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DBT Describe Mindfulness "What" Skill (PDF)

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The describe mindfulness “what” skill in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a technique used to describe experiences and observations without making assumptions or interpretations. It encourages individuals to recognize their thoughts and feelings as valid without necessarily accepting them as absolute truths.

The DBT Describe Mindfulness "What" Skill handout presents specific steps to properly use the describe skill. It also includes tips for a client to practice describing. They can begin by sitting outside and observing people and objects, and then taking deep belly breaths.

Using this handout encourages mindfulness and helps kids and teens maintain emotional balance. To further illustrate this skill, parents can encourage their child to describe what upsets them instead of resorting to tantrums. Moreover, they can introduce emotional regulation techniques.

You are welcome to add-on our DBT “What” Skills Worksheets, which include a 1-page describe worksheet to help apply the skills from this handout. Our DBT “What” Skills handout provides a quick reference to all three mindfulness “what” skills.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of DBT worksheets and handouts.


  1. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using Self-Report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191105283504
  2. Torre, J. B., & Lieberman, M. D. (2018). Putting feelings into words: affect labeling as implicit emotion regulation. Emotion Review, 10(2), 116–124. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073917742706
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