Young girl and her mom practicing using the FAST framework

FAST: A DBT Skill For Maintaining Your Self-Respect

4 min.

The FAST DBT skill is a simple way to navigate conflict and self-regulate when you're struggling to communicate in a relationship. Here's how to practice it at home.

By: Charlie Health Editorial Team

Clinically Reviewed By: Dr. Don Gasparini

April 10, 2023


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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that is designed to help people regulate their emotions, manage stress, and improve their interpersonal relationships. One of the key skills in DBT is the FAST skill, which stands for Fair, Apologies, Stick to values, and Truthful. In this blog post, we will explore the FAST DBT skill and how it can be used to get what you want.

What is the FAST DBT skill?

The FAST skill is a simple and effective DBT skills technique that can be used to improve communication and negotiate effectively. DBT skills can be used to help individuals achieve their goals by teaching them effective communication skills, emotional regulation techniques, and problem-solving strategies. 

By learning these skills, individuals can develop the ability to express themselves clearly, manage their emotions effectively, and negotiate with others to get what they want.

The FAST DBT skill involves four steps:


Start by being fair and reasonable in your request. Make sure that your request is not unreasonable or unfair to the other person.


Avoid over-apologizing, especially for making a request, having an opinion, or disagreeing. However, if something you did caused difficulties in the relationship, it may be necessary to apologize.

Stick to values

When making your request, make sure that it aligns with your values and beliefs. This can help to make your request more compelling and convincing.


Finally, be honest and truthful when making your request. This can help to build trust and improve the likelihood that your request will be accepted.

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FAST DBT works by helping individuals to communicate more effectively and negotiate more successfully. By following the four steps of the FAST skill, individuals can improve their chances of getting what they want while also maintaining positive relationships with others. FAST DBT can be used in a variety of situations, including negotiations with friends, family, and coworkers. It can also be used to resolve conflicts, express needs and desires, and improve interpersonal relationships.

An example of the FAST framework being used

Here’s an example of how someone might use the FAST DBT framework in a therapy session:

Therapist: “Tell me about a situation where you felt anxious at work using the FAST DBT framework.”

Sarah: “During a team meeting, my boss asked me to present my project, and I felt anxious.”

Therapist: “Let’s break it down. What was the function of your anxiety in that situation?”

Sarah: “To alert me to potential mistakes and being judged.”

Therapist: “What triggered your anxiety?”

Sarah: “The pressure to perform and fear of judgment.”

Therapist: “What strategies did you use to cope with your anxiety?”

Sarah: “Deep breathing and rehearsing my presentation.”

Therapist: “What tactics did you use to manage or avoid your anxiety?”

Sarah: “Avoiding eye contact and rushing through my presentation.”

Therapist: “How effective were these strategies and tactics?”

Sarah: “The strategies helped, but the tactics may have affected my presentation negatively.”

Therapist: “Let’s explore more effective strategies and tactics to manage your anxiety in similar situations moving forward.”

Sarah: “Sounds good. I’m open to that.”

Therapist: “Great! Let’s continue to use the FAST DBT framework to better understand and address your anxiety in therapy.”

Sarah: “Thank you. I appreciate your support.”

Friends using the FAST framework while chatting

What is DBT?

DBT is a form of therapy that was developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s. It was initially designed to help individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) manage their intense emotions and improve their interpersonal relationships. However, it has since been found to be effective in treating a range of mental health conditions.

What techniques are used in DBT?

DBT uses a range of techniques to help individuals manage their emotions, regulate their behavior, and improve their interpersonal relationships. These techniques include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Is DBT effective?

Research has shown that DBT is an effective form of therapy for individuals with a range of mental health conditions. Studies have found that it can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder, and improve overall quality of life.

The FAST DBT skill is a powerful tool that can be used to improve communication, negotiate more effectively, and get what you want while also maintaining positive relationships with others. By following the four steps of the FAST skill, individuals can increase their chances of success in a variety of situations, both personal and professional.

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DBT skills with Charlie Health

If you think DBT might be a useful tool for yourself or a loved one, Charlie Health may be able to help – reach out to get signed up today. Charlie Health’s trained clinicians offer DBT as well as many other useful forms of therapy.

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