Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is loaded with social skills that DBT creator Marsha Linehan has proven to be helpful in achieving what she calls “a life worth living”.

In short, the skills include a wide array of actions and attitudes that a person with dysregulated emotions can use to cool down out of control emotions like rage, anxiety and depression or behaviors such as aggressiveness, ruminating or self harm.

Linehan has given each of the skills acronyms to help people remember the particulars of each of the techniques. For example, the skill set for becoming more effective in interpersonal relationships is called DEARMAN, which offers skills that can help to resolve a conflict or make a request in a respectful way rather than creating controversy. Here’s an online site that explains what DEARMAN means and how it is used.

Some of the DBT skills suggest things that may seem odd at first but rest assured they have all been refined through decades of practice and refinement by Dr.Linehan and numerous BPD researchers. Here are a few examples.

There are many resources for learning the DBT social skills, including one to one and/or group therapy with a DBT therapist. There are also online classes, most of which have fees. Finally there are numerous books (including Dr. Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual, as well as apps, BPD support groups and social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter among others. A comprehensive search engine such as Google will point you to many choices. If you want to go it alone proceed carefully and conscientiously so you don’t commit to a resource that is unable to provide you with what you’re looking for.


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