been immensely tumultuous added with an accumulation of a triggering session for the day, what are other ways to deescalate failed attempts of coping skills that were previously working?

A: Thank you so much for reaching out! Sorry to hear you’re having a rough week! Sometimes we need to refresh our coping skills toolbox when we find that they aren’t effective in certain situations. That said, creating a list of coping options could be helpful for you. There are a few different categories of coping skills: 

  1. Cognitive (thinking skills)
  2. Mindfulness (body awareness, yoga, etc.)
  3. Outreach (leaning on your support system)
  4. Emotional Expression (finding creative ways to express your feelings in healthy ways)
  5. Spirituality (prayer, meditation)
  6. Distraction (watching tv, reading a book, etc.). 

If any of those categories resonate with you, I recommend connecting with your therapist to dig deeper into learning and applying those skills during tough times. 

Also, you mentioned that your last session was triggering. If you haven’t mentioned that to your therapist, that’s important information for them to have so that they can help you through those sessions and set you up with a plan in terms of what to do when you leave a particularly intense session. 

I hope that this helps! 


Emily Simonian, M.A., LMFT