DBT Workbook

Discover robust emotional regulation and self-improvement tools with DBT Workbooks. Download this PDF now!

By Bernard Ramirez on Jun 20, 2024.


Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is a DBT Workbook?

A DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) Workbook is a valuable resource designed to help individuals learn and apply the principles and techniques of DBT, a proven therapeutic approach for emotional regulation and self-improvement. Psychologist Dr. Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT to address complex and challenging emotional struggles, such as borderline personality disorder. However, its techniques have also been found effective for a wide range of mental health concerns.

A DBT Workbook serves as a comprehensive guide that outlines the key components of DBT and provides practical exercises, worksheets, and strategies to enhance emotional well-being and coping skills. It typically consists of sections focusing on core areas like mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

The workbook begins by introducing the concept of mindfulness, emphasizing the importance of present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It then delves into distress tolerance, equipping individuals with practical tools to tolerate and manage distressing situations without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.

The emotion regulation section helps individuals identify and understand their emotions, develop healthy ways to regulate them and build resilience in the face of emotional challenges. Lastly, the workbook addresses interpersonal effectiveness, teaching individuals practical communication skills, assertiveness, and boundary-setting in relationships.

Throughout the workbook, individuals are encouraged to actively engage in exercises, journaling, and self-reflection, which facilitate the integration of DBT principles into their daily lives. By consistently working through the exercises and applying the strategies outlined in the workbook, individuals can cultivate a stronger sense of self-awareness, emotional regulation, and healthier coping mechanisms.

DBT Workbooks can be used independently, in conjunction with therapy, or as a resource for mental health professionals. They provide a structured and accessible way to learn and practice the skills and techniques of DBT, promoting personal growth, emotional resilience, and overall well-being.

Printable DBT Workbook

Download this DBT Workbook and help your patients improve their emotional regulation.

How does it work?

A DBT workbook is a self-help book that teaches the skills of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of therapy that helps people manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It is often used to treat borderline personality disorder, but it can also be helpful for people with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

A DBT workbook typically includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Mindfulness: This is the ability to pay attention to the present moment without judgment.
  • Emotion regulation: This is the ability to manage strong emotions healthily.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness is the ability to clearly and assertively communicate your needs and wants clearly and assertively.
  • Distress tolerance: This is the ability to cope with difficult emotions and situations without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.

The workbook also includes exercises and worksheets that help you practice the skills you learn. These exercises can be done on your own or with a therapist.

Here are the steps involved in using a DBT workbook:

Choose a workbook

Many different DBT workbooks are available, so choosing one right for you is essential. Consider your needs and goals, and select a workbook that a qualified therapist or author writes.

Read the workbook

The first step is to read the workbook and learn about the skills of DBT. This will give you a foundation for the exercises that follow.

Do the exercises

The workbook includes exercises and worksheets that help you practice the skills you learn. It is important to do these exercises regularly to learn and master the skills.

Get help from a therapist

If you are struggling with the exercises or have any questions, getting help from a therapist is helpful. A therapist can provide support and guidance as you work through the workbook.

Here are some pointers for using a DBT workbook:

  • Be patient: It takes time to learn and master the skills of DBT. Keep going even if you do not see results immediately.
  • Be consistent: The more you practice the skills, the better you will use them.
  • Be flexible: The skills of DBT can be adapted to different situations. Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

If you are committed to learning and using the skills of DBT, a workbook can be a helpful resource. It can provide you with the information and skills to manage your emotions and improve your mental health.

DBT Workbook Example (sample)

The template example provided is a structured format for a DBT patient to reflect on components of their life that they value, set intentions for those components, and identify committed actions they are willing to take to support their intentions. The template consists of three sections, each addressing a different valued component.

This template is designed to facilitate self-reflection, goal-setting, and the identification of actionable steps to enhance various aspects of the patient's life. By explicitly stating their intentions and committing to specific actions, the patient can actively work towards their goals and align their behaviors with their values. It promotes personal growth, self-awareness, and skills development necessary for a more fulfilling life.

Download this DBT Workbook Example (Sample) here:

DBT Workbook Example (sample)

When would you use this Template?

