Validation Therapy

What is Validation Therapy?

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be looking into the different types of alternative therapies associated with dementia. In this blog, we review validation therapy: 

Validation therapy is a type of talking therapy in which the counsellor reviews the patient not just by listening to their words, but also by observing voice and non-verbal behaviours to make conclusions about their current feelings and state of mind. 

It’s an empathetic approach to reassure people that their emotions are being noticed and paid attention to. 

Why is Validation Therapy used?

Disruptive behaviours can surface when someone has dementia, and this could be down to unresolved issues they are not able to express as articulately as they once could. 

If something that is making them unhappy from the past, some form of validation about their feelings may lead to a sense of peace. If they are not getting encouraging reactions from those closest to them, particularly family members, they may become more unhappy and their problematic behaviours may increase. 

As the title suggests, validating their emotions is part of the therapy. However, it’s not simply a case of metaphorically tapping them on the back and saying “there there”. The therapist helps them resolve some of these issues, allowing them to face the emotions by talking about them. 

What is the History of Validation Therapy?

Validation therapy dates back to the early 80s, following research from 1963, and was developed by social worker Naomi Feil.  

Validation therapy can involve reminiscing, matching emotions, expressing those emotions in a new way and asking further questions about the emotional trigger, such as senses. 

Research into the effectiveness of validation therapy is still inconclusive as many of the studies carried out fail to reach a universal verdict. More trials need to be carried out to form a consensus. It seems that it can be highly effective for some patients and not others. However, it can certainly be helpful from a carer’s perspective as they can put themselves in their loved one’s shoes and show real empathy. 

If you or a loved one would like to know more about the types of therapy we provide here at Me2U, please get in touch with our friendly centre staff today. 

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24th June 2023

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