Chain Analysis DBT Worksheets

Uncover valuable emotional insights with our effective chain analysis worksheet tool. Utilizing DBT techniques, you can dive into your emotional reactions and work towards a healthier state of mind.

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What is a Chain Analysis Worksheet?

Chain analysis, also called functional analysis, is a technique practitioners use during cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Though versatile and useful for both therapies, the flow of a chain analysis and its worksheet content will differ because of their purposes, goals, and natures of the sessions.

With regards to a chain analysis worksheet for DBT sessions, practitioners utilize this worksheet to guide their patients to go beyond thought recognition and redirection. There are additional questions and instructions that aid the patient in exploring the factors that cause or affect their problematic behavior. In addition, there are instructions that help them accept their thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as how or what to change moving forward. All of these are very much aligned with the purpose of DBT.

Our Chain Analysis Worksheet DBT template, in particular, comes with the following sections and components. Based on a target behavior, you will then need to assess a behavior chain which consists of the following:

  • Problem Behavior
  • Prompting Events
  • Vulnerability
  • Links
  • Consequences
  • Coping/Skillfull Behaviors
  • Prevention
  • Solving
  • Sharing

Aside from questions that will prompt answers, there is also ample space to write responses based on the instructions per section.

At the end of the session or when they give you a filled-out worksheet, you may utilize their answers during your discussion or use this document as a reference in the future for a diagnosis, treatment plan, or the like.

What is DBT?

DBT, otherwise known as dialectical behavioral therapy, is a talk therapy that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It's easy to sometimes confuse the two, however, it is important to remember that DBT works on opposing ideas that help individuals accept the reality of their lives.

Using DBT, clients can learn to change their behaviors healthily and regulate their emotions to manage mental health conditions effectively. It is commonly used for treatment of disorders, such as anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, and suicidal behavior.

DBT can result in less depressive symptoms, negative self-talk, less drug and alcohol misuse, and can elevate positive changes and commitment. One of the best aspects about DBT is that the intervention is effective in both group and individual settings; making it a useful therapy alternative. As a result, this chain analysis works to

Printable Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet

Download this Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet and guide your clients through their therapy treatment.

How does this DBT Chain Analysis worksheet work?

Here are instructions on accessing the worksheet and an overview of the sections and their corresponding instructions. 

Access and Download the Template

Have a copy on hand by clicking the “Use this Template” or “Download this Template” button above. Alternatively, you can also search for “DBT Chain Analysis” in Carepatron’s template library on the website and app. 

Fill Out the Template

After writing down one’s name, date, and physician’s name, it’s best that whoever answers the worksheet follows the flow provided in the template.


Now you know what you’ll be working with when you download our template, look below for a glimpse of the instructions for each section.

  1. Behavior - In this section, the patient is asked to describe the problem behavior in detail and what they did, thought, or felt during that time, if possible. In this step, the patient must choose only one behavior to address. Other behaviors can be done on a separate sheet. 
  1. Events - Here, the patient is asked to describe the event that happened before the behavior. They may be asked to answer the when, where, and what of the event and share, if any, their actions, thoughts, and feelings during that event. 
  1. Vulnerability - Afterwards, patients are asked to identify what may have made them vulnerable to the event. Though answers are provided in the template, the patient is highly encouraged to reflect on other factors or causes. You may also provide additional examples as a last resort should they get stuck. 
  1. Links - Compared to the other sections, in this section, the patient is asked only to list the chain of events leading to the behavior. This may be other events or even behaviors. As a guide, we’ve provided a list of the different types of links they may write down, which are: actions, bodily sensations, cognitions, events, or feelings. 
  1. Consequences - For every action or behavior, there will always be a corresponding consequence, which is exactly what the patient is asked to list in this section. More specifically, they’re asked to write down the harmful consequences of their behavior towards themselves, their environment, and others. 
  1. Coping/Skillful Behaviors - So the patient is aware of their capability in dealing with said behavior, they are asked to recognize what they could’ve done differently and write it down in this section. 
  1. Prevention - The most straightforward of all sections, the only instruction here is to write down what the patient believes they can do in the future to prevent being vulnerable. 
  1. Solving  - This section is reserved for the patient’s plans should the event happen again as well as steps they can take to correct the harm they have caused themselves and others. 
  1. Sharing - To conclude, in this section, the patient has the freedom to write down any thoughts or feelings that don’t fit under any of the previous sections in the worksheet. 

