The Coping Kete

Your Personal Coping Kete

The purpose of The Coping Kete is to help you develop a wide range of positive coping tools that you can flexibly use to improve your experience of mental health and wellbeing.

Practice new strategies from The Coping Kete when you are feeling okay first.

Once they are familiar to you, you can add them to your own Personal Coping Kete and start practicing using them when you need to improve the moment.

What is a Personal Coping Kete?

A Personal Coping Kete is any kind of container that you can keep your strategies written down on cards in.  Use The Coping Kete to practice and adapt new strategies and when you find one that works for you, write it down and add it to your Personal Coping Kete for later. To get yourself started, throw in everything you already do to get yourself through the difficult moments in a positive way. Then use The Coping Kete as a place to grow your resources.

In times of stress and distress, when it is hard to think of what to do – you can pull a card from your Personal Coping Kete and do it. If you still feel distressed, you can pull out another card and do that. In this way you will start to change the way you automatically respond to stress and distress. Eventually you won’t need your physical Personal Coping Kete – it will live and continue to grow within you.

Overcoming the Barriers

Learning new coping strategies is a complex process, far more involved than simply knowing a strategy exists. When you encounter one of the inevitable difficulties or road-blocks to change it is important to post a comment as there is always a way around every difficulty.

If something is hard for you, it is guaranteed to also be hard for someone else too.  In years of Engage Groups, there has never been a difficulty that only one person experienced, once one person opens up about what is hard, other people always relate to it as well.


The online Coping Kete is a place for experimentation and exploring.  Let yourself take on an air of adventure – here you get a weekly idea to try out. This is your chance to play with what works for you – get creative. It is very rare for a strategy to work first try and most people in Engage Groups end up adapting techniques to suit their own personal preferences and needs. Feel free to play around with the technique until it fits with you. The act of experimenting with new coping strategies, is in itself a powerful tool for coping.


The Coping Kete’s main message is to be flexible and to get familiar with as many techniques as possible.  Each new strategy is meant to add to the things that you are already doing, so that the resources available to you grow and grow.  Different things work for different people in different situations at different times and part of the journey is about learning what works for you.


We recommend sticking with a strategy for at least a week so that you can work out when it is helpful and when it is not helpful – nothing works all of the time, in every situation.  A week is not very long either, two or three would be ideal.  The more often you practice a strategy, the more useful it will become.

Try not to expect yourself to be able to do it effectively straight off the bat, it takes time for something to become familiar enough to be useful.

It helps to first practice the strategy when you are feeling okay, because this is when it will be easier to do and it will prepare you for the times when you are not feeling okay and it becomes much harder to put new things into practice.  Many people find it helps to schedule a time every day when they will practice the strategy regardless of how they feel, as this gets them familiar with using it.

Collaboration and Participation

If something doesn’t seem to be working or raises concerns for you, it’s a good idea to post a comment on the strategy, as then we can offer support around the difficulty by reply. If something does seem to be working or you have found a way to make it work, share that too. This is an excellent way of making new discoveries stick. Plus it feels good to share our ‘eureka’ moments and celebrate them together.

Compassion and Support

If you have been experiencing stress or distress for a prolonged period, be sure to go easy on yourself. It is more difficult to put these strategies into practice when we have been distressed or stressed for a long time. It is very important to have compassion and understanding for ourselves when we experience these difficulties around putting it into practice.

Support is really helpful too. Many people find that having a counselor, psychologist or psychotherapist can be a great way of receiving one-on-one coaching and support to put new strategies in place. Often we can have powerful beliefs about ourselves, the world and other people that stop us from being able to enact positive coping strategies. In these cases, therapy really is invaluable.


If you’ve been responding to the world one way for a long time, you are unlikely to simply start responding differently now, just because you’ve found a good idea to try. Definitely, this will be hard to do if you are feeling distressed. It really helps to plan in some practice time, so that you can be sure it happens. And why wait for something distressing to happen, before you get to try it out?

A good rule of thumb

Follow negative emotion with positive action. Negative emotions always want to spread themselves, so they will make you want to do and think things that keep them around. Instead, do the behaviour or thinking that would be associated with the positive emotion. Like attracts like. So the key is to do something different.


And lastly, if you have any questions, then please use the comment function to ask or email me your question privately.