Validate (psychotherapy)

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Validation is a method of communication that is used in the context of dialectical behavioral therapy and also in a systemic context or coaching. The aim of this conversation technique is, on the one hand, to recognize the patient's subjective feelings, and, on the other hand, to make it clear that other modes of behavior and experience are possible, which might be more helpful (functional). There are 6 levels:

  • V1 Undivided attention:
Active listening, remembering what has been said before, signals of interest
  • V2 Modality-compliant communication:
Cognition → Cognition: "My friend yelled at me." → "So you had a conflict with your friend."
Emotion → Emotion: "I was pissed off." → "You were extremely angry."
  • V3 Cross-modal communication (mind reading):
Cognition → Emotion: "My girlfriend called me an ass." → "You are angry now."
Emotion → Cognition: “I'm angry.” → “You are probably thinking: 'I would like to knock his head in'."
  • V4 Biographical communication: making the connection between experience and behavior clear.
Therapist: "Your friend talked like your mother, who you never felt understood by either."
  • V5: Communication related to the current subjective context:
Therapist: "You think that life would only be bearable in a stable partnership."
  • V6: Generalized communication: radical authenticity, convey that the behavior is normal and the patient is an equal partner.
Therapist: "What happened to you would make me sad too."


Martin Bohus & Martina Wolf-Arehult: Interactive skills training for borderline patients. The therapy manual . 2nd Edition. Schattauer, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-7945-2827-1 , pp. 24 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).