PostSongs That Can Be Used to Reinforce DBT Skills

This list of Songs was compiled by Emily Spears, MSCP TLLP with suggestions from many DBT Therapists.  The following list contains the name of the song,  DBT skills reinforced, and the YouTube link so you can listen.

There are many ways to use songs to reinforce DBT skills.  

How do you use them?

Brave by Sarah Bareilles – Interpersonal Effectiveness

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On by Jimmy Buffett – mindfulness, distress tolerance

“Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. The lyrics are very powerful and seem to express dialectical thinking and walking the middle path.

Counting Stars by One Republic – Mindfulness, dialectics in the lyrics

Downtown by Petula Clark – Distract (with Activities)

Everybody Hurts by REM

Radical acceptance

Happy by Pharrell Williams – Creating opposite emotion

I Whistle a Happy Tune (from The King and I) – Opposite-to-Emotion Action

I Must Belong Somewhere by Bright Eyes – Radical Acceptance

Learn to Live by Darius Rucker – Great song to support/encourage practice of nonjudgmental and self-compassion.

Let It Go from Frozen – Can be a theme song when you focus on emotions. Also about emotional avoidance.

Living in the Moment by Jason Mraz – Mindfulness

My Favorite Things (from The Sound of Music) – Improve the Moment (with Imagery)

On and on it goes by Mary Chapin Carpenter – Dialectical thinking, self-compassion, radical acceptance of the world as it is, good and bad

Shake it Off by Taylor Swift – Radical Acceptance

Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

“I get knocked down, But I get up again, You’re never going to keep me down”. Persistence is important, take those setbacks into your stride.

Wake me up by Avicii –  distress tolerance

Watching The Wheels by John Lennon – Mindfulness

What Do you Hear in these Sounds by Dar Williams

Hope – May be useful in teaching validation part of Dear Man Gives as in the line “But oh how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself.”


For more about DBT informed Music Therapy visit