Grace E. Dent M.A., R.C.C.

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DBT Skills List

Learning to be mindful will help you calm down and apply the skills more effectively. It is paramount to your success in reducing stress and in returning to a more compassionate, wise state of mind. Remember: Sometimes the skills are not about change and more about, managing the situation in the moment. This is when you need to apply a Distress Tolerance skill, which might include to practice radical acceptance, take a "brief" vacation from the situation that you are in, do self-soothing skills, and/or do distraction activities. Other times, we do want to change our emotional reactions by applying Emotional Regulation skills such as acting opposite to the urges. Or using Interpersonal Effectiveness skills to ask others to better support us. The key to success is to practice DBT skills daily. Overview of DBT skills (4 basic modules)

DBT Skills Modules

1. MINDFULNESS (Wise Mind)

Using the What Skills:

  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Participate
  • Using the How Skills:

  • Non-judgmentally
  • One-mindfully
  • Effectively

    Using Objectiveness effectiveness: (Dear Man)

  • D Describe
  • E Express
  • A Assert
  • R Reinforce
  • M Mindful
  • A Appear Confident
  • N Negotiate
  • Using Relationship Effectiveness: (Give)

  • G Gentle
  • I Interested
  • V Validate
  • E Easy Manner
  • Self-respect effectiveness: (Fast)

  • F Fair
  • A Apologies (no Apologies)
  • S Stick to value
  • T Truthful

    Reducing Vulnerability to "Emotion Mind": (Please Master)

  • P & L treat Physical Illness
  • E balanced Eating
  • A Avoid mood-altering drugs
  • S balanced Sleep
  • E get Exercise
  • Do it with Mastery daily

    Identifying and labeling emotions Understanding the function of emotions Increasing positive emotional events Increasing mindfulness to current emotions Taking opposite action Applying distress tolerance techniques


    Using Crisis Survival: Distraction with Wise Mind Accepts

  • A Activities
  • C Contributing
  • C Comparisons
  • E Emotions - use opposite
  • P Pushing Away
  • T Thoughts
  • S Sensations
  • Using Self Soothe with five senses:

  • Taste
  • Smell
  • See
  • Hear
  • Touch
  • Using Improve the moment:

  • I Imagery
  • M Meaning
  • P Prayer
  • R Relaxation
  • O One thing at a time
  • V Vacation
  • E Encouragement
  • Using Pros and Cons, Using Accepting Reality: Willingness/Willfulness Turning your mind, Radical Acceptance

    Adapted from Marsha Linehan's (1993) Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Resources from BehavioralTech