Coping Skills as 10% Solutions

Developing a toolbox of coping skills is essential in dealing with stress and strong emotions. Coping skills can be helpful in feeling better physically and mentally when we are experiencing a difficult situation.

When using coping skills, it’s hoped that we can experience immediate, if not soon-to-be relief. We want what we are doing to be effective, so that we can navigate working through a stressful situation. However, what happens when the coping skill that we use isn’t as effective as we intended? This experience may leave us feeling disappointed and discouraged.

Janina Fisher, a licensed clinical psychologist, encourages us to regard coping skills as 10% solutions.

Ideally, it would be great if coping skills worked 100% of the time, but the reality is that this isn’t always the case. At times they may only work 5-or maybe 10% at that moment. If you’re finding that this is the case, it’s important to consider what else you can try to do to support yourself in coping. Perhaps the next skill will work 5%, and the one after that may work 15%. However, the idea behind 10% solutions is that you may need to utilize two or three of the 10% solutions to contribute to healthy coping. In changing our perspective that a coping skill should work 100% of the time, and utilizing a few that we may need in that moment, hopefully this can help us to better cope through what we are experiencing.

What are some skills and strategies that you would include in your coping toolbox?


Katie Halizak is a Registered Therapist (Qualifying) with College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. One of Katie’s areas of interest includes coping skills. Katie uses evidence-based modalities and an integrative approach in order to help her clients receive treatment that is personalized to their unique needs.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is meant for psychoeducational purposes only. Intended solely to provide you with information and is not meant to take the place of therapy.

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