DBT Skill Building Mastery Daily Practice

A Guide to Daily Practice

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic modality that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from Eastern mindfulness practices. One of its core components is emotion regulation, which focuses on managing intense emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. A crucial aspect of this module is the practice of ‘building mastery’, designed to enhance self-esteem and reduce vulnerability to negative emotions. This short article aims to outline a daily practice for building mastery, tailored as a homework assignment for individuals enrolled in DBT skills training classes.

Building mastery involves engaging in activities that make you feel competent and in control. The premise is that by achieving small, realistic goals, individuals can cultivate a sense of accomplishment, thereby boosting their confidence and resilience against emotional distress.

Daily Practice Framework

Identify Personal Interests and Skills: Begin by identifying areas where you feel naturally inclined or interested. This could range from artistic pursuits like painting to more practical skills like cooking or gardening.

Set Realistic Goals: Establish small, attainable goals within your chosen activity. For instance, if your interest is in cooking, a goal could be to learn a new recipe each week.

Create a Schedule: Consistency is key. Allocate specific times in your daily or weekly schedule to engage in your chosen activity. This regularity helps in habit formation and ensures continuous progress.

Monitor Progress: Keep a journal or log to track your activities and progress. Note how you feel before and after the activity, particularly any changes in your mood or self-esteem.

Challenge Yourself Gradually: Once you’re comfortable with basic tasks, gradually increase the complexity to continue building your skills and confidence.

Reflect and Adjust: Regularly reflect on your experience. Are you feeling more competent? Is the activity enjoyable or does it feel like a chore? Adjust your goals and activities based on these reflections.

Seek Feedback: If possible, share your progress with your therapist or a support group. Constructive feedback can be incredibly valuable in this process.

Mindfulness and Acceptance: Practice mindfulness while engaging in your chosen activity. Be present in the moment and accept your current level of skill without judgment.


Incorporating the practice of building mastery into daily life can significantly enhance one’s ability to regulate emotions. This practice is not about achieving perfection or competing with others, but rather about personal growth, self-compassion, and finding joy in one’s accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. As a homework assignment in a DBT skills training class, it provides a structured yet flexible approach to enhance emotional resilience and self-esteem.

Remember, building mastery is a journey of self-discovery and personal development. It’s about celebrating the small victories and learning to appreciate your own strengths and capabilities. With consistent practice, this approach can lead to a more empowered and emotionally balanced life.