Tips from group therapy

There have been a lot of issues dealing with mental health and suicide lately and I know that that can take a toll on those of us who deal with some form of mental illness everyday. As I have mentioned in another post, My thoughts before and after therapy, I have dealt with ADHD and social anxiety for almost all my life. For about two years I was in a group therapy called DBT. That stands for dialectical behavioral therapy and through it I learned basic skills and tools to help me manage my emotions. I wanted to share three tips for those who may deal with similar issues. I would like to make a couple of disclaimers before I continue. First, I am not a licensed therapist so please don’t take any words that I say as professional. These are just things I have learned along the way. Second, I have a firm belief that everyone should attend therapy at least once. It is not just for when you are in the middle of a traumatic situation, it is also just for having someone to talk to about your everyday who can give your professional advice. So although I would love for anyone reading this to use these tips throughout your life, I’d also love to see everyone reach out to a professional.


Interpersonal Effectiveness: DEAR MAN GIVE FAST


Most of the lessons that I learned in DBT were taught through acronyms. This one is all about how to properly deal with conflict or just how to communicate with people in general. I loved learning this acronym because I often avoid conflict out of fear of someone not liking me so I’ll compromise when it is not called for. For more information check out this website


DEAR MAN: Using Objective effectiveness

  • Describe the problem factually and without judgment
  • Express your feelings about the problem. Emphasize  “I feel” instead of “You make me feel” statements
  • Assert yourself by stating exactly what it is you want as simply and clearly as possible
  • Reinforce getting what you want by describing why the other person would benefit from helping you
  • Mindful attention to own biases, intense feelings, invalidating others/self & urges to engage in problematic actions.
  • Appear Confident by using eye contact skillfully, paying attention to body language, and tone of voice
  • Negotiate terms by being willing to make a compromise, having a plan B ready to offer as an alternative

GIVE: Using Relationship Effectiveness

  • Gentle manner even if you are angry. Strive to treat people with a degree of respect that reflects kindness
  • Interested  in others points. Pay attention to others ideas and show you are listening by nodding, eye contact, etc.
  • Validate others thoughts/feelings/statement. Reflect back what others say without parroting & check facts
  • Easy Manner in communicating. Maintain awareness to body posture; tone, volume and speed of voice; and smile

FAST: Self-respect effectiveness

  • Fair in interpretations/negotiations. Strive to come to solutions that are mutually beneficial and ethical
  • Apologies (no Apologies) Do not apologize for disagreeing if doing so contradicts your values.
  • Stick to values by figuring out what your personal values are and not giving them up to appease others.
  • Truthful communication, striving for honesty and authenticity in what and how you communicate with others.



This acronym is probably the most useful for everyday. Each letter stands for a different issue with can cause your emotions to be unbalanced. So if you ever feel off, think about this acronym and fix one of these problems and you might feel better afterwards.


Physical Illness (Treat)

Eating (Balance)

Altering Drugs (Avoid mind altering drugs)

Sleep (Balance)

Exercise (Get)




As a business woman, I found this acronym helpful because it is a great way to deal with any big goals you have in your life. Sometimes when something feels too big, I can get overwhelmed and then procrastinate on it. Using the VITALS acronym helps me dive right into the task at hand. Check out this website for more information


Validate (Validate your emotions on your goal. Whether good or bad, your emotions are real)

Imagine (Imagine what it will feel like to complete your goal)

Take Small Steps (Break down your goal into smaller steps)

Applaud Yourself (Enjoy the feeling of making progress in your goal. Cheer yourself on)

Lighten the Load (List the specifics to yourself of how finishing this goal will make you feel better and take away negative emotions)

Sweeten the Pot (Reward yourself along the way)


Here is a cheat sheet with some more of the different tips I learned in DBT:


I hope that everyone reading this has learned at least one tip which will help you along this journey we call life. If you have any tips you’ve learned while in therapy please comment below. Also comment if you just have a question or any other type of comment. And please don’t forget to like this post and follow my blog by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.




7 thoughts on “Tips from group therapy

    • Oh gosh! That’s a tough question because they all deal with different parts of my life but I guess I’d have to say DEAR MAN GIVE FAST because as I mentioned I have issues with dealing with conflict and another thing I didn’t mention (on the opposite spectrum) is I can be blunt when it comes to business so the GIVE FAST helps me with that.


  1. Interesting post! I wish I had read this when I struggled with anxiety after my daughter’s injury. I especially liked the chart. Thanks for sharing!


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