Coping cards

Coping Cards

Coping cards are a technique frequently employed in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), particularly following J. Beck's coping cards technique. In CBT, one crucial aspect involves identifying negative automatic thoughts and generating alternative, more balanced thoughts. Coping cards serve as a tool that encompasses common negative automatic thoughts for the client, promoting self-awareness and providing reminders of alternative, more balanced thoughts. The primary purpose is to offer a swift transition from automatic negative thoughts to more positive ones, or to facilitate various quick activities like cultivating new habits.

These cards have been meticulously designed with the specific challenges clients encounter in mind, offering a structured, evidence-based approach for addressing the concerns they face. CBT Coping Cards prove to be a convenient and practical resource, equipping you with a pre-made set of coping strategies that seamlessly integrate into daily routines. You might consider creating distinct cards or buying ready card sets for various situations that trigger anxiety, panic, or urges, tailored to your individual struggles. In times of fight, flight, or freeze responses, our ability to access helpful thoughts can become challenging due to narrowed cognitive focus, potentially leading to a negative thought loop. In such situations, having Rewellme on hand can offer invaluable support!

Using Cards with Rewellme:

1. Begin by selecting illustrations that represent the emotional state you are experiencing, such as anxiety, negative thoughts, procrastination, or feelings of helplessness. Also, choose illustrations that depict the opposite resource states, like calmness, control, or activity. Then, select or create text descriptions for each state.

For example, you can replace the negative thought, "I can't take it anymore," with a more constructive thought like, "This is uncomfortable, but I can handle it if I take slow and deep breaths."

2. Create a tag for the specific emotional state you are targeting, for example, "anxiety" or "anger." Download the corresponding card. The beauty of Revellme is that you don't have to rely on your memory to activate your coping resources; simply open the application when needed. Negative Automatic Thoughts Cards:


These cards are designed to assist in thought challenging, particularly within the framework of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). They are valuable for addressing negative thought patterns and transforming them into more balanced or positive thoughts. Each card contains a negative statement on one side and, on the other, an alternative positive statement or a suggestion for behavioral experimentation. These cards serve as a practical tool to challenge and reframe automatic negative thoughts into more constructive and empowering beliefs. 
Use of coping cards 

1. Negative Thoughts

The Negative Thoughts paired with beliefs that refute them using a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach could include statements like: "I'm a failure." Refute: "I've had successes before, and this setback doesn't define me."
"Nobody likes me." Refute: "I have friends and loved ones who care about me."
"I'll never be good enough." Refute: "I can improve and learn from my mistakes."

1. Negative Thought: "I'm a failure because I made a mistake." Refuting Belief: "Mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth."

2. Negative Thought: "I'll never be good enough for this job." Refuting Belief: "I may have room for improvement, but I can learn and excel in this role."

3. Negative Thought: "I can't handle this stress; it's too overwhelming." Refuting Belief: "I have coping strategies to manage stress effectively."

4. Negative Thought: "Everyone is judging me." Refuting Belief: "I can't control what others think, and their opinions don't define my worth."

5. Negative Thought: "I'll never overcome my anxiety." Refuting Belief: "I can develop skills to manage and reduce my anxiety."

6. Negative Thought: "I'm unlovable because of my flaws." Refuting Belief: "I am deserving of love and acceptance, flaws and all."

7. Negative Thought: "I'll never succeed in achieving my goals." Refuting Belief: "With determination and effort, I can make progress toward my goals."

8. Negative Thought: "I'm powerless to change my habits." Refuting Belief: "I have the ability to make positive changes in my life."

9. Negative Thought: "No one cares about me." Refuting Belief: "I have people who care about me, even if it doesn't always feel that way."

10. Negative Thought: "I'm a burden to others." Refuting Belief: "I contribute positively to the lives of those who care about me."

11. Negative Thought: "I'm always unlucky." Refuting Belief: "Luck isn't the sole factor; I can create opportunities for myself."

12. Negative Thought: "I'm a terrible person." Refuting Belief: "I make mistakes, but that doesn't make me a terrible person."

13. Negative Thought: "I'm stuck in this situation forever." Refuting Belief: "Situations can change, and I have the power to influence them."

14. Negative Thought: "I'll never be as good as others." Refuting Belief: "I have my unique strengths and qualities."

15. Negative Thought: "I don't deserve happiness." Refuting Belief: "I deserve happiness, just like everyone else."

2. Immediate Help (Anxiety, Fear, Rage):

Coping cards are valuable tools during intense emotional episodes like anxiety, panic, or fear, helping you regain control over pronounced physiological reactions. A ready-made set of anxiety strategy cards provides ideas and action plans to cope with these situations. The cards can start with prompts like, "When I feel anxious, I could try..." On the first page, example strategies are provided, including controlled breathing, muscle relaxation, and distraction. The second page offers blank cards for you to personalize with your chosen strategies or add pictures.

For example, a person experiencing panic might create a coping card stating: "I am safe, and this will pass. I have survived this before. I am just going to let this pass through my body." These statements should be reassuring, realistic, and truthful. Psychoeducation can also be included, such as "When I feel my heart beating fast, this is just the fight, flight, or freeze response. It is not dangerous. I can use my strategies to calm this."
Coping Statements for Anger Management, Phobias, and Panic:

These statements are designed to help manage specific emotional states: Anger Management: "It’s not worth getting mad about. I won’t take this personally. I am in charge, not my anger. I am going to breathe slowly until I know what to do. Getting angry isn’t going to help. I can handle this and stay in control. Remember to breathe. People aren’t against me – they’re for themselves."
Phobias: "I can always retreat out of this situation if I decide to. There is nothing dangerous here. Take deep breaths and take your time. This feeling is just adrenaline. It will pass in a couple of minutes. These feelings are not dangerous."
Panic: "This isn’t dangerous. I will just let my body pass through this. I have survived panic attacks before, and I will survive this as well. Nothing serious is going to happen. This will pass."

3. Core Beliefs Cards:

These cards address changing negative core beliefs. One side contains the old negative belief, while the other side states the new, desired belief. Additionally, there is a section that includes bullet points detailing evidence or reasons supporting the new belief.

For example: Old Belief: "I’m a failure." New Belief: "I am successful." +Reasons why: "I have a good job, good relationships, and hobbies I enjoy."

4. Behavioral Experiments:

Coping cards can serve as reminders for behavioral goals and steps related to graded exposure plans. For instance, someone anxious about asking their lecturer for help might create a card with reminder prompts about what to say.

5. Behavioral Activation:

Cards can remind of daily activities arranged in therapy to improve low mood. They may also include prompts to remember how these activities break the cycle of low mood. For example: "When I'm feeling down, I go for a walk."

6. Grounding Techniques:

Coping cards can serve as reminders of grounding strategies, such as the "54321 skill." They may also include grounding statements like "I am safe now," which can be particularly helpful for clients dealing with trauma-related issues to ground themselves in the present.

7. Cards for Relapse Prevention:

At therapy termination, coping cards can be used to foster a client's confidence and independence by detailing a plan for what to do in case of a setback or relapse after therapy has ended. This may involve reviewing therapy notes or reaching out to a family member.

Using Research-Informed Pedagogical Practices to Maximize Learning in Youth Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Evid Based Pract Child Adolesc Ment Health 2017;2(2):82-95.

Coping Card Usage can Further Reduce Suicide Reattempt in Suicide Attempter Case Management Within 3-Month Intervention Suicide Life Threat Behav 2016 Feb;46(1):106-20.

Coping cards with cancer patients: using a psychoeducational instrument June 2016 Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas 12(1)