DBT Core Mindfulness Skills

DBT mindfulness skills

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to whatever we’re experiencing in the present moment. We’re aware of what’s going on around us in our environment. And we’re aware of our thoughts, our feelings and emotions, sensations in our bodies, and our actions and behavior. And we simply observe these elements nonjudgmentally and with acceptance, without reacting to, or fighting against them.

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), there are three goals of mindfulness skills:

  • To reduce suffering, such as emotional pain, tension and stress; and to increase happiness
  • To increase control of our minds instead of allowing our minds control us
  • To experience reality as it is and live life with our eyes wide open

There are seven core mindfulness skills in DBT:

Wise Mind

The “What” DBT mindfulness skills:

  • observing
  • describing
  • participating

The “How” DBT mindfulness skills:

  • nonjudgmentally
  • one-mindfully
  • effectively

We call these “Core” mindfulness skills because mindfulness lies at the core of DBT. And we learn core mindfulness skills first because they provide the foundation we need in order to practice the other DBT skills.

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