The Offices of Jessica C. Sullivan LCSW, PLLC

Close this search box.


Today we are going to discuss the interpersonal skill of self-respect effectiveness. Interpersonal skills are commonly used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. To start we will discuss why interpersonal skills are useful. Effective interpersonal skills help to increase your ability to meet your wants and needs, help your ability to set effective boundaries, and help to make and maintain positive relationships including resolving conflicts within  these relationships. It also helps to build and maintain respect of your values.

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy we use the acronym of FAST for self-respect effectiveness. FAST stands for Fair, Apologies, Sticking to Your Values, and Truthful. Let’s review what each of these mean more deeply.


Fair represents being more fair to yourself and to others and to be tactfully honest. To be tactfully honest means that you are not only considering your feelings but also the feelings of others that you are interacting with. It allows you to give constructive and productive criticism which can help to preserve your relationships. Being fair also includes following the Golden Rule of treating others in a way that you would like to be treated. To reflect you can begin to think about – or journal – your values in how you would like to be treated. Do your actions match these values?


Next, are apologies. Do your best to not make unnecessary apologies. We often apologize quickly for mistakes that are not our own which presents us with a sense of unnecessary guilt.


Stick to your values and recognize which of your values are non-negotiable. Oftentimes we can lose the grip of our values to gain the approval of others. Sticking to your values helps you to resolve conflict effectively and confidently.


Be truthful by avoiding exaggerations, excuses, and lies. This includes holding yourself accountable for your actions but also knowing when someone else’s actions need to be differentiated from your own during conflict. By recognizing our accountability we are able to understand our role in a situation more authentically. This can help to decrease anxiety as we reflect on our actions and it helps us to recognize parts of ourselves which can aim to improve on.

So, we will be back with more interpersonal effectiveness skill tips. In the meantime feel free to reach out to us with any questions or to speak with one of our mental health care professionals.

Sara Pitcher, MS, MHC

Ready to learn more DBT Skills? Contact us today. (845) 547-0479 or [email protected].