Posts filed under DBT

Why validate feelings?

Validating feelings for ourselves and others is extremely important for mental health and emotional stability. Validating feelings does not mean we agree with the reasoning or feel the same way (as another person), it means that we can genuinely tell others that we understand how they are feeling.  Validation does not encourage unhealthy emotional responses or behavior; on the contrary, acknowledgment reduces shame and avoidance of feelings and often allows feelings to diminish on their own.  Allowing people to feel “okay” with having their feelings promotes self-awareness and an improved ability to cope and problem solve. 

How to validate someone’s feelings?  Listen, reflect what you heard the person say they are feeling (e.g., “it sounds like you are frustrated”), genuinely state how you imagine it must be to be in that state (e.g., “it must be difficult to feel that way”), if appropriate normalize or praise having feelings (e.g., “I understand how you could feel that way”, “good job identifying your feelings”), offer support (e.g., “is there anything I can do?”).  Do NOT judge, minimize, shame, or give advice!

Grounding techniques

techniques can be used to feel more present and alert when experiencing forms
of dissociation, which are commonly described as feeling “out of body”, numb,
or “checked out”. Here are a few
examples of effective grounding exercises.

Use your five senses: Pay attention to what you
are feeling (your body in the chair, feet on the ground), hearing (close and
far), seeing (shapes and colors), smelling (pay attention to your breath), and
tasting (pay attention to swallowing your saliva).

Make like a tree: EMDR guided tree
meditation directs an individual to visualize a tree, imagine stepping into it,
and feeling your body encompass the roots into the ground (feet), the strength
of the stump (core), and the stretch of the branches (arms, hands, head). Take deep breaths and follow your inhale and
exhale from roots to tips and back again.

Sweet and sour: Put something in your mouth
that is hot, cold, spicy, sweet or sour to alert your brain to pay attention!

Posted on February 13, 2013 and filed under PTSD, DBT, awareness, EMDR, grounding.