Coping skills in therapy are conscious, voluntary thoughts or actions used to deal with stressful situations. You might hear them referred to as coping styles or coping mechanisms.
People develop positive and negative coping skills throughout their lives. Negative coping skills are ultimately self-destructive, as they are typically ways an individual avoids or minimizes the problem, usually while causing further stress and self-sabotage.
Positive coping skills empower the individual to identify, examine, and work towards solving or relieving the problem.
Coping skills learned in therapy are positive means of facing stressful internal and external stimuli and adjusting our responses to their effects.
Ideally, these coping strategies replace unhealthy, problem-compounding coping mechanisms while aiding the patient's efforts to identify and alleviate the source of the stress or anxiety.
Through therapeutic methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), role-playing, and mindfulness practice, therapists can guide clients in building confidence, resourcefulness, and resilience in the face of adversity.