Coping Skills – A Red Flag or Where Did I Put My Therapist

     When people start to lose their power and feel helpless or hopeless, they start to develop coping skills. These skills can look like anxiety, depression, OCD  (obsessive compulsive disorder) or other mental health diagnoses. They can look like addictions such as to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or shopping. These coping skills may be predisposed through in inheritance or learned from one parent or the other.  For instance, one is more apt to use anxiety as a coping skill if one’s parent was particularly anxious. Or if your father was an alcoholic,  you may be more predisposed to use drinking to cope with life’s challenges.

When someone experiences relief from Gentle Reprocessing or some other form of psychotherapy, a client feels he or she has regained his or her power and no longer need to use a coping skill for the time being. If clients feel they need to use a coping skill again, it is not necessarily because the therapy did not work, but because another stressor has come up to bring out this go to behavior. the new stressor may trigger the echo of the old stressor.

If a clients find themselves using their coping skills around a challenging incident for longer than a couple months, they are now stuck in an unproductive coping loop. This is a strong sign it is time to seek help to release the feelings around the challenging event. As the old saying goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.” Clients who seek professional help when something first starts to bother them, will let go of the problem quicker and more easily that the client who waits longer. So if one finds they are using coping skills to get through life, that is a red flag that they need help releasing the emotions around the challenges that are keeping them stuck and taking away their power.

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