Are the stresses in your life driving you to behaviors you know aren’t healthy, but you can’t seem to stop? Are there strong emotions inside you that you’d do anything to keep bottled up? Are the ways you’re coping with stress seem to work temporarily, but then they make your problems worse or less manageable? Do you feel certain there’s a better way, but you’re not sure what it is, or how to even begin the process of changing your habits?
Stress is unavoidable in life, and everyone deals with it in different ways, using coping mechanisms or coping skills. A coping mechanism is a tactic for responding to or managing stress. Coping mechanisms are typically conscious (unlike defense mechanisms, which are unconscious), and the stress can be environmental or internal. Over time, repeated coping mechanisms become coping patterns.
Learning how to cope with stress well is a skill, and often includes developing coping strategies for stress. Often, the same behavior can be either maladaptive or healthy, depending on the situation and on the individual. For example, deciding to stay in instead of going out with friends can be healthy or not, depending on if either decision is a tool to avoid unpleasant feelings. Sometimes the ways we cope with stress have deep roots that originate in childhood. In other cases, we build our own barricades of coping strategies and patterns in adulthood. In any case, being intentional about building healthy coping skills is beneficial for many of our clients.
At Take Root Therapy, we understand how tough it can be to change a habit, especially if that habit keeps us emotionally safe from feelings, memories, or stressors that are difficult. With our nonjudgmental, supportive, and clinically effective approach, we hope to tailor each therapeutic experience to the needs of the individual client, and help them determine which coping skills in their life are working, and which are hurting more than helping. Our hope is that, with intention and support, all of our clients can establish coping patterns and coping skills that allow them to manage their emotional landscapes, leaving them feeling more empowered.