4d cards illustration

How might you use your 4D Toolkit?

 If you have received a 4D Toolkit – congratulations!

Now you’re probably wondering what to do with it!  Well, this is the page where we will be giving you some ideas!

This card-based resource is intended for use during and/or after your involvement in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) or a DBT skills programme.

The resource is made up of 20 cards that are each linked to a DBT skill.  Each card front has a visual image to represent that particular skill and the card back has some helpful key words.  Each card has a linked page in this section of the MyMind website, where you can find more detailed information.

You can use the resource to help develop and reinforce your skill use on an individual basis; or it can be helpful to bring along and use in your therapy sessions.


The cards come in a storage case, which can also be used as a stand to display them, to help remind you of the individual skills you are learning or have learnt.  To do this, you could display:

  • a new card each day, working through the set in order
  • the cards which represent the skills you would like to work on
  • randomly selected cards, by shuffling the pack and picking one at chance


Your DBT skills are most effective when used together rather than separately.  Learning how to use several of your skills to help you deal with a difficult situation or emotion might seem like a skill in itself, and in some ways it is, but it just takes practice to get it right.  Here is an example:

You received a text from your friend, you thought the text was rude and offensive.

You were so angry that you wanted to ring them straight way, you felt like you were going to explode.

But instead, you might choose to give yourself some time to calm your emotions and consider your options.  By:

  • Using your distress tolerance skills to help distance yourself from the immediate situation and help you to distract and calm your mind, maybe by going for a walk or having a hot bath,
  • whilst using your mindful breathing exercises to help you feel calm and find ‘wise mind’.
  • You could then use your mindfulness ‘what’ skills to consider how you are feeling and your mindfulness ‘how’ skills to consider your options.
  • Then, when you feel you are ready, you could mindfully use your interpersonal effectiveness skills to discuss the matter with your friend (choosing the interpersonal effectiveness skills that best meet your priority at this time).

This is just one example; there are endless combinations for using your DBT skills to help you be effective.

How could my 4D Toolkit help me to do this?

As well as reminding you of each of the key DBT skills, the resource can also be used to help you think about how you might layer your skills to help you achieve the best outcome from your situation.

Each card in the set can be linked together using the 4D glasses, so that you can use them to:

  • plan how you could manage a difficult situation you are currently experiencing
  • map out what you did to recently to get through a difficult situation or emotion;  reflecting upon what skills worked well for you, and what other skills might have been useful

Card example

Here are some tips for doing this; why not:

  • layout all the cards on a table top, so that you have all of your skill options in sight, then choose those skills that you feel best fit your current situation
  • or, randomly select a card and consider if and where this could be useful to you
  • you could talk through your cards once they’re laid out.  Telling yourself what action you’re considering.  Checking in with ‘wise mind’ that this is the right way to respond in this moment.
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers with the 4D Toolkit.  It’s all about just doing what feels right for you in the moment!  

Related Pages: 4D Introduction, 4D Cards