Crisis Survival Skills

What is a crisis?

  • Traumatic moment
  • Stressful event
  • Emotional stress
  • Short term
  • Wantit resolved “right now” (“I’ve got to get out!”)

Two Rules of Crisis survival

  1. If you’re in a crisis and can solve it – DO IT!
  2. If you can’t solve it – SURVIVE IT!

We learn how to survive a crisis with two types of skills:

  1. Distractor Skills (only beneficial when you can’t solve it)
  2. Self Soothing Skills (believe you deserve it)

When do you need these Crisis Survival Skills?

  • Needs to be a crisis (highly stressful, short term, needs to be resolved, etc.)
  • Can’t be resolved right now
  • Can’t afford to make it worst


A = Activities – reading, exercise, event (movie/concert)
C = contributing – volunteer work, focus on someone/something else

C = comparisons – list reasons why this is not the worst case scenario

E = emotions – create another emotion (i. E.: listen tomusic, read a book, etc.)

P = pushing away – decide wich problems you can solve and wich you can’t (put the ones you can not “on the shelf” unti later)

T = thoughts – ways to occupy your mind, count to 10 when angry, breathe in “wise”, breathe out “mind”

S = sensations – hot bath, cold shower, hold ice in hand, physical sensations

SELF SOOTHING SKILLS ( “5 senses” to indulge and be kind to yourself)

  1. Vision: flowers, clean a certain area of the house, look at family pictures
  2. Hearing: music, another human voice
  3. Smell: flowers/perfume, home cooked meal, fresh air from outside
  4. Taste: wise to use more than just food, tea/candies, coffee
  5. Touch: very useful soothing technique, hold someone’s hand (or own), hugs and kisses from your husband or children, feeling a soft blanket


Anger: Emotion vs. Behavior

There is no doubt about it. Anger has a large stigma surrounding it. It has become the emotion that is not safe. It is seen as something scary that can get out of control very easily. It is known as the UNWANTED AND UNSAFE EMOTION. This is why we have to be very clear on what ange is. Anger is an emotion and when we try to stuff it, it does not go away. When we try to hide it or avoid it, it becomes stronger and less manageable. It is important to remember how our body works- “law of the body”. Whatever goes in must come out. If our emotions are not dealt with in a healthy manner and they are tossed aside, they will escape at some point and will usually resurface when you have the least possible time to deal with the strong emotions. Our emotions are great. They are with us for a reason and we should be using them as a guide to tell us when things are okay and when things are not. Where we run into issues however, is with our behaviors. Aggressive behavior is never okay. We can be angry and not use aggressive behaviors as long as we are using healthy coping strategies and emotional techniques. Anger the emotion is not a problem or a bad thing (in fact anger has many positive factors including providing the energy to implement change. If people were never angry, nothing would change). It is aggressive behavior that becomes the problem. It is imperative to start looking at our thoughts, emotions and behaviors and start separating them from one another.


ANGER: An emotional state that can range in intensity from mild irritation to extreme rage.

RAGE: The strongest form of anger, very physical, threatening the individual with possible lack of control over his or her actions.

AGGRESSION: Actual behavior, as contrasted with feeling of anger that is intended to achieve one’s goals or eliminate frustrating obstacles, regardless of the effect upon others. Anger does not automatically lead to aggression although the two occur together frequently.

HOSTILITY: An attitude toward specific individuals or the world that includes seeing others as enemies and a readiness to be angry with others.

RESENTMENT: A process in which anger is stored rather that released- the opposite of forgiveness- usually accompanied by belief that the individual has been injured by others.

HATRED: The end product of the resentment process. Hatred is “frozen” anger that results in an intense and unchanging dislike of another.

ANGER AVOIDANCE: A pattern of thinking, acting, and feeling in wich a person avoids, ignores and supresses anger.

CHRONIC ANGER: A pattern of thinking, acting and feeling in wich a person seeks, embraces and prolongs anger experiences.

Love letter to my mom


I don’t like it when you avoid my feelings. I don’t like it when you are not listening when I talk. I hate it when you drink alcohol all day long. I hate it when you judge me and my parenting. I hate it when you ignored that I needed help. I hate it when I have to wait for you to tell me that you love me. I resent that I have acted like you with my parenting. I am tired of helping you to get some help. I am tired of trying to be a better person to please you. I want you to understand my difficulties that I have been going through recently and in the past.

I feel sad that you will never be proud of me. I feel sad when you reject me. I feel sad when you didn’t encourage me in any way. I feel hurt because you didn’t take care of me emotionally when dad was working. I feel hurt because you left me alone and I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions. I feel hurt when I think you didn’t love or want me. I feel awful that we have never been connected. I feel awful when you said that I was not a good mom and I shoudn’t had kids. I feel disapointed because I have to deal with a lot of pain because of you. I want you to have some compassion for me.

I feel afraid when I think that I might become like you. I am afraid that you won’t take me seriously. I am afraid I might stop seeing you until you get sober. I am afraid that your negative energy will affect my kids. I feel scared because you are mean to me when you are drunk. I feel scared when I have to trust you. I want you to get some help for your addiction.

I’m sorry that I was not a easy child. I am sorry that I needed more love and attention. I am sorry that I’ve hurt your feelings in the past. I am sorry for having difficulties with expressing my emotions. I am sorry for asking you to help me when I needed it. I am sorry for thinking about myself too much. Please forgive me for following my man out of Quebec. Please forgive me for beeing jealous about your connection with my sister. I didn’t mean to ignore you when I asked dad to come over alone. I wish that you will understand my emotions and recognize the hard work I’ve been working on.

