Coping Skills

Making changes is hard, especially when those changes involve behaviors that have been used over a long period of time to cope with emotional stress. I find myself at a point in my life where I have had to take a serious assessment of my own coping strategies and am in the process of trying to learn new ones and stop old ones. I understand what I need and want to do differently, but when the moment of stress occurs my brain wants me to do what has worked in the past.

Over my career in human services, a big part of the behavioral services I’ve provided to people served have been around helping them learn new coping skills. It took a while for me to understand that this process is much like my own but often more difficult because of the disabilities and trauma that people had experienced. I can’t even begin to count the times that I’ve heard staff say things to individuals like, “Why do you do that when you know it’s just going get you in trouble or hurt?”, because sometimes we forget how difficult making those changes can be for all of us. 

In The Mandt System, when teaching crisis prevention intervention and de-escalation training, we understand this includes helping people discover and learn new coping skills that are safer and more functional when they experience emotional stress. This is why when teaching conflict resolution activities we talk about perceptions and the need to try and see things from the other person’s point a view and after incidents to process and debrief to help the person discover new ways of dealing with emotional stress.

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty

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