DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN Worksheet

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Worksheet updated on November 7th, 2023

DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN Worksheet

Interpersonal issues like assertiveness, aggression, and confrontation are often things people struggle to know how to handle. There is a fine line between assertiveness and aggression, hostility, and passivity when dealing with confrontation. Sometimes, it can be difficult for someone in therapy to know which road to take- whether to be assertive, aggressive, or submissive, and the confusion can cause a great deal of inner turmoil and stress.

As therapists, we want our clients to learn how to be assertive without feeling the need to be aggressive, hostile, or passive, but teaching this skill can be challenging when working with someone who struggles with assertive communication. Fortunately, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) offers tools to help therapists teach clients how to be assertive while being patient and understanding in difficult situations and times of conflict. One of the most effective DBT tools for this is DEARMAN.

About This Worksheet

This is the DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN worksheet. This worksheet utilizes the acronym DEARMAN to illustrate the tools needed to be assertive without being aggressive or submissive during a confrontation.

DEARMAN uses the following steps:

  • Describe
  • Express
  • Assert
  • Reinforce
  • Mindful
  • Appear confident
  • Negotiate

By using this worksheet, the client learns how to use these useful tools to be assertive yet fair and patient while dealing with interpersonal conflict. With this worksheet, the client can reflect on a situation and learn how to articulate their point assertively and cooperatively to promote resolution.


The client should work with their therapist when they are completing the worksheet for the first time. This worksheet outlines a process that takes practice, so the client will need direction and education about the DEARMAN process from their therapist.

It takes practice and guidance to understand the concepts outlined in DEARMAN. The worksheet follows the acronym, explaining each of the core skills taught in DEARMAN, so the therapist should be educated in DBT before utilizing this worksheet with clients.

The goal of this worksheet is to teach the client how to healthily express themselves and not sacrifice their needs to meet the needs or desires of others. It is best utilized in one-on-one settings with adults.

Download DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN Worksheet

Link To This Worksheet

4 Comments On DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN Worksheet

  1. Ada Montalvo

    This is very informative especially, for new counseling students.

    • I am so happy to hear that this worksheet has been informative for you, Ada! We post new material regularly, so keep checking in! You can also follow us on social media and send over anything you would like to see from us in the future. We are here to help!

  2. Lynn

    What does the “T” mean in DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills DEARMAN worksheet. I am a DBT coach for 2 DBT adult groups. Thank you.

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