Coping Questions

  • Like Exception-Seeking Questions, Coping Questions are another tool within SFBT that permits a limited glimpse into the past to assist clients in responding to a current problem.
  • While Exception-Seeking Questions look for times when the problem did not exist, Coping Questions look for instances when the client has overcome past challenges.
    • For example, “When times are rough, what motivates you to keep going?”
  • Pairing Coping Questions with “solution talk” can assist clients in cultivating creative or innovative problem-solving strategies for current issues based on extending the coping strategies they have employed with success in the past.
  • Once coping skills and strategies have been identified, follow-up questions have a more applied focus.
    • For example, “How can you use that same strategy or how could you alter that strategy to be useful with this problem?”


Take the next several minutes to practice articulating some Coping Questions, keeping in mind the population you serve, the most common issues you encounter in practice, and how your clients might respond to being asked Coping Questions.

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