Validating feelings

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” The conversation went on and, by the end, both of them were laughing.Obviously, the visitor “lied.” In my opinion, she handled the situation exceptionally well because the woman who lived with LBD became relaxed, happy and felt “validated.” I asked de Klerk if she could tell me how that scenario would have been handled using the Validation Method.

I engaged in an email discussion about this topic with Vicki de Klerk-Rubin, R. Certified Validation Master (CVM), and Executive Director for the Validation Training Institute.

When I asked her for a definition of the Validation Method as taught by them, she wrote: “Validation is a method for communicating with people who have late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Therefore, it seems to me that, as is usually the case, caregivers — and even clinicians — will need to receive all the training possible and then go with their gut when it comes to an individual situation.

In our email exchange, I asked de Klerk about the following scenario.

The reason for this is that people living with dementia have a reality that is true to them.

In my opinion, if this is all the caregiver learns, they’ve absorbed the core meaning of validation and will probably become a good caregiver.The woman’s granddaughter had furiously told her no one was there.That response upset the woman, which is understandable.It stems from a discussion with some students in a gerontology class, where they use my book, “Minding Our Elders,” as a way to humanize caregiving.I found the student’s story interesting and told her I’d like to ask de Klerk how she would use the Validation Method to handle it.The visitor went and looked out the window and said: “Oh, I see them! ” The woman said, “They seem to think that this is a resort.They want to swim.” The visitor said, “Well, that’s silly of them!My preference has always been to say that we are “joining them in their world,” but likely my own version is similar to what these professionals are teaching in workshops.When I asked de Klerk about “fiblets” and “therapeutic lies” she wrote: “The most important misconception of Validation is that it has anything to do with the ‘therapeutic lie.’ Validation practitioners never lie. One of the key principles of Validation is that people live on different levels of consciousness, often at the same time.It has three elements: a basic, empathetic attitude; a theory which gives principles for viewing the aging process; and both short-term and long-term goals for validation work, and verbal and non-verbal techniques that help us communicate.” We then delved into the thick of the common misunderstandings that occur when the word validation is used loosely.De Klerk objects to the terms that many professionals use when talking about validation, such as “fiblets” or “therapeutic lies.” The purpose of this approach is to help the person living with dementia maintain self-esteem and not become agitated by arguments.


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