The DEARMAN Strategy

Your Ultimate Guide to Effective Communication


Have you ever struggled to express your needs or desires clearly and effectively? Fear not, because the DEARMAN strategy is here to help you navigate the complexities of communication. This powerful tool, derived from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is designed to teach you how to assertively communicate your needs in any situation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the DEARMAN strategy in depth, providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to master effective communication.

What is the DEARMAN Strategy?

DEARMAN is an acronym that represents a set of communication skills, standing for Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, (stay) Mindful, Appear Confident, and Negotiate. It is a method that helps you get your needs met in a balanced, assertive, and respectful manner. By following the DEARMAN strategy, you can improve your relationships, reduce conflicts, and boost your overall communication skills.

Let’s dive deeper into each component of the DEARMAN strategy.

1. Describe (D)

The first step in the DEARMAN strategy is to describe the situation objectively and factually. Stick to the facts and avoid subjective interpretations, judgments, or assumptions. This helps to set the stage for a clear and honest conversation.

Example: “When we agreed to split the household chores, you said you would take care of the dishes every night.”

2. Express (E)

Next, express your feelings and thoughts regarding the situation. Use “I” statements to emphasize your personal experience and minimize the chances of the other person becoming defensive.

Example: “I feel overwhelmed and stressed when I come home and see that the dishes are still in the sink.”

3. Assert (A)

Assertively communicate your needs or wants in the situation. Be clear, concise, and specific about what you need or want from the other person. Avoid being passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive.

Example: “I need you to follow through on your commitment to do the dishes every night.”

4. Reinforce (R)

Reinforce why meeting your request is beneficial for both parties. This is an opportunity to explain the positive outcomes and encourage cooperation.

Example: “If you take care of the dishes, it will help us maintain a clean and stress-free environment, and we can enjoy our evenings together more.”

5. (Stay) Mindful (M)

During the conversation, stay mindful and focused on your goal. Avoid getting distracted or sidetracked by irrelevant issues or emotions. If the conversation drifts, gently bring it back to the topic at hand.

Example: If the other person tries to bring up unrelated issues, say, “I understand your concerns, but right now, I’d like to focus on our agreement about the dishes.”

6. Appear Confident (A)

Project confidence through your body language, tone of voice, and choice of words. This demonstrates that you believe in the validity of your request and expect a positive outcome.

Example: Maintain eye contact, speak clearly and assertively, and use confident body language.

7. Negotiate (N)

Finally, be open to negotiation and compromise. While you want to be assertive about your needs, it’s also essential to consider the other person’s perspective and work together to find a solution.

Example: “If doing the dishes every night is too much, can we discuss an alternative plan that works for both of us?”


The DEARMAN strategy offers a powerful framework for effective communication, enabling you to express your needs and desires assertively and respectfully. By implementing these principles, you can significantly enhance your communication skills, leading to healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

However, DEARMAN is just one aspect of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. To fully harness the power of DBT, we highly recommend exploring Waverider, an excellent resource for learning and practicing a wide range of DBT techniques. With Waverider, you’ll be able to dive deeper into the world of DBT, gaining a broader understanding of how to manage emotions, improve interpersonal effectiveness, and foster mindfulness.

Start your journey to better communication and emotional well-being with Waverider today!

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