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DBT Observe Mindfulness "What" Skill (PDF)

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The DBT “what” skill observe is essential for promoting emotional balance and mindfulness. It helps quiet the mind and allows us to be present in the moment without judgment. This skill involves tapping into the five senses and can be practiced regularly for clarity and inner peace.

The DBT Observe Mindfulness "What" Skill handout provides clients with a brief introduction to the skill and offers tips for practicing observing through tapping into their senses, thoughts, urges, and breathing. For example, it reminds them to take a moment to pause and engage in silent observation to fully focus on the experience.

Implementing the tips presented in this handout can help kids and teens ground themselves in the present moment. To practice observing, they can set aside a moment to pause and take slow, deep breaths while shifting their focus to their surroundings without rushing or judging.

Feel free to add-on our DBT “What” Skills Worksheets, which include a 1-page observe worksheet to support individuals in applying the skills from this handout. We also offer a DBT “What” Skills handout for 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. Garland, S. N., Tamagawa, R., Todd, S. C., Speca, M., & Carlson, L. E. (2012). Increased mindfulness is related to improved stress and mood following participation in a Mindfulness-Based stress reduction program in individuals with cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 12(1), 31–40. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534735412442370
  2. Parkinson, T., Kornelsen, J., & Smith, S. D. (2019). Trait mindfulness and functional connectivity in cognitive and attentional resting state networks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00112
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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