An old man smiling while having a conversation with a woman who is shown from a backside angle

Understanding Psychosocial Approaches: Validation

Validation may help build the person’s sense of trust and security, while reducing their anxiety. Your DSA consultant may make further suggestions based on an understanding of the person and their situation.

The steps involved in validation are:

  • Respectfully acknowledging or validating the feelings the person is experiencing, e.g. “You sound upset/worried/angry...”
  • Offering to help the person with their concern by providing emotional support and reassurance, e.g. “I would be worried too if I could not find my daughter.”
  • Gently redirecting the person’s attention to something more pleasant by reminiscing, changing the topic of conversation, the activity and/or environment they are in.

The helpsheet includes four scenarios and examples of what to say and what to avoid saying when using validation to communicate.