Coping Cards

Coping Cards can aid clients in managing distressing emotions. Explore examples, download a free sample, and learn how to integrate them into therapy effectively.

By Olivia Sayson on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

Use Template

What are Coping Cards?

Coping Cards are small, portable cards that individuals can carry to provide immediate support during distress. They typically include helpful coping statements, grounding techniques, positive affirmations, and reminders of healthy coping skills.

Coping Cards are most beneficial during moments of heightened stress, anxiety, or emotional distress. They serve as immediate sources of support and guidance, offering individuals practical tools to manage their emotions effectively. Here are some specific instances when coping cards can be particularly useful:

  1. During anxiety or panic attacks: Coping Cards provide individuals with strategies to cope with the intense physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks. They offer grounding techniques and calming affirmations to help individuals regain control and stability.
  2. In Response to triggers or stressful situations: Coping Cards can be used proactively to prepare for and navigate specific triggers or stressful situations. By identifying potential triggers and developing coping strategies in advance, individuals can feel more equipped to handle challenging circumstances when they arise.
  3. As part of a daily coping routine: Incorporating Coping Cards into a daily routine can help individuals build resilience and reinforce healthy coping habits over time. By regularly reviewing and practicing the coping skills outlined on the cards, individuals can cultivate greater emotional well-being and self-awareness.
  4. When experiencing suicidal crises: Coping Cards can be a valuable resource for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts or crises. They can contain reminders of reasons for living, coping strategies for managing suicidal urges, and emergency contact information for mental health professionals or support services.

Printable Coping Cards

Download this Coping Cards to assist individuals in managing distressing emotions effectively.

What to include in Coping Cards for anxiety and panic attacks?

These cards are personalized to the individual's needs and preferences, often containing a combination of the following elements:

  1. Helpful coping statements: Coping Cards include affirmations or statements that offer comfort, reassurance, and encouragement during moments of distress. These statements are carefully crafted to resonate with the individual and provide a sense of empowerment.
  2. Grounding techniques: Incorporating grounding techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or sensory awareness exercises, can help individuals stay present and connected to reality during heightened anxiety or stress.
  3. Positive affirmations: Coping Cards often feature positive affirmations to foster self-esteem, self-confidence, and resilience. These affirmations serve to counteract negative self-talk and promote a more positive self-perception.
  4. Reminders of healthy coping skills: Coping Cards may include reminders of specific coping skills and strategies that have proven effective for the individual in managing their emotions. These could include journaling, engaging in hobbies, seeking social support, or practicing mindfulness.

How to Use Coping Cards in therapy?

Coping Cards can help therapists empower clients to manage distressing emotions and situations. Here are steps on how to use it effectively:

Step 1: Introduce Coping Cards to your clients

Begin by explaining the purpose of Coping Cards to your clients. Emphasize that coping cards are tools designed to provide immediate support during distress or emotional turmoil. Highlight the importance of personalized coping strategies in managing difficult emotions and situations effectively.

Step 2: Collaboratively select coping strategies

Engage your clients in a collaborative discussion to identify coping strategies that resonate with them and are relevant to their individual needs and challenges. Encourage them to choose strategies they feel comfortable implementing that align with their coping style and preferences.

Step 3: Encourage regular reflection

Encourage your clients to regularly reflect on their coping experiences and the effectiveness of their coping strategies. Discuss what coping strategies worked well, how they felt after using them, and any insights or observations they may have gained from the experience.

Step 4: Foster coping skills integration

Encourage your clients to integrate coping skills learned through Coping Cards into their daily lives. Discuss strategies for incorporating coping techniques into their routine activities and encourage them to practice self-care and self-compassion regularly.

Step 5: Provide ongoing support and guidance

Offer ongoing support and guidance to your clients as they navigate their coping journey. Be available to address any questions or concerns and provide encouragement and validation as they build resilience and manage their emotions effectively.

Step 6: Foster a safe and supportive environment

Create a safe and supportive therapeutic environment where clients feel comfortable exploring their emotions and practicing coping techniques. Foster open communication, empathy, and trust to facilitate meaningful therapeutic growth and healing.

Coping Cards (sample) example

We've developed a Coping Cards Template to assist you in managing stress and anxiety effectively. This sample offers guidance on how to implement coping mechanisms. Fill out the reflection section of the template. You can look at the example below or download it as a PDF for easy reference and utilization during challenging times.

Download our free Coping Cards today!

Coping Cards (sample) example

Benefits of using Coping Cards

Coping cards can assist individuals in managing distressing emotions effectively. Here are the benefits of Coping Cards during therapy:

  • Provides immediate support during moments of distress: Coping Cards offer quick access to coping strategies and techniques, providing individuals with immediate backing during heightened stress or emotional distress. Having tangible reminders readily available can help individuals navigate challenging situations more effectively and alleviate symptoms of anxiety or panic.
  • Promotes self-awareness and self-regulation: Coping Cards promote self-awareness and self-regulation by encouraging individuals to reflect on their emotions and coping mechanisms. Through the process of creating and using Coping Cards, individuals gain insights into their triggers, emotions, and coping strategies, empowering them to manage their mental health more effectively.
  • Encourages healthy coping skills: Coping Cards are practical tools for practicing and reinforcing healthy coping skills. They provide individuals with a structured framework for implementing coping strategies such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, or positive affirmations. Regular use of Coping Cards fosters the development of adaptive coping mechanisms and reduces reliance on maladaptive coping strategies.
  • Enhances feelings of empowerment and control over emotions: Utilizing a Coping Card can enhance feelings of empowerment and control over distressing emotions. By equipping individuals with personalized coping statements, strategies and affirmations, coping cards empower them to manage their mental health and confidently navigate challenges proactively. This sense of control can contribute to improved emotional well-being and resilience.
Who can benefit from Coping Cards?
Who can benefit from Coping Cards?

Commonly asked questions

Who can benefit from Coping Cards?

Coping cards can benefit individuals experiencing various mental health challenges, including anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, PTSD, and other stress-related conditions. They are suitable for individuals of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults.

What are Some Coping Statements?

Coping statements are affirmations or phrases individuals can use to manage distressing emotions and challenging situations. Examples include "This too shall pass," "I am capable of handling this," and "I am safe and in control."

What are Coping Cards in CBT?

In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), coping cards are a practical tool to help individuals challenge negative thoughts, manage emotions, and develop healthier coping strategies. They serve as a reminder of cognitive restructuring techniques taught in therapy sessions.

Join 10,000+ teams using Carepatron to be more productive

One app for all your healthcare work