I love you because you helped me physically when I needed it. I love you because you cooked for me when I was not able to. I love when you are sober and when we can have good conversations. Thank you for taking care of dad and my sister. I understand that you might need professional help as well. I understand that you will accept help when you will be ready. I forgive you for not taking care of me emotionally when I was young. I want you to accept me, to love me and give me strength to keep moving forward in my life.

From my 5 years old son to me

Today I am going to share a love letter. The love letter technique is something I did in the Day Treatment Program while I was mentally sick. I wrote one to mom and one to my fiance. The last letter was the hardest one because I needed to be at son’s place when I was writing. He is only 5 years old.

From my 5 years old son to me.

I don’t like it when you don’t listen to me when I talk. I don’t like it when you yell at me sometimes. I hate it when you don’t understand me. I hate it when you drink alcohol. I hate it when you go out wihout me. I’m tired of trying to be perfect. I’m tired of not being able to express my anger. I want you to accept that i am only 5 years old.

I feel sad when you send me in time out alone. I feel sad when you are angry at me. I feel hurt when you don’t tell me how to deal with my feelings. I feel hurt when you scream at us sometimes. I feel awful when I listen to you complaining about others. I feel awful when you judge me. I feel disappointed because you don’t help me sometimes. I want you to love me and comfort me when I need it.

I feel afraid that you will leave and never come back. I feel afraid that you will not get better. I feel afraid when you leave us at gramma’s to go party. I’m afraid that I will never be loved by you. I’m afraid that you will leave dad. I feel scared because sometimes you don’t kiss me goodnight. I feel scared because I’m only 5 years old and I don’t know how to grow in a healthy way mentally. I want you to get some help, as long as you need. I want you to stay home and alive forever.

I’m sorry that I hide my feelings to not upset you. I’m sorry for being a 5 years old boy who needs help to learn how to move forward in life. I’m sorry for causing you trouble in the house. I’m sorry for biting my sister when I was angry. Please forgive me for interrupting you when you talk to dad. Please forgive me for asking a lot of attention. I didn’t mean to upset you when I go in my room when I can’t talk. I wish that you will teach me the good way to live my life.

I love you because you give me a lot of hugs and kisses. I love when you spend time alone with me. I love when we go on adventure together. I love when you smile. Thank you for taking good care of me. Thank you for staying at home and not working. I understand that you have to go away and get some help, so you can come back as a healthy mommy. I forgive you for being mentally sick. I forgive you for yelling at me sometimes. I want you to get better, to love yourself and to be proud of what you do for yourself and our family.

Write, Read and Burn

Based on a technique from the Milwaukee Brief Therapy center, the purpose of this exercise is to resolve memories that are intruding upon and constricting your life in the present, in the form of flashbacks or any other kind of intrusive negative thought or image.

  1. First of all, write down the details of the memory, thought, or image that troubles you.
  2. Now, write down any feeling you have about the memory, thought or image. If another person is involved in the memory, address these feelings to the person where appropriate. Include anything you would wish or say or wich you could say to that person.
  3. Now reread what you have written reading it aloud.
  4. Once you have done so, burn the pages.

While not essential, sometimes it is psychologically helpful to have another person present to hear what you read and witness the burning of the pages.

Anger management


  1. Awareness: Aware that I am angry. What is my body telling me. Naming our emotions.
  2. Acceptance: I can accept it is O.K. To be angry. Moving from “you made me angry” to ” I am angry”. Finding safe/non-violent ways to express it.
  3. Analysis: Moving it closer to when it is happening. Ask yourself – what is the source, function and cause of your anger. “If I was not feeling angry right now, what would I be feeling?” The purpose of this is to help you determine what you are going to do with the anger. Finding choices.
  4. Appropriate action: ‘Pro-Active’ as compared to ‘reactive’. Look at different behaviors of handing your anger.
  5. Appreciation: “Knowing I’ve done the best I can in this situation”. To learn to be gentle with one’s self.

The first step in ANGER MANAGEMENT is to get to know your anger by recognizing its symptoms.

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Behavioral

Expressing your anger in a healthy way

1- Physical

  • Release of energy build up (walking, jogging, running, swimming, other non-violent sports)
  • Relaxation techniques (listen to music, reading, petry, yoga, Tai Chi, coloring, aerobics, writing)

2- Psychological

“Think my way into a New way of acting”

“Change thoughts, change actions”

  • After: cognitive repatterning – replays (Redoing anger in inner drama)
  • Before: cognitive rehearsal (Preparing for stress situation)
  • During: 1) Cognitive self talk, 2) Deep breathing, 3) Coounting in own mind, 4) Being aware of our own body – Blushing, 5) Being aware of our own triggers, 6) How am I going to express myself to be clear and respect you? – “I” statements/Assertiveness

All about wisdom

It can be difficult to define wisdom, but people generally recognize it when they encounter it. Psychologists pretty much agree it involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There’s an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance. Wise people generally share an optimism that life’s problems can be solved and experience a certain amount of calm in facing difficult decisions. Intelligence – if only anyone could figure out exactly what it is – may be necessary for wisdom, but it definitely isn’t sufficient; an ability to see the big picture, a sense of proportion, and considerable introspection also contribute to its development.

Definitions of Wisdom

  • The trait of forming opinions by evaluating.
  • The trait of judjing wisely and objectively.
  • The ability to apply knowledge or experience or to understand and insight.