By mastering the different types of effectiveness the client can take a significant step toward creating new and satisfying relationships.

DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness

Those who have completed module 1 of their DBT training – Emotion Regulation – can move on to the DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness module. The goal of cultivating Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills is to help build and maintain healthy, beneficial relationships. Some people naturally possess a wealth of interpersonal skills. But for many more people, they can be elusive. DBT London have carefully examined effective interpersonal skills and concluded they fall into any of four categories. Once mastered, these skills can benefit almost anyone, but especially those who came from difficult family circumstances or who manifest an attachment disorder.


The Core Modules of DBT Training

DBT training is broken down into four core modules. They are:


Emotional Regulation

Getting a hold of one’s emotions is vital if we are to form and maintain lasting productive relationships with other people. DBT Emotion Regulation teaches clients how to identify emotions, understand their nature and avoid emotional extremes.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Some people are born with an innate ability to interact with others. Most of us are not. By the time they complete the Interpersonal Effectiveness module, however, clients should be less prone to lashing out, shutting down or engaging in self-sabotage by trying to people please. They will also learn how to set boundaries, say “no” when appropriate, and ask for what they need.



Mindfulness is a way of learning to accept the here and now without subjecting it to judgment or expectations. By incorporating mindfulness into their everyday life clients will be better able to fend off emotional ups and downs. They will also be less needy and better able to form lasting bonds with other people.

Distress Tolerance

A person who is easily “triggered” will often feel frustrated by what they perceive (after the fact) as a lack of self-control. By learning effective Distress Tolerance techniques the client will stop presenting buttons for others to push and become a less reactive person.


Goals and Tools of Interpersonal Effectiveness

Once a client has completed the first module – Emotion Regulation – they are ready to move on to the second module, Interpersonal Effectiveness. This module focuses on the three types of effectiveness that must be addressed, particularly when treating those with Borderline Personality Disorder.

  1. Objective Effectiveness
  2. Self-Respect Effectiveness
  3. Relationship Effectiveness

All three types of Interpersonal Effectiveness are typically at play in any given personal interaction. For example: a person might expect the cashier in a store to say “thank you”. This is the objective outcome of the interaction. The person may feel disrespected if the cashier does not say thank you which can trigger an outsized emotional reaction. Alternately, the person may be more fixated on conflict-free relationships rather than self-respect issues and feel the lack of a thank you undermined interpersonal harmony for no good reason, again triggering an emotional response.

When it comes to Self-Respect Effectiveness the acronym is FAST and is broken down thus:

F = Fair. As in, strive to be fair to yourself and the other person in any interaction.
A = Apologize only when it is appropriate.
S = Stick. That is, be true to yourself, stick to your values and don’t compromise your integrity.
T = Truthfulness. Be honest. Avoid exaggerating or using other tactics to gain an edge over others.


In order to help the client incorporate the principles of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy more easily into their life, the DBT therapist uses different acronyms which they associate with each of the three types of effectiveness. The acronym used to remember skills related to Objective Effectiveness is DEAR MAN, broken down as follows:

D = Describe. As in, describe the situation in an objective, judgment-free way.
E = Express. As in, express to the other person involved how the situation made you feel.
A = Assert. That is, assert yourself by stating clearly and concisely what you want or don’t want.
R = Reinforce. Make it clear why you desire a given outcome.
M = Mindfulness. Stay in the moment, focused on the situation and the goal.
A = Appear. As in, appear confident in your person and your requests.
N = Negotiate. Be flexible. Acknowledge the need to give and take

The last of the three types of effectiveness is Relationship Effectiveness. For Relationship Effectiveness the acronym is GIVE, which stands for:

G = Gentleness. Avoid appearing aggressive, passing verbal judgment or using a threatening manner.
I = Interested. That is, show you are interested in a mutually satisfying outcome by appearing interested in what the other person is saying.
V = Validate. We all crave validation, including the other person in your interaction. So acknowledge their feelings and point of view.
E = Easy. That is, stay clear of the emotional edge by adopting an easy, light-hearted manner.

Contact DBT London

To learn more about DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness 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
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