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PUVAS and DBT Skills

PUVAS is an acronym that comes from “Stop Walking on Eggshells” it means:

Pay attention
Understand fully
Validate emotions
Assert yourself
Shift responsibility where it belongs

Paying attention to what is being helps us avoid making assumptions.

Understanding what someone is trying to communicate may require seeking clarification so we don’t make assumptions.

Validating the emotional statements of the other person will pave the way for further smooth communications.

Asserting yourself is a form of setting boundaries and is a very important piece of the healthy communication process.


Basically, it is similiar to a combination of DEAR MAN and the GIVE skills from DBT. DEAR MAN is extremely helpful for have a conversation with someone who is emotional and to prevent from engaging your emotions yourself. DEAR MAN is:

DEAR (what to do):

Describe – describe the situation WITHOUT being judgmental. Just say what happened without making value judgments of the meaning of what happened or the intentions of the other person.

Express – express how you feel about it with an emotional word (such as sad, glad, mad or scared). Do not judge with this statement either.

Assert – assert what you’d like to happen in the future in this situation – what will not trigger the emotion you expressed.

Reinforce – reinforce means to back up the other person’s statement that moves toward what you wish. If the person says, “I’m sorry. I will try and not do that in the future.” You say, “I would really appreciate that. I don’t like feeling [whatever]. That would make me much happier.”

MAN (how to do it):

Mindfully – this is the “pay attention” part. You should be totally in the conversation and listen to the responses. However, you should ignore statements that are not addressing the issue at hand. You can also repeat your points agina until the other person fully understands what you are saying.

Appear Confident – even if you don’t feel confident discussing the point, you should appear confident. This prevents the other person from attacking or playing on your vulnerabilities.

Negiotiate – in cases where a “middle ground” makes sense, being willing to negiotiate is helpful because no one comes out the total “winner” or “loser”.

The GIVE skills are this:

Be Gentle – don’t attack.

Act Interested – listen carefully to what the other person says and the needs expressed.

Validate – use emotionally validation skills to “soften the blow”.

Easy Manner – use an easy manner and do not dominate the conversation.

One Comment

  • Susan

    Hi Bon!
    Luv this page! Thanks for posting this info on your blog so I can refer other’s to it easily. 😉

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