DBT Skills List

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DBT Skills List
a list titled 'skills' on a purple backgroun

Welcome! This is a list of the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills and other information you will find on this site.

DBT is about practice and repetition more so than simply remembering a skills name or filling out a worksheet once. The more you practice and use the skills, the more likely you are to find them useful in the moment you truly need them. Over time and with lots of practice most people find skills become automatic and replace maladaptive skills and behaviors. So practice, practice, and don’t give up!

The Four Modules:



Wise Mind

WHAT Skills:

  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Participate

HOW Skills: 

  • Non-judgmentally
  • One-mindfully
  • Effectively

Mindfulness Exercises

Breathing Exercises

Awareness Exercises

A Day of Mindfulness

Distress Tolerance
Crisis Survival: Distraction with Wise Mind ACCEPTS 

  • A Activities
  • C Contributing
  • C Comparisons
  • E Emotions – use opposite
  • P Pushing Away
  • T Thoughts
  • S Sensations

Self Soothe with five senses:

  • Taste
  • Smell
  • See
  • Hear
  • Touch

IMPROVE the moment:

  • I Imagery
  • M Meaning
  • P Prayer
  • R Relaxation
  • O One thing at a time
  • V Vacation
  • E Encouragement

Pros and Cons 
Willingness & Half Smile
Radical Acceptance & Turning your mind 

TIPP: Changing Body Chemistry

  • T Temperature
  • I Intense Exercise
  • P Paced Breathing
  • P Paired with Muscle Relaxation

Alternate Rebellion

Emotion Regulation
Reduce Vulnerability: (ABC PLEASE)

  • A Accumulate Positives
  • B Build Mastery
  • C Cope Ahead
  • P & Treat Physical Illness
  • Eating
  • A Altering Drugs (no drugs unless it is medication to be taken as prescribed by your doctor)
  • S Sleep
  • E Exercise

Build Positive Experiences

Ride the Wave

Identifying & Describing Emotions

What Good Are Emotions?

Letting Go of Painful Emotions

Opposite to Emotion Action

Pleasant Activities List

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Objectiveness Effectiveness: (DEAR MAN)

  • D Describe
  • E Express
  • A Assert
  • R Reinforce
  • M Mindful
  • A Appear Confident
  • N Negotiate

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

Interpersonal Myths

Cheerleading Statements

Modulating Intensity

Factors Reducing Interpersonal Effectiveness


Other Important Links

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links to offset the cost of keeping this site a free community resource.

Additional Resources

Mental Health Resources
We aren't the only mental health resource out there. Check out these books, websites, social media accounts, and more for additional support. Read More
DBT Flashcards

Making DBT skills second nature takes practice. Use these flashcards on their page, download your own to print out, or purchase our pre-made set from our shop. Read More

DBT Encyclopedia

DBT has its own lingo which can be hard to understand for beginners. Visit our homemade DBT Encyclopedia to figure out what a term means. Read More

Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness practice is key to DBT. You don't have to meditate in silence everyday, though. Try these Mindfulness exercises to guide you. Read More

Diary Cards

Diary cards help track your emotions, urges, behaviors, and skill use. They help you see patterns. Learn how to use them and get samples. Read More