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The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treaDialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Marsha M. Linehan originally developed DBT in the late 1980s as a method to better treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT uses a combination of strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a mindfulness-based approach, while placing greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of treatment. Although DBT was initially developed as a means to be used primarily in the treatment of individuals with BPD, it is now also recognized as an effective treatment method for individuals diagnosed with a variety of mental health illnesses, particularly those that involve serious emotion dysregulation such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, and more. Dialectical behavior therapy occurs in three distinct settings: individual psychotherapeutic sessions, DBT group skills training sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. The four modules, or main skills areas, of DBT include interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and core mindfulness. Around six weeks are allocated to each of the four DBT skills areas, making the duration of the entire dialectical behavior therapy program last about twenty-four weeks long. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Social Skills

This module teaches skills to help individuals learn how to communicate with others effectively and authentically. Interpersonal effectiveness focuses on skills used to attend to relationships, balance priorities versus demands, balance the “wants” and the “shoulds,” and build a sense of mastery and self-respect. The main goal of the interpersonal effectiveness module in DBT is to help a person learn how to get what they need without damaging themselves or others. There are a variety of ways to draw from the interpersonal effectiveness framework and integrate these DBT skills into one’s everyday life. To improve your interpersonal effectiveness skills, consider implementing the following suggestions: 

  • Know what you want: to effectively advocate for your wants, you must first be fully confident and aware of what they are.
  • Be direct: rather than beating around the bush, practice being direct with expressing your desires and communicate in a friendly and direct manner. 
  • Boundaries are healthy: make sure to enforce your boundaries, as they are the gatekeepers of your energy.
  • Heed the opportunity to work with others: even if you feel you work best alone, working with other people can help you practice compromising, and achieving a resolve that is mutually beneficial. 

Interpersonal effectiveness skills involve helping individuals identify and understand their own needs in a relationship. These skills also help an individual learn to cultivate, engage, and maintain healthy relationships with others that enable one’s needs to be met. This includes advocating for one’s needs and communicating in way that is non-damaging, assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard pro.