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The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Card Deck


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About the Author

Matthew McKay, PhD, is a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. He has authored and coauthored numerous books, including The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, Self-Esteem, Thoughts and Feelings, When Anger Hurts, and ACT on Life Not on Anger. He has also penned two novels, Us and The Wawona Hotel. McKay received his PhD in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, and specializes in the cognitive behavioral treatment of anxiety and depression. He lives and works in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.


"The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Card Deck is an ingenious tool for increasing skillful behavior in the game of life. People who want to make better choices when dealing with emotional and relationship stress can access more effective behavior by using the DBT skills as presented concisely on these cards."
--Cedar Koons, MSW, LCSW, DBT researcher, trainer, and consultant; and author of The Mindfulness Solution for Intense Emotions--Cedar Koons, MSW, LCSW

"An incredibly practical way to learn skills. My DBT clients have been asking for something like this for years."
--Maggie Mullen, LCSW, clinician at Kaiser Permanente Psychiatry Department in Richmond, CA--Maggie Mullen, LCSW

"As a fellow DBT therapist, DBT author, and DBT trainer, I am always on the lookout for simple, practical, and effective ways of making DBT skills usable, accessible, and applicable to the average consumer. In this resource, you will find just that! Each card in this deck includes concrete reminders, tips, and strategies for applying DBT to your everyday life. There will be no losers with this card deck!"
--Kirby Reutter, bilingual clinical psychologist with the Department of Homeland Security, and author of The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for PTSD--Kirby Reutter

"Building on their best-selling The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, McKay and Wood have developed this set of cards that can serve as a useful reminder for clients who have already learned the DBT skills. A clear, concise reminder of the skill and then suggestion for practice, these cards will help people to generalize their skills practice, increasing ability to manage emotions and get problem behaviors under control. What a wonderful tool for clients and clinicians to add to their toolbox!"
--Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, psychotherapist, international speaker, and author of several DBT books, including Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens and Calming the Emotional Storm--Sheri Van Dijk, MSW

"DBT can be a seemingly overwhelming set of tasks. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Card Deck offers prompts to the many essential components of DBT that increase effective coping behaviors, such as self-compassion, assertiveness, prompting a values-based life, and increasing effective problem-solving skills. It is thus an excellent tool to increase healthy behaviors and decrease unhealthy behaviors."
--Thomas Marra, PhD, emeritus clinical director of Monterey Psychiatric Health Facility, and author of Depressed and Anxious and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Private Practice--Thomas Marra, PhD

"This cutting-edge resource is a much-needed addition to the clinical compendium of any therapist seeking to help clients develop effective and readily accessible coping skills, regardless of presenting problems. Organized into the four core DBT skills modules, the cards offer clear, concise, and easy-to-learn steps and motivational prompts to help individuals overcome roadblocks and improve their mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness capabilities. Whether used as an accessory to the authors' The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, as a transdiagnostic therapeutic intervention, or as a stand-alone guide to self-improvement, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Card Deck will revolutionize traditional approaches to treating emotion dysregulation and a myriad of associated problems."
--Rochelle I. Frank, PhD, assistant clinical professor in the department of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley; adjunct professor at The Wright Institute; and coauthor of The Transdiagnostic Road Map to CaseFormulation and Treatment Planning--Rochelle I. Frank, PhD

"What a great idea for increasing commitment to and competency with DBT skills! These cards will be used by individuals in DBT, skills-group leaders, and therapists alike. The cards can be used as daily reminders for skills practice, as opportunities to select a skill when distressed, and as reminders of the power of DBT. I am excited to integrate this creative new tool into my DBT work."
--Britt Rathbone, MSSW, LCSW-C, coauthor of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for At-Risk Adolescents, What Works with Teens, and Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions--Britt Rathbone, MSSW, LCSW-C

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