DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

In Week 5 of my DBT Skills Group, within the Interpersonal Effectiveness module, we looked at how to figure out the level of ‘intensity‘ to use when needing to make or refuse a request.

(Making a request or stating one’s needs comes under the DEARMAN skill. When trying to nurture Relationship Effectiveness, the GIVE skill is used in conjunction. The same goes for the FAST skill, which is used when trying to maintain Self-Respect Effectiveness. Of course, they can all be used simultaneously, as is often necessary.)

Here is the sheet showing how intensely (on a scale akin to passivity at 0, to aggressiveness at 100) to use the above skills:

Sometimes it’s not easy to know what intensity to use. But Marsha solved this problem too! There is a game called the Dime Game – used for either making or refusing a request – which is outlined below:


Depending on the total amount of “money” accumulated, a correlating level of intensity is used. So, if you are asking for something, and you collect 30c for example, scroll up to 3, you will see it instructs you to “Hint openly; take no“. Likewise, if you are trying to refuse a request, and you collect 90c, scroll to 9, you will see it tells you to  “Say no firmly; reisist; negotiate; keep trying“. And so on. Essentially, the more cents you collect, the more intensely you make or refuse your request.

Then, in week 6 we looked at factors getting in the way of the ability to be skilful in relationships, which can be broken down into these main six:

  1. Lack of appropriate skills
  2. Being uncertain of your objective(s)
  3. Short-term goals overriding long-term goals
  4. Emotions getting in the way
  5. Cognitive distortions and worry thoughts
  6. An environment more powerful than oneself

(I was pretty dissociated so don’t remember much of group in week 6, and have been hectic and stressed so am posting less than usual – apologies)

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