Interpersonal response patterns taught in DBT skills training are very similar to those taught in many assertiveness and interpersonal problem-solving classes. They include effective strategies for asking for what one needs, saying no, and coping with interpersonal conflict.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder frequently possess good interpersonal skills in a general sense. The problems arise in the application of these skills to specific situations. An individual may be able to describe effective behavioral sequences when discussing another person encountering a problematic situation, but may be completely incapable of generating or carrying out a similar behavioral sequence when analyzing his or her own situation.
The interpersonal effectiveness module focuses on situations where the objective is to change something (e.g., requesting that someone do something) or to resist changes someone else is trying to make (e.g., saying no). The skills taught are intended to maximize the chances that a person’s goals in a specific situation will be met, while at the same time not damaging either the relationship or the person’s self-respect.
Skills within the Interpersonal effectiveness module
- DEARMAN - to get something
- Acronym for the skillset used to aid you in getting what you want when you ask:
- Describe your situation.
- Express why this is an issue and how you feel about it.
- Assert yourself by asking clearly for what you want.
- Reinforce your position by offering a positive consequence if you were to get what you want.
- Mindful of the situation by focusing on what you want and ignore distractions.
- Appear Confident even if you don’t feel confident.
- Negotiate with a hesitant person and come to a comfortable compromise on your request.
- GIVE - giving something
- This is a skill that can aid you with maintaining your relationships, whether they are friendships, coworkers, family, romantic, etc. It is to be used in conversations. It is another acronym that stands for the following:
- Gentle: Use appropriate language, no verbal or physical attacks, no put downs, avoid sarcasm unless you are sure the person is alright with it, and be courteous and non-judgmental.
- Interested: When the person you are speaking to is talking about something, act interested in what they are saying. Maintain eye contact, ask questions, etc. Do not use your cell phone while having a conversation with another person!
- Validate: Show that you understand a person’s situation and sympathize with them. Validation can be shown through words, body language and/or facial expressions.
- Easy Manner: Be calm and comfortable during conversation, use humor, smile.
- FAST - keeping self respect
- This is a skill to aid you in maintaining your self-respect. It is to be used in combination with the other Interpersonal Effectiveness skills. It is another acronym, and it stands for the following:
- Fair: Be fair to both yourself and the other person.
- Apologies (few): Don’t apologize more than once for what you have done ineffectively, or apologize for something which was not ineffective.
- Stick to Your Values: Stay true to what you believe in and stand by it. Don’t allow others to get you to do things against your values.
- Truthful: Don’t lie. Lying can only pile up and damage relationships and your self-respect.