What is Validation?
Validation is defined as the feeling that other people approve and accept you, and it is often seen as a way to communicate the acceptance of ourselves and others. As humans, we genetically share a predisposition to be validated. I invite you to ask yourself, how validated do you feel by the world around you? By your friends? family? colleagues? Now sit with those thoughts for a minute and reflect.
The Three Types of Validation
Psychologists suggest that there are three main types of validation: emotional, behavioural and cognitive.
- Emotional validation: focuses on being non-judgmental of an individual’s situation and validates their emotion without escalating the situation.
- Behavioural validation: focuses on specific behaviours that promote acceptance and validation, such as open body language and clear communication skills.
- Cognitive validation: recognises underlying assumptions, rules, beliefs and expectations to ensure validation is being achieved.
How to Practice Validation
There are several main ways to practice validation. Validation is often seen as an integral component of therapy that leads to the client feeling like they are being heard, accepted, and understood.
Here are our top three ways to ensure you are validating someone.
- Active listening: It is important to make sure you are actively listening to someone to make them feel validated. Active listening can involve simple gestures such as nodding, or paraphrasing back main themes for the person to increase their understanding of the situation
- Remaining objective and non-judgemental: Validation stems from remaining objective and non-judgemental of a person’s situation. It is very important to be aware of our own biases, heuristics, or stereotypes that we may have about people. These can all lead to invalidating someone and forming our own opinions without considering the full context.
- Summarising and simplifying: After someone has expressed their feelings, it is important that you rephrase the message or story shared. This validates the other persons feelings by acknowledging that you hear and understand them.
Throughout November we will be exploring the topic ‘Validation’. We will look at understanding the term, it’s impact on relationships and childhood, why we may find ourselves craving external validation and how we can practice self validation