DBT Skills for Emotional Regulation help people develop a healthy, realistic outlook regarding their emotions, why they occur, what they mean and how they can be neutralised or put to productive use.

DBT Emotional Regulation Skills

Historically there have been two main non-spiritual schools of thought regarding emotions. One school sees them as spot judgements about whether a particular situation satisfies our expectations. When we are happy it is because our expectations are being satisfied by the current situation. When we are sad it is because they are not.


The other school of thought believes emotions occur as a reaction to physiological changes such as increased heart rate or elevated hormone levels. These days, however, most agree that emotions are likely some combination of the two. DBT Emotion Regulation Skills help clients tame the emotional beast that can wreak havoc with personal relationships and undermine their individual goals.

About Behaviour Therapy

While it may not be their only role, emotions do produce judgments. For instance, when people meet for the first time they often know within just a few seconds whether they feel comfortable in the presence of the other person. Right or wrong (and initial feelings sometimes turn out to be wrong) this snap emotional judgment can form the basis of that relationship for many years to come.


A person’s emotions can also be influenced by the emotions of the people around them. A smile is contagious, as the old saying goes. And it’s true. Likewise, if you stumble upon a scene where everyone seems sad or upset, even if you do not know what happened you will likely have a similar emotional response.


In other cases, someone may have an inexplicably negative reaction to another person’s presence. Often this has little to do with the other person and everything to do with the projector sensing an opportunity to unload some of their emotional insecurities toward a person they’ve determined is a safe target.


DBT Emotion Regulation Skills seek to provide people with a better way to handle the emotional maelstrom. Emotion Regulation Skills teach a person to identify the emotion they are feeling at a given time and determine what it may have to say about themselves and their current situation.

DBT Emotional Regulation Skills List

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, teaches clients how to regulate their emotional responses and how to effectively navigate the emotional minefield in order to foster productive relationships going forward. DBT Emotion Regulation Skills training is divided into four modules.


Emotional Regulation

Emotional Regulation Skills can transform a person’s experience of the world. DBT Emotional Regulation Skills can enable them to better understand the nature of their feelings in a given situation so that they can avoid emotional extremes and build productive, emotionally satisfying relationships.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Emotional dysfunction takes many forms and can undermine any attempts at building productive relationships. Lashing out, shutting down or “people pleasing” typically create interactions people wind up regretting. In this module, clients learn how to set boundaries, say “no” and ask for what they need.



Mindfulness has an important role to play in helping a person develop Emotion Regulation Skills. While there are subtle differences between the two, mindfulness has much in common with the ancient tradition of stoicism. Both have to do with accepting the moment without applying judgment or notions about how things ought to be.

Distress Tolerance

Allowing oneself to be triggered by other people or circumstances rarely leads to satisfying outcomes. By learning distress tolerance techniques the client will become less reactive and more emotionally stable. This increased emotional stability can help them nurture more satisfying and productive long-term relationships.

Recognising and Naming Emotions

In order to develop Emotion Regulation Skills, the client must first learn how to understand and label the emotions they are experiencing. The Therapist assists the client in finding appropriate labels for their feelings such as “anxious” or “confused” that are more precise and actionable than simply stating that they “feel bad”.

Secondary feelings occur after the fact and are a reaction to our initial reaction. For instance, if a person has an angry outburst they may later feel regret over the incident. That, in turn, may lead them to act out in an attempt to make themselves feel better, which itself may produce regret and the roller coaster continues on and on around the track.


Being able to accurately identify the various emotions they are feeling will enable the client to create the skills necessary to process them in a productive way and thereby break the cycle that leads to secondary and tertiary emotions and counterproductive behaviour. The key is teaching the client to accept the primary emotion without passing judgment on themselves because they felt it.

Contact DBT London

To learn more about DBT Emotion Regulation Skills call DBT London today on 0800 061 4225.

Amy Matthew
Amy Matthew
I have had so many years struggling with my anxiety and have seen a few professionals over the years but my time I have spent with Jason has really helped me become so much more confident in myself and I can't thank him enough for taking the time to understand my issues and giving me the best tools that will stay with me and help me to continue to grow and become a stronger woman. Thank you Jason.
Jack Christodoulou
Jack Christodoulou
I would like to express my gratitude to Jason Ward for he's amazing help and getting me through dark times and into the light again. (I didn't think it was possible) many thanks life is better now.
Tallie Samuels
Tallie Samuels
I completed all four modules of the DBT course in 2020, and I can honestly say my life has been changed. I received so much support from Jason & Jerinda throughout my sessions, and I always felt like I was in a safe space with them. Throughout the course, I built up skills that I am still using today. I now find everyday life easier to manage; feel more in control of my emotional responses; am able to to tap into 'wise mind' rather than thinking in black & white; and I have a number of coping skills that make emotional crises easier to manage, when they do happen. This is the best course of therapy I have ever completed, and I have tried many different kinds in my lifetime. Thanks to the skills I learnt on the course, and to my own hard work integrating them into my life, I now live a life that feels worth living. Thank you.
Samantha Tran-Larkin
Samantha Tran-Larkin
I have completed 2 modules of the DBT programme so far and I can honestly say it has honestly changed my life. I am not a stranger to therapy. 2 years ago I started general psychotherapy following the birth of my 4th child as I developed what I thought was PND. I also had a volatile relationship. Because of my personal circumstances, things progressively got worse. When I started the DBT programme I was lost, angry, hopeless and saw this as my last chance to solve some crisis of mine. 2 modules in, I feel refreshed and optimistic. I understand myself more and get boundaries. I am more productive and for the first time in a long while I can actually say I am happy. I will most likely revisit certain modules for a little refresh and will continue to use my invaluable DBT skills everyday. Thank you Jason.
Sevda Sipahi
Sevda Sipahi
I was feeling insecure, anxious and depressed. I have joined the DBT sessions. I found it so helpful and effective. Before DBT, l wasn’t aware of the skills. Jason and Jurenda are such amazing people with their knowledge and positivity. They were so supportive. They taught me the skills and motivated me a lot to use the skills. Gradually l felt l improved myself quite a lot and definitely l feel much better now than before. It also improved my self confidence. I am more aware of myself now than before. I learnt to be in wise mind rather than being too emotional or too rational. I want to thank Jason and Jurenda for their good work, support and kindness.
I've been working on my DBT skills with Jason for the past 9 months. In that time I have learnt enough repair damaged relationships with family, to begin to curb my unhealthy 'problem behaviours' and to start to build back up my self esteem and work on treating myself with kindness and compassion. I would thoroughly recommend DBT therapy, I think we all have a lot to learn from it. Without it and without Jason I wouldn't be where I am right now - I'm very grateful.
Samuel Perry
Samuel Perry
Jason helped me through a very low period in my life, I was depressed and anxious, using DBT skills helped resolve my symptoms.
Daniel Fox
Daniel Fox
Got the training last year here and I can clearly say I am much skilled in DBT. They have changed my skill and this course is really helpful. Thanks
  1. Home
  2. DBT Emotional Regulation Skills