Home > DBT Skills List > Mindfulness > Spirituality

Mindfulness skills are the foundation of all Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills training. The problems addressed by core mindfulness skills are knowing who you are, where you are going in your life, and the inability to control what goes on in your mind. Mindfulness encourages you to live in the moment by focusing on the present. 


Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT is a very spiritual person, as described in her memoir Building a Life Worth Living. The original DBT manual includes several handouts on a spiritual perspective of Mindfulness. The goals of this perspective are 

  • To experience reality as it is, leading to a connectedness with the universe and a grounding in our being.
  • To grow in wisdom of the heart
  • To experience freedom by letting go of attachments
  • To increase love and compassion toward yourself and others

There are a number of actions you can take to practice this spiritual perspective and you do not have to be part of an organized religion to do so. You may consider yourself a spiritual person but not religious, which is absolutely fine. Or you may not think of yourself as spiritual but are looking for a deeper connection with your core and the world. Whatever your religious status, Spirituality in DBT is optional.

Wise Mind is a great DBT skill to pair with spirituality. You can view Wise Mind as a contemplative practice. Some people consider their Wise Mind to be tied to a higher power; others see it as the truest core of themselves.

To find your Wise Mind you may choose to engage in:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Contemplative prayer
  • Contemplative action
  • Centering prayer

Sinking into your Wise Mind may feel like a deeper layer of reality rising to consciousness. One that has always been there, but that you haven’t been able to access. It may even feel sacred. You may even experience is from the perspective of mysticism which can be a deep, certain experience of unity with oneself or the universe that cannot be put into words.

Spirituality may also come up again in Distress Tolerance in the skill IMPROVE the Moment. The M stands for Meaning. Spirituality or belief in a higher power may be what brings you meaning. If so, feel free to use spirituality in that instance as well. Perhaps even use these practices to enter Wise Mind to find your Meaning.