Category: Women’s Counseling

Giving and Receiving Validation Improves our Relationships

What is Validation?

Giving and Receiving Improves Validation, Empathic Counseling and Therapy Denver COWhy is it important to feel validated? Working as a therapist one often hears “I just want to feel validated”. What does it mean not to feel validated? How does validation not only impact our relationships, but our self-worth as well? Why should we validate others?

Let’s start with a simple explanation of the meaning of validation. It is not that you agree with the other person. It’s not that you don’t share your own point of view. Simply put, validation is when you’ve listened and acknowledged what the other person has to say.

Most people feel better having a difficult or emotionally charged conversation when they feel heard. Just being listened to can feel really good. Without validation, people feel unheard, so they work extra hard to convince you of the importance of their needs. We’ve all experienced at some time or another that feeling of desperation to be heard. We may get loud, pouty, or angry. Our heart rate starts to rise and our ability to hear gets cloudy.

To effectively communicate, you must start with the assumption that both you and the other person have equally valid needs. Most of the time, they are not the same needs, but both needs are valid. No one is wrong and no one is right. It is an equal playing field and is not about winning or losing. It is about being and feeling heard.

 

Validating Others

 

Validation is about finding the piece of truth in another person’s perspective or situation. It is about looking for even a morsel of fact. Validation means that you acknowledge that a person’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors have causes and are therefore understandable. More importantly, validation is not validating something that is invalid, and it does not infer that you are agreeing with the other person. People seem to get tripped up by this the most. The whole idea of being interpersonally effective has nothing to do with giving in and letting someone else be right for the sake of having a peaceful conversation. Again, it is about being heard or showing someone else that they are being heard. Each person is entitled to want and feel what they do. Neither person has more power. You each just have different-yet sensible and legitimate experiences and desires.

 

How can we validate one another?

 

1. The first thing we can do is practice active listening. This starts with just paying attention to what the other person is saying. Look interested, listen, observe. Nod your head, make eye contact. Focus on what the other person may be feeling, experiencing. Sometimes even a slight look of concern or a smile can let the other person know you are there, you are present.

2. Reflect back on what you heard or observed, making sure you actually understood what the other person is saying. Make sure not to be critical or judgmental in your tone. And definitely don’t be sarcastic! It’s important to mention that people often struggle with reflecting back without sounding like they’re just parroting the other person. This can come across as condescending and rude.

3. Try to notice what the other person is feeling or thinking. What does their body language look like? Remember, even if you don’t approve of the other person’s behavior, you can try to see where they’re coming from. Chances are, you know this person enough to get an idea of why their argument makes sense to them.

4. Be sensitive to what the person is not saying. Don’t try to read their mind. Really pay attention to them.

5. Acknowledge the validity of what they are saying. Make it a point to see that the other person’s thoughts, actions or feelings are valid given the current reality and facts.

6. Show that you are equals. Again, you are no better and no worse.

 

Why do we need to validate one another? Why is it so important?

 

It improves our relationships by showing that we care and want our healthy relationships to continue. It evens out the paying field. And surprisingly and more importantly…when we listen and validate, it makes us feel better about ourselves. There is a feeling of maturity and relief that can come with listening without interruption. Letting someone share their thoughts and feelings without the need to butt in can teach us a lot about ourselves and our communication patterns. It teaches us how to be present and promotes the practice of being mindful. It makes us closer and can help heal wounded relationships.

No one likes to feel invalidated because it hurts. It’s a lose lose for both parties. Although it may feel like a win for one, in the long run, it only creates more distance. Successful relationships are those where both partners feel comfortable sharing who they are and what they believe in. When you learn how to validate one another, you can begin to create safety and trust and develop an even deeper kind of intimacy.


 

Lindsay Melka LPC Empathic Counseling and Therapy Denver

Lindsay Melka, LPC

Empathic Counseling and Therapy

 


If you connected with this post and would like to speak with me please call 720-295-5490 or contact me here.

 

 

5 Great Ways Counseling Can Help

Counseling as an Aid to Reach Your Full Potential

You don’t need a diagnosable mental health condition to seek out extra help. Maybe you’re experiencing some roadblocks, some barrier that’s getting in the way of you achieving your goals and reaching your full potential.

How exactly does counseling help?

 

Asking for Help

  • Asking for help can get you started on a different path. It can help you navigate your way through some indecision, or even find deeper meaning in your life.

Clarity and Goal Setting

  • Counseling can help you clarify what is truly important to you by becoming more aware of your core values and using this information to guide, inspire and motivate you to improve your life for the better. What do you want your life to be about? Setting goals can be a very important part of your journey to your better self.

Are you looking to:5 Great ways Counseling Can Help, Lindsay Melka, Denver , CO

Achieve more?

Improve your self confidence?

Feel happier?

Feel less stressed?

Find a new career?

