The short answer is to practice the skills, but I love the analogy that our veteran member gave. She described it as the process you would follow if you want to bake a cake.
In this example, baking a cake = successfully using the DBT skills.
She said that if you had the recipe for the cake (the DBT Skills), and you just kept saying, "Where the hell is the cake?" you'd realize that you have the recipe in your hands. You need to actually PRACTICE by putting the recipe together and following the steps consistently.
The same is true for watching DBT change our lives. We must actually use the skills. We can try them in small matters to build confidence, or we can take a giant leap and apply them to larger issues. Either way, we will see which skills are effective for us.
How do you determine if they are effective? Essentially, you see the changes you wish to see in your life. Maybe you're able to hold back from self-destructive and impulsive behaviors more than in the past. Maybe you're better able to tolerate transient, uncomfortable moods and emotions. Keep trying the skills until you find the ones that work for you in your given situation.
The proof will be in the pudding...errr... cake.
It does take time to shift ways of thinking and behaviors that we've been stuck in for years, but it is very possible. It's happening all around you, and if you haven't already noticed it happening in your life, know that with practice, you will.
What is an example of how DBT has started to change your life?
Thanks for reading.
If you've been looking for a structured way to practice DBT skills, get started with my book, "Stop Sabotaging: A 31-Day DBT Challenge to Change Your Life."