Discuss Further

Though a patient can develop their own strategy with this resource, it’s encouraged that they discuss their answers with you since DBT usually involves several sessions. Full DBT treatment can take from 6 months to 1 year to complete. In more severe cases, this can be longer.

Chain Analysis DBT Example (Sample)

We’ve produced a chain analysis worksheet example to help you picture how this template can benefit your practice. Utilize it to gain a better understanding of the questions, their instructions, and how to possibly respond to them. 

View the sample here and download a copy for offline use by clicking the “Download Example PDF”. 

Download this Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet Example (Sample) here:

Chain Analysis DBT example (sample)

When to use these worksheets for Chain Analysis DBT?

Using these chain analysis worksheets during dialectical behavioral sessions, whether that’s individual or group, will benefit both the patient and the practitioner.


Generally, it can be a useful resource for those who are treating or managing personality and mental health disorders, especially if the patient is exhibiting maladaptive behavior that’s dangerous, risky, or harmful.

For specificity’s sake, however, it’s best that a practitioner utilize this worksheet when they’re caring for a patient diagnosed with the following:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance Use Disorder 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders (e.g. binge eating and bulimia)
  • Self-harm/Suicidal Behaviors

Who is this Printable Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet PDF for?

Any medical practitioner who has a DBT certification can use this worksheet to treat patients diagnosed with a personality or mental health disorder. To be more specific, the following practitioners will benefit the most from a printable PDF copy of this chain analysis worksheet:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Counselor
  • Psychotherapist

Other professionals who may also use this as long as they are certified are teachers and social workers. Of course, if you happen across this worksheet and want to try it for yourself, feel free to.

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Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Worksheets

Provides Structure and Guidance

Whether the patient opts to answer the free worksheet themselves or have you fill it out while they answer the questions verbally, using this template will make it easier for both of you to organize your thoughts. Moreover, since our templates come with prompts and guiding questions, it’ll be much easier for the patient to focus on remembering what is being asked in every section rather than beating the bush. 

Encourages Patient-Doctor Communication

Unlike a school where students simply pass on completed worksheets, a DBT chain analysis worksheet encourages further conversation and discussion between the practitioner and patient. Either of the two parties can use any section of the template as a jump-off point for clarification and conversation to aid the patient in developing a more effective self-help strategy. 


In cases where the patient needs a constant reminder should a similar event occur or if they would like to figure things out themselves, the template can be a helpful resource. They’ll be empowered to make decisions that are rooted in the basis of their previous choices or experiences. 

Tracking Progress

Since DBT will require that a patient attend sessions weekly for a certain period of time, having a template that can track the intervention progress on a particular problem behavior can aid in evaluating if the particular strategy is effective or not. It’ll also help determine when and how much longer the next session has to be or how long they may have to undergo therapy.

Fully Digital

With our template being fully digital, you can send a copy of the worksheet to your patient and access it anytime and anywhere should the need arise. Moreover, not only does a digital file save costs for papers, inks, and cabinets, but if you sign up at Carepatron, you’ll immediately have a secure EHR to store your filled-up worksheets in. 

Commonly asked questions

Who created the Chain Analysis DBT?

Psychiatrist Marsha Linehan, who is also the inventor of DBT, is the creator of the chain analysis technique one can use during DBT.

How to interpret the Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet?

Interpretation will vary depending on the behavior and all the factors that affect it. It’s best that a patient consults with a practitioner before reaching any conclusions or moving forward with any self-help strategy. 

What does the Chain Analysis DBT Worksheet do?

It aids a practitioner conducting dialectical behavioral therapy by being both a guide during sessions and a resource for future sessions and interventions. It benefits mental health, and improves client state of well-being through helping the individual accept their mental state.

Why Use this DBT app?

Because beyond providing this guide and template for a chain analysis worksheet for DBT, Carepatron can also equip you with the means and tools to handle and accomplish administrative tasks efficiently and with ease so you can dedicate your time and energy to patient care.

To explain further, Carepatron is a leading practice management software. With our help, you can create streamlined business and clinical workflows that’ll save time, effort, and money. If you sign up, you’ll have free access to all of our features including

  • Over 100 editable and printable templates in PDF form of tests, surveys, assessments, and more
  • A HIPAA-compliant and secure EHR for all your digital notes and client medical and bill history
  • Multiple scheduling and telehealth software applications
  • An automated payment system you can set up for your client

All these and more if you give Carepatron a try today for free!

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Who created the Chain Analysis DBT?
Who created the Chain Analysis DBT?
Written by
Patricia Buenaventura
Patricia Buenaventura

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