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Cope Ahead DBT Handout (PDF)

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Coping Ahead, which represents the “C” in the ABC Emotion Regulation DBT skill, helps clients make a plan to skillfully cope with future emotional challenges. Negative emotions may arise from time to time, but managing stressful situations is possible by rehearsing thoughts, feelings, words and actions in advance.

The Cope Ahead DBT Handout explains the purpose of coping ahead as an emotion regulation skill and introduces four simple steps clients can follow. These steps include thinking about the triggering situation, considering the DBT skills they might use, visualizing the emotional experience, and writing down the “successful” scenario.

This handout benefits kids and teens by helping them cope better with stressful situations, increase self-acceptance, and improve relationships through asserting their boundaries. One of the ways to support them when using the handout is to ask them to write their feelings in a journal along with words of encouragement before and after a stressful situation. Our DBT Cope Ahead Worksheet can support further application of this skill.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of DBT worksheets and handouts.


  1. Ching, W. Y. (2023). Effects of DBT emotional regulation skills training program on depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and emotion regulation skills among Malaysian youth (Doctoral dissertation, UTAR).
  2. Rombaoa, J. P., Heshmati, S., Rodriguez, M., & Owen, T. (2023). Prioritizing lifestyle factors for effective emotion regulation: A daily study on first-year college students’ well-being during COVID-19.
  3. Turner, S. C. (2022). Development of the Coping Ahead Intervention for Latina First-Generation College Students.
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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