Interpersonal Effectiveness


 In DBT, Interpersonal Effectiveness refers to the skills which help us to

  • Attend to relationships
  • Balance priorities versus demands
  • Balance the 'wants' and 'shoulds'
  • Build a sense of mastery and self-respect

Assertiveness 1

Communication Styles - Passive, Assertive, Aggressive

Assertiveness 2 - Responding to criticism

Assertiveness 3 - Saying No and telling others what we want

Assertiveness leaflet   .pdf (Adobe) file (Assertiveness pages 1,2 & 3 combined as printable document)



In order to increase our effectiveness in dealing with other people, we need to:

  • Clarify what we want from the interaction - be as specific about that as you can
  • Identify what we need to do in order to get the results we want



DEAR MAN - helping us gain our objective

D          Describe the current situation

E          Express your feelings and opinions

A          Assert yourself by asking for what you want, or by saying no

R          Reward the person - let them know what they will get out of it

M          Mindful of objectives without distraction (broken record technique, ignoring attacks)

A          Appear effective and competent (role play, use your acting skills)

N          Negotiate alternative solutions




  • How important is this relationship for me?
  • What do I want this person to feel about me after this interaction?
  • What do I need to do, in order to keep this relationship?


Keeping the Relationship - GIVE

G          Gentle manner without attack or threat

          Interest in the other person

V          Validate the other person without judging

E          Easy manner (with a little humour?)



  • What do I want to feel about myself after this interaction?
  • What do I have to do in order to feel that way about myself?


Keeping to your self-respect - FAST

F          Fair to myself and others

A          No Apologies for being alive

S          Stick to values (not do anything I'll regret later)

T          Truthful without excuses or exaggeration






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Carol Vivyan