Intro to DBT’s Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

This week in my DBT Skills Group, we started the fourth and final (noooooooo!) module within DBT known as Interpersonal Effectiveness.

First of all we looked at what factors can get in the way of being able to be effective within relationships. We looked at this from three angles:

  1. Objectives Effectiveness: getting what you want or need from another person – knowing your limits, having your say, getting your opinion across, setting boundaries, resolving conflicts, etc.
  2. Relationship Effectiveness: keeping and improving relationships with other people – considering the other person’s needs, treating them with respect, working out what you want long-term from the relationship, maintaining meaningful connections, etc.
  3. Self-Respect Effectiveness: keeping or improving self-respect within relationships – respecting your own values and beliefs, acting in line with your morals and long-term goals, ending hopeless relationships, being effective, improving your sense of empowerment, etc.

We found that the main factors getting in the way of Interpersonal Effectiveness were:

  • Lacking the Interpersonal Effectiveness skills needed
  • Not knowing what you want or need from a relationship
  • The intensity of current emotions getting in the way of being able to act effectively in the moment
  • Impulsiveness and focusing on a short-term goal as opposed to considering what is most effective in the long-term
  • The other person making it more challenging to be effective within that specific relationship
  • Your thoughts and beliefs about yourself or others get in the way

Based on the last point above, our homework for the week is to look at some of the myths we tell ourselves which may get in the way of being Interpersonally Effective. Below are the worksheets we have to fill in. For each thought we relate to on the list, we have to come up with an alternative sentence to challenge the emotional myth.

For example, no. 1, “I don’t deserve to get what I want or need”, could be challenged with the counter-argument, “I deserve to get what I want or need just as much as everybody else does”.

See if you can go through the list, exploring myths that apply to you and challenging them as you go along:


10 thoughts on “Intro to DBT’s Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

  1. Self-respect has been a big focus for me in interpersonal effectiveness. I am used to sacrificing everything to make sure the person I am speaking with gets what they want/need that I usually end up disregarding all of my values and wants/needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pretty much exactly the same. I totally relate. I’m happy to hear you’re working on it and hope that it helps you take care of yourself – like I said you deserve to have your wants and needs met just as much as anybody else does 🙂
      Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

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