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Fortune Telling - Coping Skills Toolbox

Female counsellor Hong Kong


This is an adaptation of a well known origami activity that most of us will remember from our childhood. Bringing it into the world of counselling, this exercise can be utilised very effectively as a therapeutic intervention to collate those all essential coping skills.

Once your fortune teller is finished, you can use it both as a preventive measure and as a means of intervention in times of crisis. Firstly, it can act as a distraction from any physical symptoms or negative thinking you are experiencing, it then serves as a direct means of accessing any previously practiced coping skills that are needed to help you regulate in that moment.

This is an adaptable, fun and portable toolbox that can be slipped in your pocket to be used at home, school, work or on the go!

The examples I am using in this blog have been created by individuals struggling with anxiety.

This activity is best suited for those aged 9+


For this activity you will need:
  • A4 or A3 sized paper (in the colour of your choice).

  • Pens or Pencils.

  • Coping Skills or your pre-existing toolbox.*

*If you have not had the opportunity to practice coping skills either with a counsellor or by yourself, I suggest you do this first before adding them to your fortune teller. Coping skills are most effective when practised and repeated.

Top Tip!

Why do this activity alone? Often working within a group of friends or family can help you to make decisions and seek support on how to create and utilise your fortune teller!


Step 1 - Making your fortune (teller)!

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Still confused? Click here.

Layer 1

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The first layer concentrates on the areas of life, or areas of anxiety that you find yourself most frequently requiring support for.

Firstly, decide upon the four sections that you wish to categorise your skills into. Use the examples below for inspiration:

- In my Body / In my Mind / Triggers / Panic

- Negative Thoughts / Physiological / Triggers / Panic

- General Anxiety / Social Anxiety / Home Anxiety / Something Else.

- Angry / Sad / Panicked / Anxious

As you can see, some of these options vary and some are quite similar, the important part is deciding on sections that summarise the areas you need to regularly cope with best.

The first layer is one of the most important steps as it predicts the usefulness of your fortune teller.

Layer 2

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Now that you have finished the outer layer, it is time to turn your fortune teller over and start on layer two! This layer follows on directly from the former and should feature the more specific thoughts, sensations, feelings or triggers relating to the outer layer.

Let's use this one as an example:

- Negative Thoughts / Physiological / Triggers / Panic

Breaking down these four areas, you can see we have two spaces per area to write specifically how these effect us, for example:

Physiological: 'I feel shaky and dizzy' / 'I feel butterflies in my stomach'.

Negative Thoughts: 'What if something bad happens' / 'I'm not good enough'

Triggers: Being alone / Being in a crowd.

Panic: 'What if I panic now?' / 'I'm at a 10/10'.

You can see that the majority of these statements are written in first person, this is because generally our negative thoughts and beliefs occur in our mind just like that!

The above example also clearly covers all the bases of this persons everyday anxiety.

Layer 3

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Our final layer! This is the layer where you detail your coping skills. As a reminder, the coping skills featured here should be those that you have practised and repeated, this is essential because in a moment of panic, crisis, anxiety or stress you will be seeking coping mechanisms that you can rely on.

If you have yet to explore the world of coping skills, no problem, check out the one's below and practice them before deciding where in you fortune teller they belong.

Some examples of the skills that I recommend are below, you can click for more info.

- 4-7-8 Breathing.

- Meditation. (an app I can recommend).

- 10 Minute Meditation (a personal fave amongst my young clients).

- Muscle Relaxation.

- Positive Affirmations.

- Positive Affirmations for Teens

- Restructured thoughts (Turning negative thinking into realistic thoughts).

You can also find more skills, specific to coping with stress and anxiety, on one of my previous blogs, right here.

Give it a try!

If you'd like to share yours, feel free to tag us on Instagram

@embracecounsellinghk #embracecounsellinghk

Amy Williams is an experienced counsellor working with pre-teens, teenagers and young adults in schools and private practice in Hong Kong, (see about Amy for more info).

#anxietycounsellor #teenageanxiety #tipsforhelpingteenstress #teenagecounsellorhongkong #teenagecounsellingserviceshongkong #teencounsellingHK #counsellorinhongkong #copingskills #howtocopewithanxiety #mentalhealthawareness

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