Sunday, 22 April 2012


To validate means to confirm, affirm, acknowledge, value. To validate the experience of another is to accept the reality and the power of that experience. All experience is meaningful to the person having the experience, even if we do not understand what it means. Validation therapy is an approach developed by Naomi Feil in order to communicate well with people with moderate or severe dementia.
Recognising painful feelings such as grief, fear or anger will help reduce the pain of these feelings for the person with dementia. Instead of confronting older people with poor memory, we try to share their concerns and feelings. It means acknowledging the reality of a person's emotions and feelings and gives a response on the feeling level.
Practically we need to:
Draw closer to the other person.
Building trust with them.
Using eye contact and other non verbal skills to show to show the person you are listening to them.
Help them to see you empathise by mirroring their body movements, voice.
Stop judging the person and start accepting.
Try to summarise their feelings in words.
The aims are to ease the person's distress and aid life review.
Validation involves a high level of empathy attempting to understand the other person's frame of reference even if they are confused, paranoid, hallucinating.
When we are validated we feel more alive, more valued and accepted, more real.
The same is true for people with dementia.
The good thing about validation is we can apply it in daily living with partners, children and disorientated people at a particular time.