The Art of Validation: Techniques for Empowering Others

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

In a world where connection and understanding are more important than ever, the art of validation emerges as a powerful tool for fostering meaningful relationships and empowering others. Validation, the act of recognizing and affirming someone’s feelings and experiences, can transform interactions and build trust. But how can we effectively validate others in our daily lives? What techniques can we use to ensure our validation is genuine and impactful? This article explores the essential techniques for mastering the art of validation, offering practical insights and strategies for empowering our neighbors.

According to Karyn Hall, PhD: “Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable.”

“Continually worrying about what others think is like seeking validation from others. This may hold you back from living your life, one with purpose and goals as well as values that you believe in. The need for approval and the quest to impress others can push you away from who you are. Seeking to be validated can have the same qualities. It’s best to have a healthy sense of who you are, you will be less inclined to look for approval and validation everywhere.”

Why do we need validation? According to Let’s Talk About Mental Health:

  • Connection and belonging: When our thoughts and feelings are validated, we feel connected and accepted, which creates a sense of belonging.
  • Emotional understanding and regulation: validation helps us to understand and process our emotions better.
  • Self-identity and self-worth: By having our experiences and feelings acknowledged, we understand that our perspectives matter, which reinforces our sense of self and helps us feel more positive about ourselves.
  • Psychological growth: validation, particularly self-validation, helps foster greater personal growth, in the sense that by acknowledging and accepting our feelings, even the difficult ones, we then learn how to handle life’s ups and downs with resilience and grace.
  • Healthier relationships: validation fosters mutual respect and understanding in our relationships, and it helps to encourage open and honest communication, which results in deeper connections with others.

Psychology Today affirms, “validation heals us and makes us stronger. People who had to hold a bucket at arm’s length were better able to keep doing it when they received validation from a research assistant (e.g., “it is painful isn’t it?) rather than invalidation (e.g., “I didn’t feel anything like that when I did it”). For the validated after sharing feelings about being excluded in the lab, they reported higher self-esteem and less aggression and negative mood.”

What are the levels of validation?

  1. Stay awake and pay attention: Show that you are paying attention to the other person through your behavior.
  2. Accurate reflection: Communicate that you’ve heard the other person accurately.
  3. Stating what hasn’t been said out loud: here you are trying to figure out what else a person might be feeling based on the clues you have.
  4. Validating using history or biology: Demonstrates to the person that their responses make sense based on their past learning, or based on a more holistic view of how their mind and body are connected.
  5. Normalizing: here you are communicating that what the other person feels is human and normal.  
  6. Radical genuineness: respond genuinely to the person about their impact on you.

Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) considers, “validation is fundamental to a type of talk therapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which is geared toward people who experience emotions very intensely. Many people use some aspects of validation in everyday communications with family members, friends, and colleagues, but usually fall short. How can we offer validation?

  • Give them your full attention.
  • Make eye contact and nod appropriately, saying “uh huh” while showing your interest.
  • Reflect what you’ve heard by restating their message, such as, “it sounds like you feel worse about this situation today than yesterday.
  • Verbalize the unspoken, such as, “I hear that you feel you can’t get anything done because of this obstacle,” or “it sounds like you’re frustrated.”
  • Give it time to work! Be sure to let the validation sink in before attempting to problem-solve.

In conclusion, validation is not just about making others feel heard, it’s about creating an environment where mutual respect and understanding thrive. The benefits are far-reaching, impacting not only individual wellbeing but also the collective growth of our communities. When we validate others, we encourage open and honest communication, paving the way for deeper connections and greater psychological growth. By doing so, we contribute to a more compassionate and connected world, where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.


Counseling, Collaborative. «The Power of Validation». Collaborative Counseling, January 2, 2024,

Emotional Validation | Psychology Today.

Godwin, Jeremy. «Let’s Talk About… Validation». Let’s Talk About Mental Health, June 11. 2023,

Salamon, Maureen. «Validation: Defusing Intense Emotions». Harvard Health, August 14, 2023,

The Power of Validation | Psychology Today.


Қорқыт Ата атындағы Қызылорда университеті, Қазақстан, et al. «chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/». Bulletin of the Karaganda University. Pedagogy series, vol. 104, n.o 4, diciembre de 2021, pp. 101-07. (Crossref),

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