Have more satisfying relationships?

Rediscover or discover what you’re passionate about?

Increase your motivation to change?

Increase your life satisfaction?

Suffer less from depression and anxiety?

Space and Focus

  • Counseling provides the opportunity to create a space where you can take a few moments and think deeply about your life. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to be different, better, more satisfying? Are there areas of lack? Do you feel as if something is missing?

Share your Troubles and Concerns

  • Counseling gives you the opportunity to get real and get honest about what’s happening in your life. It feels sooooo good to get “stuff” off your chest. The relief you feel sharing your troubles can be immensely healing. As the saying goes, a problem aired is a problem shared. Talking about things with another person takes the power out of it. It’s like taking super heavy objects out of your emotional backpack. Make sense??

Focus

  • You can start to get on with your life and focus on what matters. Think about how much time and energy is spent mulling over your troubles. It’s exhausting and it need not be!

Counseling can help you break through emotional barriers and get back on track. A better version of your life is waiting.


Lindsay Melka LPC Empathic Counseling and Therapy Denver

Lindsay Melka, LPC

Empathic Counseling and Therapy


If you connected with this post and would like to speak with me please call 720-295-5490 or contact me here.

Signs That You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

Your Struggle With Anxiety Has Cost You

Maybe it has cost you time, energy, deep and painful regret, financial burden, lost moments, lost celebrations, restricted freedom, missed opportunities and damaged or strained relationships with those whom you love and trust.  Below is a list of common things people do and feel when they struggle with anxiety and fear. Look it over. Do any of these apply to you? If so, you may have an anxiety disorder and could find relief in participating in counseling.

  • Avoiding situations or activities that bring on anxious thoughts, feelings and memories (e.g. going to a party, speaking at a meeting, going outside, being in a crowd, experiencing a new situation, driving, working)
  • Signs of a Anxiety Disorder, Lindsay Melka, Empathic Counseling and Therapy Denver COFeeling constantly overwhelmed
  • Fear of losing control
  • Distracting yourself from anxiety, fear and worrisome thoughts
  • Being in a state of uneasiness, apprehension; as about future uncertainties
  • A heightened fear of what people think of you
  • Self-doubt and low self-esteem
  • Fear resulting from anticipation about realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling like you’re going crazy
  • Inability to rest; sleep problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Stomach aches and or nausea
  • Neck tension or headaches

Although the above list includes common symptoms, this is by no means an exhaustive list. A more thorough and formal explanation of what an anxiety disorder looks like can be found in the DSM-V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). For example, some of the diagnostic criteria includes:

The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.

Excessive worry means worrying even when there is nothing wrong, or in a manner that is disproportionate to actual risk. This typically involves spending a high percentage of waking hours worrying about something. The worry may be accompanied by reassurance-seeking from others.

In adults, the worry can be about job responsibilities or performance, one’s own health or the health of family members, financial matters, and other everyday, typical life circumstances. Of note, in children, the worry is more likely to be about their abilities or the quality of their performance (for example, in school).

The worry is experienced as very challenging to control.

Worry in both adults and children may shift from one topic to another.

The anxiety and worry is associated with at least 3 of the following physical or cognitive symptoms (In children, only 1 symptom is necessary for a diagnosis of GAD.):

  1. Edginess or restlessness.
  2. Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual.
  3. Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank.
  4. Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others).
  5. Increased muscle aches or soreness.
  6. Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep).

Many individuals with GAD also experience symptoms such as sweating, nausea or diarrhea.

The anxiety, worry, or associated symptoms make it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities. They may cause problems in relationships, at work, or in other important areas.

These symptoms are unrelated to any other medical conditions and cannot be explained by the effect of substances including a prescription medication, alcohol or recreational drugs.

These symptoms are not better explained by a different mental disorder. (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

Effective therapy and counseling can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms associated with anxiety in a relatively short time, allowing you the ability to resume regular activities and regain a sense of control. Although some may not be able to identify the cause of their anxiety, after attending a few therapy sessions, many people are able to find the source of their struggle and work through this in more depth with their therapist. Psychotherapy aims to identify and address the source of the anxiety rather than treating the symptom alone.  The self reflective process of therapy helps people understand, unhinge and transform anxiety.

Counseling may also include some homework. There are a number of exercises that will provide you with new perspectives- leading to new experiences. Doing work outside of sessions will help you make contact with what works and what doesn’t. Some work may entail helping you feel worries, anxieties and fears-but will show you how you can experience all of them without acting on them. Understanding this logically is helpful, but only experiencing it yourself will make a difference in your life. Therapy can help you and work for you – but only if you work with it!

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.


Lindsay Melka LPC Empathic Counseling and Therapy Denver

Lindsay Melka, LPC

Empathic Counseling and Therapy


If you connected with this post and would like to speak with me please call 720-295-5490 or contact mehere.