family skills

Goals of DBT Family Skills Training

family skills 2DBT helps a lot of different people and one way is to offer family skills training for those families that feel they need to learn ways to improve their relationships with family and friends.

Two Main Goals of Family Skills Training

There are two main goals of DBT family skills training that are key to success in the program:

  1. Teaching clients to learn more about how their emotional sensitivity, as well as their dysregulation, impact their relationships with their loved ones.
  2. Teach clients to learn more effective self-management and relationship skills.

By learning these family skills, you will be able to enhance your effectiveness in applying more compassion and wisdom in your daily life. This way you can fully experience along with participating more effectively in your life.

Emotional Sensitivity and Vulnerability

Everyone at one time or another has experienced times of feeling sensitive and emotionally vulnerable. DBT family skills training can help you become more skillful when dealing with issues that might come up. This can be especially true when you might be experiencing negative emotions like fear, shame, sadness, or anger. Even if you share your life with an emotionally sensitive family, as much as it might be challenging and aggravating, it can also be a delight if you know how to handle it.

Not Knowing How to Manage Feelings

Often family members and even friends can often feel lost when not knowing how to manage their personal feelings and needs. Especially when it comes to the need to remain connected and caring to those who seem to be overly sensitive. DBT family skills training provides family members and friends with skills that will help them cope and support those they love more effectively.

What DBT Family Skills Training Offers

There are quite a few things that DBT family skills training has to offer for those who are interested in formulating better relationships with their friends and family members.

Introduction to DBT Family Skills

  • Clients are taught how family skills training relates directly to DBT.
  • Learn to understand the ongoing dialectical patterns found in the functioning of the family.
  • Defines emotional sensitivity. Learn what borderline personality disorder and how to recognize what is called the “Red Zone” along with emotional and imbalance vulnerability.
  • Teaches central, reciprocal impact of emotional dysregulation with individuals who are emotionally vulnerable who are in environments that don’t validate them.
  • It teaches the four working assumptions that matter in relationships.

Self-Awareness in Relationships – Mindfulness Skills 1

  • Learn to understand the four key states of mind and how these influence relationships.
  • Teaches clients to identify their own style of connecting with the different styles that their loved ones use.
  • Learn to appreciate the impact of their emotional climate in their home life when it comes to their state of mind, especially the emotional mind.

What to Do? – Mindfulness Skills 2

  • Clients are taught mindful awareness methods so they can express their “wise mind”.
  • Learn the skill of mindful observation.
  • They learn how to mindfully describe their inner experiences, validation, and how to communicate more effectively.
  • Participate much more mindfully, deeply, and openly in order to engage more honestly and freely in relationships.

How to Do It? – Mindfulness Skills 3

  • Learn to increase the awareness of judging.
  • They are taught to use a non-judgmental description of emotions and situations.
  • Learn to mindfully direct their attention in a relationship.
  • Increase the ability to effectively relate with what is effective or what works.

DBT Skills for Relating Effectively

  • Learn how to apply mindfulness skills in relationships.
  • Learn to appreciate the role of the family’s beliefs, myths, and secrets.
  • Clarify priorities and goals for your objectives, self-respect, and relationship needs.
  • Learn how emotion dysregulation can impact family relations and how they can respond more effectively.


  • Clients are taught about social theory along with empathy.
  • Taught to understand the impact of invalidation.
  • Learn to use the skill of validation and why it’s a vital skill that relates to how to handle emotion dysregulation.

Mindful Observing

  • Learn to understand the function of emotions.
  • Learn to use mindfulness to recognize patterns of emotions and their consequent behaviors.
  • Taught the goals of emotional regulation used for guidance and support.
  • Clients are taught how to use mindfulness in order to understand emotions that are intense.
  • Teach clients how to apply their skills to be able to decrease their vulnerability to emotions that are negative.
  • Learn to apply their family skills to decrease their emotional suffering and how they react to others.

Distress Tolerance Skills

  • Clients will be taught strategy skills to learn how to effectively not resist or to judge situations that might be challenging.
  • Learn to replace their old moods that lead to dependent and self-defeating behaviors by using effective and crisis/survival skills.

Basic Behavioral Principles for Relationships

  • Clients are taught how to recognize what triggers family skills 3behavior issues.
  • Learn to recognize the actual function of behavior issues and how they might unintentionally reinforce these negative behaviors.
  • Clients are taught how to more effectively intervene and understand patterns of problem behaviors.

Reviewing DBT Family Skills

Once clients have gone through the entire family skills program they gather together to review how they can apply their DBT skills with their important relationships.

  • Clients will go over fine-tuning of their skills.
  • Review the DBT family skills and strategies and how they relate to their own values, actions, and goals.
  • Openly discuss the family skills they find most important to each individual family member that they want to commit most to.

This type of counseling can be quite beneficial for families that are struggling with behaviors that they don’t understand. This can be frustrating and disheartening and through DBT family skills training families can learn ways in which they can communicate better, validate one another and learn to live together in a more positive environment.


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