Healthy Coping Skills – The SPARROW Model (for counselors)



What is coping? (Youtube video!)

Dealing with It: The SPARROW Toolboxes For Coping Instead of Relapsing

George DuWors, MSW, LCSW, BCD

This one-day workshop defines and illustrates what it really means to have a “problem.” Using participant experience and interactive exercises, we spell out three elements universally present when a human being is “bothered” – sensation, frustration, and meaning.   Simple tools give counselors the means to help clients see how each element may be affecting them in any given problem.  As much as possible, we will build upon participant experience to use these elements for completing step one of this three-step process – facing the actual problem.  Next we move to the second phase and develop the universal principle for goal-setting. This requires breaking the “bother” down into two parts: that which must be accepted and that which may be changed. Yes, we are taking the Serenity Prayer down off the wall  and putting it to work!  Using real problems as much as possible, we then complete the third step by developing an action plan for each goal, selecting from the toolboxes of “SPARROW.” These toolboxes each include skills already used by counselor and client, making them more than user-friendly.  “SPARROW” empowers counselor and client to organize and apply their skills to any life problem in a systematic and practical way.

Objectives: The Participants will be able to:

  • Facilitate their clients in a three-step process for coping with living problems.
  • Apply three tools to identify and/or clarify what is actually “bothering” a client.
  • Apply the “serenity principle” to develop specific and achievable goals.
  • Use the SPARROW toolboxes to help clients build coping plans for specific problems.

Target Audience: Any counselor who wants to help clients cope with their problems instead of relapsing or having any other self-defeating reaction.

Content Level: Core to advanced (some experience preferable)

Methods: Combines over thirty PowerPoint slides with matching workbooks to make entire workshop both interactive and portable. Role-play, small group brainstorms, sharing dyads.

Instructor: George DuWors, MSW, LCSW, BCD is a seasoned addictions specialist, who has led workshops across North America and in the United Kingdom. He is the author of White Knuckles and Wishful Thinking, Learning From the Moment of Relapse in Alcoholism and Other Addictions (Hogrefe and Huber: Seattle, 2000). He also created the client workbook, “Getting It: Building Motivation From Relapse” (, 2013).

Contact information:

  • Cell phone: 425-213-2657
  • Email:      
  • Fax: 425-671-0672.
  • Web: or