This www.dbtselfhelp.com site has much more information that I thought
at first. I went to the site map and found a ton more stuff burried
under the navigation. Here’s one good snippet on validation:
When a person confides in you, they are not usually looking for advice
or problem-solving unless they specifically ask for it. Rather, they
are looking for validation. If you are not used to validating, here
are some suggestions. There is no greater way to set a person at ease.
Overall show interest in the other person (through verbal, nonverbal
cues), show that you are paying attention (nodding, eye contact, etc.)
Ask questions – “What then?” Give prompts – “Tell me more,” “Uh-huh.”
Use accurate reflection – “So you’re frustrated because you son hasn’t
picked up his room.”
Summarize what the person is sharing, then ask – “Is that right?”
Take a nonjudgmental stance toward the person, be matter-of-fact, have
an “of course” attitude.
Example: “My therapist doesn’t like me.”
Validation: “You are feeling really certain she hates you.” Note that
you don’t have to actually agree with the person about their
Try to “read” a person’s behavior, imagine what they could be feeling,
thinking or wishing for. It feels good when someone takes the time to
think about our life experiences. Remember to check for accuracy. It
is best to not make assumptions.
Validate the person’s behavior in terms of causes like past events
present events even when it may be triggered based on dysfunctional
*Validate feelings like, “Since your new boss reminds you of your last
one, I can see why you’d be scared to meet with her,” or “Since you
have had panic attacks on the bus, you’re scared to ride one now.”
Communicate that the person’s behavior is reasonable, meaningful,
*Validate feelings like, “It seems very normal to be nervous before a
job interview – that sure makes sense to me,” or “It sounds like you
were very clear and direct with your doctor.”
Treat the person as valid – not patronizing or condescending.
Recognize the person as they are with strengths and limitations.
Give the person equal status, equal respect.
Be genuine with the person about your reactions to them and about
Believe in the other person while seeing their struggles and pain.
All of these levels of validation are very important skills for
building and maintaining relationships with others.