DBT – Interpersonal Effectiveness and Validation

So I’ve started DBT group. At the moment since i joined we’ve been working on interpersonal effectiveness skills. We are using the book:

DBT Skills Training: Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd ed., Marsha M. Lineham

We use the DEAR MAN and GIVE FAST acronyms a lot. They stand for:

Describe situation

Express feelings/opinions

Assert request (or say no) directly and stay mindful if necassary

Reinforcing comments to make

Mindful and Appearing confident comments to make

Validatin comments and Easy manner comments. 

Initially we spoke about using and tracking interpersonal skills use. I think this was so that we had an idea of the times to use for practicing skills and when to use situations to complete homework. We played the Dime Game in order to know how strongly to say yes or no to someone. I think this is an important skill and one that I can benefit from. I struggle to say no and sometimes because of this I let people down. However, sometimes I also struggle to ask for help when I need help: so this page is one I will bear in mind. (pg. 176) (Its a MASSIVE book) 

We learnt the following week about how to be mindful in a social situation. This means, from what I gather that beign more relaxed and focused on the social interaction in play is more useful and helpful for making stronger and deeper connectiions with people. This opened my eyes. I would consider myself to now be rather mindful in situations, however I can see how in the past I wasn’t and I was very distant from people in order to protect myself. I no longer feel the need to protect myself however, which is a good step towards a healthier future. Doing these sessions reminds me of the importance of being mindul in social situations with people, and has given me food for thought for when other people aren’t being mindful in situations – for example, playing on their phone whilst having a conversation. 

Today we spoke about validating ourselves and others. In my previous therapy, Schema Therapy, I learnt to validate myself as a human being and that I am equal to others. Through my sport I have learnt to be compassionate to myself in how I talk to mysel in my mind. Others in the group however still struggle with this self value. Therefore, my homework for this week is on validating others in which I need to make sure I pay attention to them, listen actively in conversations, be sensitive to the unsaid – so reading between the lines – express in response to the social interaction, acknowledge and act on what is valid in addition to acting authentically and treating others as my equal. 

This sounds like a lot to analyse from a few social interactions, but it has given me some food for thought.  This is something again I think I have improved on since my past however, I can agree that I need to do some work in this area. So I’m going to try and focus on other people this week and see how it goes. 

I am going on holiday on Friday to Prague for the weekend, so I will be with a friend for the whole time which gives me plenty of time and opportunities to interact with other people in a non-judgemental way. 


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