What is… invalidation

It’s been a fair old time since I posted. I guess because I’ve mostly been keeping it together a lot more recently. Of course there’s still ups and downs but, in general, I’m able to keep them in check. It doesn’t mean I’ve strayed from the blogosphere altogether, though. I’m still reading a lot of stuff and picking things up all the time and I just came across this fantastic post about validation. It’s perfect.

Mental Health @ Home

psychology word graphic in the shape of a brain

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychological terms.

This week’s term: Invalidation

According to Psychology Today, validation involves conveying acceptance, and recognizing that the person’s thoughts/feelings/reactions are understandable.  It also serves to communicate that the relationship is important.  It doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing or approving, something I think is a major stumbling block for people who aren’t very familiar with the idea of emotional validation.

The developer of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), Marsha Linehan, identified six levels of validation, with the level called for varying depending on the situation:

  1. Being fully present
  2. Accurate reflection from a non-judgmental stance
  3. Mind-reading: unlike the cognitive distortion that’s also called mind-reading, this involves trying to read the person’s behaviour and imagining what they could be feeling/thinking, and then checking for understanding
  4. Understand the person’s behaviour on the basis of their history and biology
  5. Normalizing the person’s emotional experiencce

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