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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Validation is an essential DBT strategy that communicates acceptance and understanding, and is balanced dialectically with change and problem solving strategies. Successful validation includes: paying attention to the client’s behaviour; attempting to understand that behaviour (including context); and expressing that understanding in an authentic manner. Thus, the therapist is responding to a client behaviour and highlighting what is truly understandable, or legitimate (valid), about that behaviour, and in what way(s) it is valid. Because there are many ways that any given client behaviour may be valid (and ways the same behaviour may also be invalid), validating can be tricky. Thus, there are multiple levels or types of validating responses. This chapter will describe the principles and practices of validation in DBT, including how to match the appropriate type of validation to the client’s experience or behaviour.

Keywords: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, validation, validating responses, acceptance, understanding, authenticity

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