DBT, Relationships

February 27, 2024

Tony Soprano Went to Therapy!?!

Author: Allison Whitmore

Hey there, got your attention, didn’t I? Whether you’re familiar with The Sopranos, not at all, or are just getting into it like me, there’s something from the show that we can all relate to on some level—relationships. This show emphasizes relationships by sharing meals for almost 60% of the series (LOL), and as you see in the title, therapy is another tool used to learn how to build this connection.

Marsha Linehan’s (1993, 2015) Interpersonal Effectiveness (IE) module is one of the four modules offered in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In this module, there’s a unique set of skills that focus on bringing mindfulness and intention to your interactions. These skills teach you how to maintain and strengthen relationships by fostering self-respect, setting boundaries, and asserting yourself through effective communication.

Recently, in one of our DBT Skills groups, there was a discussion of remixing the IE module to include INTRApersonal Effectiveness as well, a.k.a., applying these skills toward the self. Specifically, the GIVE skill—it is an Interpersonal Effectiveness skill that teaches and encourages one to act from Wise Mind on how to keep and improve relationships. Our relationships will only grow so far until we look inward and decide to be a little kinder to ourselves. 


The GIVE skill is a helpful guide. 

Reflect in Wise Mind and ask yourself,

– “How do I want to feel about myself?”

– “How do I want to feel after ‘xyz’ interaction (whether or not I get the results I want)?”

– (have) Grace: Be gentle and respectful in your body language, thoughts, words, and breath.

– Investigate: Handle emotions with interest and care, reminding yourself to be sensitive toward your present moment experience.

– Validate: Incorporate Distress Tolerance and Mindfulness skills, in the moment, to balance and honor both Reasonable & Emotion Mind by replacing “but” with “and” to find Wise Mind.

– (use an) Easy Manner: Remind yourself of Beginner’s Mind, use humor, and relax the body by softening the eyebrows, jaw, and shoulders.


Linehan, M. (2015). DBT skills training manual, 2nd ed

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