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Validation โœ”

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

These next three (maybe more, I'll see how it goes ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ˜Š ) blog posts are about points or characteristics that I find invaluable in a counselling relationship. They are essential to our communications in this process and vital to your progress ๐Ÿค—.

First up is validation. Here I'll discuss validation generally, as well as the ever-important aspect of validating ourselves!

Validation is a way of understanding another person's point of view, or showing compassion and understanding for yourself.

Validation can be an important of healing. As such, it's an important part of any relationship and the counselling relationship is no different. Recognising (*not* necessarily agreeing) that someone's feelings, actions and thoughts make sense can show that we are listening nonjudgmentally, that we value the other person and can help build stronger relationships.

There are two worthwhile distinctions when it comes to validation, namely self-validation and validation toward others.

External validation (validation from others) can boost our confidence, help see ourselves in a more positive light and also help us feel more connected to others.

But constantly seeking validation from others can take its toll on or highlight issues with our self esteem. Relying on other people to measure our worth can lead to self-doubt and unhealthy levels of self-consciousness.

That's why self validation is also essential. It's accepting our own internal environment (thoughts, feelings, experiences...) without judgment. Again, that doesn't mean blindly believing they're justified ๐Ÿค—

Encouraging yourself, treating yourself with kindness and noticing and accepting your feelings is key.

On the other hand, invalidation is the rejection or dismissal of a personโ€™s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviours as being valid and understandable. It can cause significant harm to our wellbeing.ย 

Unfortunately, often people are not aware that their words or behaviours are invalidating. Sometimes invalidation is a form of manipulation or abuse; other times it may stem from a personโ€™s inability to understand or empathise.

Although it shouldn't be needed, dealing with invalidation comes down to developing a sense of self-worth & -esteem, confidence, and assertiveness.

The good news is that validation is a communication skill, so it can be learned and improved on!

There are many ways to start to improve the skill- to refine your quality of validation toward others

โ˜€๏ธ be present

โ˜€๏ธ practise empathy

โ˜€๏ธ normalise the other person's point of view / experience

To improve your self validation

โ˜€๏ธ encourage yourself

โ˜€๏ธ notice and accept your feelings

โ˜€๏ธ treat yourself with kindness

Take heart if you if you don't get the hang of it immediately - as with any skill, it gets better with practice ๐Ÿค—๐ŸŒฑ.

As always if you have any questions about this or you'd like to make an appointment, email me here.

With you and for you,

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