DBT Therapy Worksheets

All About These Worksheets

DBT therapy worksheets are integral tools that bring structure and clarity to the therapeutic journey. By offering exercises that cater to different aspects of emotional and interpersonal challenges, these worksheets ensure a comprehensive approach to healing and skill-building. Whether it’s mastering the art of mindfulness, navigating emotional storms, or building robust, healthy relationships, DBT.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s. Initially designed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT has since been adapted for a range of mental health disorders. It focuses on teaching patients skills to cope with emotional instability, improve interpersonal effectiveness, increase distress tolerance, and enhance mindfulness. DBT therapy worksheets are tools used within this therapeutic framework to help individuals practice and internalize these skills.

Types of Exercises on DBT Therapy Worksheets

Mindfulness Exercises – These are foundational in DBT and aim to promote awareness, presence, and acceptance.

Example: A common worksheet might list mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing, body scan, or observing thoughts without judgment.

Teaching Objective: Helps individuals ground themselves in the present moment, develop non-judgmental self-awareness, and detach from reactive or harmful patterns of thought.

Distress Tolerance Exercises – These are designed to enhance an individual’s ability to tolerate and survive crises without making them worse.

Example: Worksheets might include the “STOP” technique (Stop, Take a step back, Observe, Proceed mindfully) or pros and cons lists to weigh the benefits of tolerating distress versus reacting impulsively.

Teaching Objective: Equips individuals with tools to endure and navigate challenging situations without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.

Emotion Regulation Exercises – These exercises help individuals understand and manage their emotions better.

Example: A worksheet might guide users to identify and label their emotions, discern events that trigger these emotions, and develop strategies to change unwanted emotions.

Teaching Objective: Supports individuals in recognizing and validating their emotional experiences while also providing tools to modulate intensity or frequency of undesired emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness Exercises – These focus on teaching techniques to communicate and behave effectively in relationships.

Example: Worksheets might outline the “DEAR MAN” technique (Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, stay Mindful, Appear confident, Negotiate) for effective communication.

Teaching Objective: Helps individuals advocate for their needs, set boundaries, and build fulfilling, balanced relationships.

Crisis Survival Strategies – These provide immediate tools to use during intense emotional crises.

Example: A common worksheet might highlight the “TIPP” technique (Temperature change, Intense exercise, Paced breathing, Paired muscle relaxation) to rapidly change one’s emotional state.

Teaching Objective: Offers fast-acting strategies to combat overwhelming emotions or urges in the moment, allowing time for them to pass or for the individual to seek further support.

Validation Exercises – These exercises teach individuals to validate their own feelings and experiences, as well as those of others.

Example: Worksheets might guide users through steps of self-validation or offer scenarios where they must practice validating another’s perspective.

Teaching Objective: Promotes self-compassion, understanding, and empathy, reducing internal and external conflicts.

Behavior Chain Analysis – This is a structured way to dissect problematic behaviors, understand their causes, and develop solutions.

Example: A worksheet might guide the user in breaking down a specific incident: identifying the prompting event, vulnerabilities, links in the behavioral chain, and the resulting problem behavior. It will then help them identify solution strategies.

Teaching Objective: Facilitates insight into patterns of behavior, allowing for the development of preventative strategies and alternative actions.

The Value

DBT therapy worksheets serve as tangible, structured tools within a therapeutic process that can sometimes feel intangible or overwhelming. By putting pen to paper:

Reinforcement – Worksheets allow for repetition, which helps reinforce DBT concepts and strategies, making them more accessible in daily life.

Self-reflection – Writing offers a platform for introspection, helping individuals identify patterns, triggers, and areas of growth.

Measurement – Over time, completed worksheets can serve as a gauge of progress, showing how skills have been adopted or how perspectives have shifted.

Accessibility – Even outside of therapy sessions, worksheets can serve as reminders or tools, bringing therapeutic concepts into real-world contexts.