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The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance
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The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  4,026 ratings  ·  153 reviews
A Clear and Effective Approach to Learning DBT Skills

First developed for treating borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has proven effective as treatment for a range of other mental health problems, especially for those characterized by overwhelming emotions. Research shows that DBT can improve your ability to handle distress without losing co
Paperback, 241 pages
Published 2007 by New Harbinger Publications
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Songs and Sonnets
I've tried out three DBT self-help books, and this one is by far the best. It's well laid out, easy to understand and very user-friendly. It teaches you mindfulness techniques as well as skills for getting through a crisis, improving mood, and getting your needs met in relationships. I've found these particularly useful for coping with stress.

One of the things I like about this book is it doesn't make any assumptions about the reader, or target a particular mental health problem. DBT was origin
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
If I only had read the first chapter of the book, I would have given it more stars. The second chapter is very reliant on religion / spirituality, which is incredibly unhelpful for those of us who are not religious and actually have trauma from religion. Also, as a scientist, I found the misinformation and conflation of scientific information to make is seem magical and divine to be extremely dishonest and disturbing. Upon googling the authors of the book, I discovered that one runs a Christian ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
As a therapist, I'm always on the lookout for self-help books that I can recommend to clients. In the process, I'm often lucky enough to benefit from the material as well. That absolutely happened with this workbook. The authors do a great job laying out the principles of DBT in clear language accessible to any lay person. The pacing of the book makes it practical. Explanations are interspersed with exercises to put new ideas/behaviors into practice. Examples are given throughout to illustrate t ...more
Marisa Bennett
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It seems that many people do NOT want to use great books like this to effect change in their lives that ensure a much higher quality of life. This is not the simplest workbook, but doing it, and then asking your therapist to work on sections where you see you struggle is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing! This workbook is excellent! It works if you work!
✨Bean's Books✨
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing workbook! Everything is well laid out and arranged. Subjects are very well explained. The exercises are easy to follow but really make you dive into yourself. The book has helped me be more present in the "now" and to be much more mindful of my actions, my surroundings and my emotions and reactions. I would definitely recommend this workbook to anyone needing DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) help. ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a lot of work! I feel like I should get some college credits for this. But it was also very helpful. I feel like I have gotten better at practicing mindfulness to calm myself from panic attacks and other scary situations. And I have learned better to remember to be mindful in the first place. Very helpful book!
Matteo Ressa
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing

I wish I would have read this 20 years ago. To read again and again, practicing every day the worksheets. Enlightening.
Aug 28, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Someone told me about Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as I was talking about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the limitations I felt CBT had. I took out this book from the library as I wanted to learn more about the framework of DBT and wanted to see if there were any practices that could help me in terms of personal growth.

I was rather uncomfortable reading this book. The authors do not say if their clients had severe childhood trauma, however, based on the stories they shared, their clients def
Carlton Brown
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well worth the read for those wishing to develop their emotional intelligence, and learn news skills to help you cope with difficult interactions and relationships. Whether you have low emotional intelligence (EQ), borderline autistic tendencies, or suffer from anger, anxiety-depression, or other difficult emotions; you will find value in this book.

The book is divided into four main sections that initially introduce you to, then further explore skills for; distress tolerance, mindfulness, emoti
Erica Filer
Jul 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Amazing clinical resource! Filled with a great amount of interventions and research to support the DBT theory (particularly with trauma).
Apr 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Read this on Suman's recommendation. Important to note that I did these exercises outside the context of therapy. I found them to be really valuable - while the content was not earth-shattering, working through them one by one was more challenging than expected, and I plan to return to this workbook regularly as I work to improve my mindfulness, emotional regulation, and relationships. I'd recommend that anyone give it a try. ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
So, I tend to be wary of self-help books, because although comforting to read, the information rarely sticks in my mind. For that to happen, you need to incorporate it into your daily routine or actively change your behaviour. Too many self-help books merely try changing your mindset, which isn't enough. Anyway, when I first discovered this book, I'd never heard of DBT before. I was intrigued and curious about it, especially when it seemed like something that could potentially be highly benefici ...more
Jess Bae
Feb 15, 2022 rated it liked it
Marsha Linehan created DBT from the perspective of a person who has struggled with mental illness and found ways to heal herself. Although DBT can be rigorous and even rigid, I've always appreciated how Marsha firmly indicates that the standard American family situation exacerbates temperamental sensitivity and trauma responses. In other words, she decreases the blame and stigma placed on individuals with BPD (who inherit the legacy of hysterical women!). DBT is at its best, IMHO, when it is For ...more
Jun 04, 2021 rated it did not like it
Wow. This was terrible. This might be helpful for someone very young, or...or...someone who doesn’t read? I don’t know. Everything in here is just super basic. The “mindfulness” crap is ridiculous. I should take deep breaths? No shit, for reals?