The provided template can be valuable and applicable in various situations where individuals seek to align their actions with their values, set intentions, and take committed steps toward personal growth. Here are a few scenarios where this template can be effectively utilized:

Personal Development

This template can serve as a guide when an individual wants to prioritize their well-being, emotional health, or personal growth. It helps them identify the specific components of their life they value and wish to focus on, such as mental health, relationships, career, or self-care. By setting intentions and outlining committed actions, individuals can work towards their desired outcomes and make positive changes.

Goal Setting

Whether it is in the context of career advancement, educational pursuits, or personal aspirations, the template can assist individuals in clarifying their goals. Individuals gain clarity about their aspirations by specifying the valued component and setting intentions. The committed actions become the stepping stones toward achieving those goals, providing a structured approach to success.

Therapy and Treatment

The template can be incorporated into therapy sessions, especially when utilizing DBT principles. It enables patients to identify and prioritize the areas of their life that they want to address and improve. Setting intentions and committing to specific actions enhances the therapeutic process and empowers individuals to take an active role in their healing journey.

Lifestyle Changes

When someone wants to make positive changes in their lifestyle, such as adopting healthier habits, managing stress, or improving relationships, this template can be a helpful tool. It encourages individuals to reflect on their values, identify areas where they want to transform, and establish intentions aligned with them. The committed actions provide a roadmap for implementing and sustaining those changes.

Who are these DBT workbooks for?

DBT workbooks are valuable resources catering to diverse individuals seeking emotional regulation, self-improvement, and skills development. Here are the key groups that can benefit from DBT workbooks:

Individuals in Therapy

Individuals in therapy, particularly those incorporating Dialectical Behavior Therapy principles, can use these workbooks to reinforce and supplement the skills taught in sessions. They are practical tools for applying techniques, enhancing therapy, and fostering continuous growth.

Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals like therapists, counselors, and psychologists can integrate these resources into treatment plans as additional tools. The workbooks offer structured exercises, worksheets, and strategies aligned with DBT principles, enabling professionals to support clients and facilitate skill-building.

Self-Help and Personal Development

Accessible and user-friendly, DBT workbooks are suitable for self-help and personal development journeys. They empower individuals motivated to improve emotional well-being, cope with distress, enhance relationships, and develop life skills. The guidance, exercises, and tools provided facilitate self-reflection and the application of DBT techniques.

Support Groups

In support group settings, DBT workbooks provide a common framework for members facing similar challenges. They foster learning and practice of DBT skills, allowing for sharing experiences and supporting each other's growth. Facilitators benefit from structured content and exercises for effective group sessions.

Educational Institutions

Educational institutions, such as schools and counseling centers, can utilize DBT workbooks in psychoeducation programs, workshops, and support services. Students are equipped with emotional regulation tools, coping skills, and strategies for interpersonal effectiveness, supporting their personal and academic development.

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Benefits of Using the DBT Workbook:

Goal Clarity

The template helps individuals clarify the components of their life they value, allowing them to set specific intentions for personal growth and well-being.

Actionable Steps

The template prompts individuals to identify committed actions they are willing to take, providing a clear roadmap for implementing positive changes and achieving their goals.

Alignment with Values

By reflecting on valued components and setting intentions, the template promotes alignment between an individual's actions and core values, fostering a sense of authenticity and purpose.

Enhanced Accountability

The template encourages individuals to note when to begin their committed actions, promoting accountability and a sense of responsibility for their personal growth journey.

Skill Application

The template is designed to support the application of DBT techniques and principles, allowing individuals to practice and reinforce skills outside of therapy sessions, leading to greater skill mastery.

Personal Empowerment

By actively engaging with the template and taking committed actions, individuals experience a sense of empowerment and control over their well-being, fostering self-confidence and resilience.

Research & Evidence

DBT workbooks have a rich history rooted in the development of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s. Dr. Linehan recognized the need for a comprehensive therapeutic approach for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who often struggle with emotional regulation and interpersonal difficulties.

Over the years, DBT has expanded beyond BPD and has shown effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders. DBT workbooks emerged as a resource to support individuals in applying DBT principles and acquiring the necessary skills for emotional well-being.

