DBT – 5 Ways to Solve a Problem



The 2nd Edition DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets 2nd Edition book by Marsha M. Linehan has been a big resource for me in my DBT career. One of the first skills that is discussed is “Options for how to solve a problem” – General Handout 1

Marsha has 4 ways to solve the problem but I like how I saw it in the DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents – 1st Edition and they break it down into 5 problems.

  1. Solve the Problem: It sounds so easy and kinda sarcastic, but yet it is that easy. If you are cold, put on a jacket, if your hot, turn on a fan. If you know how to problem solve and fix the problem then DO IT!
  2. Change how you feel about he Problem: What is the emotion you are feeling from the problem? If you are mad about missing a car payment, can you change how you “feel” about the situation. Such as validate the anger and then change the anger to sadness then disappointment and then graduate for just missing one payment.
  3. Radically Accept the Problem: Sometimes we can not fix the problem due to many reasons, but its keeping you in a miserable state to not accept that it is indeed a problem and that it has happened. “Acceptance is not approval” and it may feel radical to not stay caught up in the negativity of the problem.
  4. Stay Miserable: This is ALWAYS an option! You have a right to feel your feels and wallow in emotion. Sometimes if we stay miserable we can continue to be the “victim” and tell our story to others and get the benefit of being validated over and over. Yet, I want you to know you have a choice.
  5. Make it worse: Yes, havn’t you ever thought ” it cant get any worse” and then it does by your own hand? Such as, waking up late for work, rushing around, speeding, then you get a ticket, and then you get to work and get yelled at by your boss or possibly written up. It really can get worse, by your own hand! You have control to make it worse and to make it better.

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