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Recovery Isn’t “Getting Rid” Of Negative Coping Skills, It’s Learning New Skills

If you’ve avoided recovery because giving up the only-ways-you-know-to-survive feels overwhelming, know that the goal of good therapy isn’t “stopping certain behaviors” it’s SO MUCH MORE.

Good therapy can hold our ambivalence about whether or not we actually want to make changes. It can help be curious about experimenting with new ways to cope. Therapy often helps us develop a wider variety of ways to self soothe we can fall back on and helps grow our capacity to choose with mindfulness. Good therapy also teaches us to have compassion on ourselves when we make choices we later wish we hadn’t- and in doing so can prevent a shame spiral if we do make choices to self-soothe in harmful ways.

Note that there *are* situations in which eliminating a negative coping skill is a priority in treatment in order to prevent imminent harm to self, other, or criminal justice implications- but good treatment never removes a coping method without replacing it with extra resources (such as extended support services or medication as appropriate).

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