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Reflecting means observing and describing, components of mindfulness.

When you observe and describe your internal experience, you do not interpret or guess or make assumptions.

You would say, “I feel angry and it started yesterday after my friend cancelled lunch.

I sense tightness in my stomach, so maybe there is fear as well.” Saying, “I am a total loser and no one wants to spend any time with me,” would not be stating the facts of your experience.

Validation in DBT refers to offering the client verbal and nonverbal support and confirmation.

The emphasis on validation in DBT grew out of observations in the late 1970s that many clients experienced behavioral therapy as invalidating; this led to resistance and sometimes withdrawal from therapy.

As clients learn coping skills to better handle intense emotions and distress, they also identify their strengths and are able to make healthier behavior choices.

Validation is a critical component in DBT, not only to help clients build their self-esteem, but to encourage their active participation throughout the therapeutic process.© Copyright 2013 Good Permission to publish granted by Suzette Bray, MFT, therapist in Burbank, California The preceding article was solely written by the author named above.

Notice that mindfulness and self-validation go hand in hand.

Level 1 Be Present To be mindful of your emotions without pushing them away is consistent with Linehan’s first level of validation, to be present.

To be present also means to ground yourself and not dissociate, daydream, suppress or numb your emotions. Feeling the pain of sadness, hurt, and fear is most challenging and difficult.

Level 2 Accurate Reflection Reflect means to make manifest or apparent.

For self-validation, accurate reflection is acknowledging your internal state to yourself.