The Use of a Coping Mechanism

This is by far one of the most critical elements of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapeutic approach.  
 It is often where I spend a good deal of time getting someone to focus their attention for the first few sessions as well as subsequent sessions after the fact since our minds will ALWAYS latch on so something that works and look to scale it up, no matter the cost.

I have a video coming out soon which will look at a ways to detect this behavioral pattern (of using a coping skill to the point it no longer works).  By taking some time to learn was to see this underlying automatic process, it will become easier to “pivot” away from this natural human tendency to avoid towards a focus on values which often is a reminder or compass, if you will, to keep us on track for a more meaningful, healthy, and happy life regardless of what is happening in the moment.  There is also a broader and shorter overview of this tool to be found here as well. 

This is useful for a wide variety of challenges, from dealing with covid-19, political volatility, and chronic illness not to mention anxiety and depression. 

Quick action:  Take a look at activities you do when you are dealing with something difficult.  See how often you try to use the response you use, then take a moment to notice whether or not, when you are done with this action, if you fall right back into the distressing thought or memory.  If you do, then the coping mechanism, while still somewhat useful, will not be enough.

What does one do instead?  

Look into some of the topics dealing with acceptance along with being more fully present (again, mindfulness is key here).

Wishing you the best,


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