What is the toolbox?

I often encourage my clients to visualize a toolbox as a way of viewing the strategies they use to think about themselves, the people in their lives, or a difficulty they may be having. You already have tools in your toolbox to cope but by adding more tools, you can find new ways to  better your life and interactions.

There are endless tools out there! The key is determining some potential new tools, giving them a try, and deciding if you want to add them to your own toolbox. Tools may be specific and concrete, such as going to a yoga class, getting more sleep, or attending a support group. Tools may also be learning to view a difficulty from a different angle, talking it out in therapy, or using self-talk to "coach" yourself through a tough situation.

Let's try an example

For example, imagine you are struggling with anxiety. You feels anxious, worried, stressed. You can't sleep, you don't feel like eating, and you just can't focus on work and home life as you used to. You're finding that your nauseous some days and feel more stiffness in your neck and shoulders.

Whether you know it or not, you already have tools to cope with this anxiety - some tools may be healthy while others are less healthy. You may find that going for a walk or talking to a friend helps. You also may find that you aren't getting done what you need to because you're avoiding certain tasks to feel less anxious.

In this example, your toolbox has a few tools already: exercise; talking it out; avoiding tasks. These give you some relief. What can help is finding even more strategies to add to this toolbox to help you cope better. You may find that learning new ways to think about difficult situations can help calm the anxiety or building new skills, such as relaxation techniques.

Toolbox Suggestions

There's no one size fits all, which is my approach to therapy. Check out the writings under the Toolbox link above or below - hope you find them helpful!

Please note that the Toolbox articles are meant to be informative and are not a replacement for therapy.

Supporting your journey to a healthier, happier you
Sara Frawley, LMHC