I think, at this point in my life, I’ve done so much inner work on my own that books like this just make me roll my eyes. I’ve apparently been doing DBT for years; I was just thinking of it as, like, journaling a lot, doing yoga, and trying to be less of
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If it's DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and you suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar, addiction etc Get this books. If you learn your coping skills, and emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal relation....

This book and DBT which is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy WILL help you.
I recently did a DBT intensive outpatient program (IOP), but I actually started in a CBT group so I didn't do the entire course of the DBT program. The book has a lot of worksheets, which is basically what I wanted and one of the things I liked most about the IOP, so I'm slowly going to work through the old skills again and the new ones I missed. ...more
Karen Lukens
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book on how to get mindful, communicate better and get out of your head and the victim mentality.
Jul 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The skills I have learnt and practiced from this workbook over this past year have, quite literally, changed and saved my life. I would recommend DBT to anybody who needs help managing and controlling their emotions. 🖤
This type of therapy is particularly good for individuals who are autistic and/or have BPD like myself. I personally struggled with connecting with it in group therapy, but practicing again on my own really helped me.
J. Gonzalez- Blitz
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mental-health
Good techniques, but seems similar to CBT in many ways. Would like to know more about radical acceptance and mindfulness.
Sarah Marie Liddle
Lots of exercises.
Ashley Peterson
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood, and Jeffrey Brantley is a self-help workbook that covers the major skills involved in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

DBT is considered the gold standard for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, but its usefulness is not limited to people with BPD. DBT is very skills-based, and many of the skills are quite broadly applicable.

The introduction of this book indicates that it’s written both for people
Joshua Lawson
Lately I’ve been studying the principles and practices of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. DBT is an innovative new approach that is proving itself to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for people with emotion regulation issues and even extreme personality disorders.

One thing I’ve noticed about DBT is that it teaches all the psychological tools most of us failed to receive as children, such as mindfulness, radical acceptance, and various conflict resolution skills. In effect, therapist
Very easy to follow book with helpful skills and exercises based on DBT. I have recently been researching Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder for a friend and really enjoyed learning about mindfulness. I found that the mindfulness skills could be used in my own life and wanted to delve a bit deeper into all of DBT. In reading this book though I realized that while most would consider me sensitive and my emotions even I would admit can sometimes be over ...more
Kaela McNeil
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me because I have complex PTSD. I found that the ideas behind the chapters -- about mindfulness and emotional regulation, etc. -- to be helpful, but in practice the book was difficult to follow. For instance, chapter 1 talks about distress tolerance, showing readers how destructive behaviors lead to feeling better temporarily but long term have detrimental effects towards feeling "better." The workbook has a few worksheets in this chapter to come up with coping strat ...more
Angel Graham
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm working with this book, slowly but surely. I read it first, then reread it, noting which things I wanted to work on first. Now, I'm reading it a third time, and slowly working through the exercises. I was part of a Marsha Lineham DBT group for nearly 2 years, and this follows much of the same principles, but puts it into easy to read and understand language for a person to work with alone.

You don't have to have done a DBT group for this to be useful. If you simply want to become more mindful
Lee Cadwallader-Allan
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book to work through in a therapy setting. Covered this over the course of 7 weeks in a group setting. It is a book you have to regularly refer too though otherwise the skills learnt are wasted. Would have been good to have an audio CD with some of the exercises on as a lot are suited to listening and following than reading.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of exercises, but nothing new fundamentally. It offers hardly any explanation or theory.


I read the whole book again. It's more like a comprehensive therapy system, the core of it is mindfulness, with some additional communication techniques, Not very different from ACT.

In terms of mindfulness, better to learn mindfulness directly from other sources.
an elf
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health
An incredibly worthwhile tool to manage existing in the world, especially if you've developed unhelpful coping mechanisms from trauma. My copy is full of sticky notes and highlighted sections, the skills taught are life-long practices that work if you work them. ...more
useful skills for therapy
Tara Hawkins
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Great for anyone who struggles with overwhelming emotions or ineffective communication.
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Matthew McKay, PhD, is a professor of psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, and author of more than 30 professional psychology and self-help books which have sold a combined total of more than 3 million copies. He is co-founder of independent self-help publisher, New Harbinger Publications. He was the clinical director of Haight Ashbury Psychological Services in San Francisco for twenty ...more

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“When a person is in emotional pain, it’s hard to be rational and to think of a good solution. Nevertheless, many of the coping strategies used by people with overwhelming emotions only serve to make their problems worse.” 8 likes
“Criticizing yourself all the time or being overly judgmental of a situation is like wearing dark sunglasses indoors.” 6 likes
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