interpersonal effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness

interpersonal effectiveness 2Once someone has finished their mindfulness training in DBT they are then encouraged to go on to the next set of skills which is called interpersonal effectiveness. These are skills that tend to be very important. The reason they are so important is that they deal with how a person communicates with other people. Interpersonal effectiveness can have a huge impact on the quality of their relationships along with how one handles their interactions.

Communicating More Effectively

Through the DBT skills of interpersonal effectiveness, clients are taught the skills they need to know how to approach different conversations with more thoughtfulness and in a more deliberate manner. It teaches them to stop reacting and acting in an impulsive manner because of their intense emotions or stress.

There are two main components that allow the clients to gain the ability to actually ask for something, to know when to say no to some requests, whenever it is appropriate. There are three different kinds of effectiveness that will be addressed in interpersonal effectiveness that have to be addressed:

  1. Effectiveness that’s objective
  2. Effectiveness in relationships
  3. Self-respect that’s effective

Any Situation Needs the Three Effectiveness Factors

No matter what the situation is, the three factors mentioned above need to be considered along with prioritizing. Any individual client will be more satisfied with their interactions and the outcome of them if they address their priorities.

Goals of The Three Effectiveness Factors

The meaning of objective effectiveness when dealing with interpersonal effectiveness points to the goal of the actual interaction. This is often the actual tangible outcome of the interaction. One simple example might be when a wife asks if her husband would call her whenever he might have to work late.

The goal of relationship effectiveness is basically about having a relationship that is free of conflict. An example of this might be a wife ranking her emotional closeness along with harmony being her top priority.

The goal of self-respect effectiveness could be the number one priority for someone who may feel that their partner has failed to show them respect.

DBT Uses Three Acronyms for Interpersonal Effectiveness

DBT utilizes acronyms in many areas and for interpersonal effectiveness, they offer three for their clients to work with.


Describe – This deals with describing a situation in solid terms and with no judgment.

Express – Learn to express their feelings and how to convey them to others and letting them know how a situation makes them feel.

Assert – Teaches clients how to assert their wishes and clearly state what they want or don’t want to do.

Reinforce – Clients learn to reinforce why they desire a desirable outcome and how to reward those who do respond in a positive manner to a request.

Mindful – Clients are taught to be mindful and to be present in the current moment and to stay focused on their goal.

Appear – Teaches their clients to appear confident and to learn to adopt a more confident tone and posture and to always keep eye contact with others.

Negotiate – They learn to be willing to negotiate and to give in so they can obtain what they want by understanding that both involved have their own valid feelings and needs.


Give works with relationship effectiveness.interpersonal effectiveness 3

Gentle – Clients are taught to deal with other people in a gentle and a non-threatening way. They are also taught to avoid comments that attack or are judgmental.

Interested – This is a skill that allows clients to act interested in others by really listening to them without interrupting them.

Validate – Clients learn to acknowledge and validate others feelings, opinions, and wishes.

Easy – Teaches clients to always try to assume a manner that is easy by using a more light-hearted and humorous tone always making sure to keep a smile on their face.


This acronym deals with self-respect effectiveness.

Fair – Teaches clients to be fair to themselves as well as with others. Learn to try and avoid any resentments on either side.

Apologize – Teaches clients to learn to apologize far less and to also take responsibility when it’s appropriate.

Stick – Clients learn to stick to their values. They learn not compromise their integrity in order to gain what they want.

Truthful – Finally they are taught to be truthful. To avoid acting like they are helpless in order to manipulate other people.

Increases Positive Outcomes

DBT and its interpersonal effectiveness skills tend to be able to increase more positive outcomes in a clients life. No matter how a client prioritizes their objectives, self-respect, or relationship interactions. These skills can still help them to obtain positive outcomes.

When clients use the DEAR MAN, GIVE, & FAST interpersonal effectiveness skills will learn to convey their needs and their wishes far more clearly. Because of this, the other person in their relationship won’t have to feel like they have to read their mind. These skills help them to ask for the things they want with respect and integrity. It also teaches them to be considerate of the others feelings which help to preserve their relationship.