Research studies have investigated the efficacy of DBT workbooks and their impact on treatment outcomes. While a limited number of specific studies focused solely on DBT workbooks, the broader body of research on DBT provides evidence of its effectiveness. Several key findings support the use of DBT workbooks:

  • Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs): Numerous RCTs have demonstrated the efficacy of DBT in reducing self-harm behaviors and suicide attempts and improving overall functioning in individuals with BPD.
  • Treatment Guidelines: DBT is recognized and recommended as an evidence-based treatment by various professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association (APA), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Outcome Studies: Long-term outcomes have shown that DBT significantly improves areas such as emotion regulation, interpersonal functioning, and overall quality of life.
  • Integration with Therapy: DBT workbooks are often used with therapy, reinforcing and extending the therapeutic process. Research indicates that integrating DBT skills training with individual therapy enhances treatment outcomes.
  • Patient Satisfaction: Patient feedback and satisfaction surveys consistently report positive experiences with DBT workbooks, highlighting their usefulness in developing skills, promoting self-reflection, and supporting personal growth.

While more specific research directly focusing on DBT workbooks is needed, the existing evidence base for DBT as a comprehensive therapeutic approach supports the value and efficacy of using DBT workbooks as a resource for individuals in therapy.

Links to Available DBT Workbooks

Why use Carepatron as your DBT Workbook app?

Carepatron is a highly recommended platform for DBT work, offering comprehensive resources and a user-friendly interface. It provides an extensive overview of DBT, ensuring users have access to a well-rounded learning experience with various skills, exercises, and worksheets. The platform's intuitive navigation makes it accessible to both beginners and experienced individuals in DBT, and its versatility allows for convenient access across different devices.

Affordability is a vital advantage of Carepatron, making quality DBT resources and support accessible to individuals without financial constraints. The platform also fosters a supportive community where users can connect with others on a similar DBT journey, providing mutual support, motivation, and opportunities for sharing experiences and insights.

Additional benefits of using Carepatron include progress tracking, which motivates users and helps them stay on track, and feedback on their work to identify areas for improvement and skill refinement. The platform's emphasis on community connection further enhances the supportive and encouraging atmosphere of the DBT process.

Therapy Software


McKay, M., Wood, J. C., & Brantley, J. (2016). The dialectical behavior therapy skills workbook: Practical DBT exercises for learning mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. New Harbinger Publications.

Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT® skills training handouts and worksheets, second edition (2nd ed.). Guilford Publications.

McKay, M., Wood, J. C., & Brantley, J. (2018). The dialectical behavior therapy skills card deck: 52 cards for learning mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness—new Harbinger Publications.

Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition. Guilford Publications.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy. (2020). DBT Assignment Workbook. Retrieved from https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/69ead0de/files/uploaded/DBT-Assignment-Workbook_F0220.pdf

Cursos de psicología. (2021, May). Introducción a la Terapia Dialéctico Comportamental (DBT). Retrieved from https://cursosdepsicologia.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/THEDIA1.pdf

What does a DBT workbook cover?
What does a DBT workbook cover?

Commonly asked questions

What does a DBT workbook cover?

DBT workbooks typically cover core areas such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. They provide exercises and techniques to develop these skills and promote personal growth.

How do I use a DBT workbook?

A DBT workbook is used by actively engaging in the exercises, journaling, and self-reflection. It is recommended to work through the workbook systematically, completing exercises and applying strategies in daily life.

Can I use a DBT workbook without therapy?

Yes, a DBT workbook can be used independently as a self-help resource. However, seeking professional guidance and support is always beneficial, especially for complex or severe mental health issues.

Are DBT workbooks only for individuals with a borderline personality disorder?

While DBT was initially developed for borderline personality disorder, its techniques have proven effective for various mental health concerns. DBT workbooks can benefit anyone seeking to enhance emotional well-being and coping skills.

Can mental health professionals use DBT workbooks with their clients?

Absolutely. Mental health professionals can incorporate DBT workbooks into their therapy sessions to reinforce and supplement the skills and techniques taught during therapy. It can enhance the effectiveness of treatment.

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