Last night, students in my class, Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions for Children and Families, got a bit of a preview of one section of Handling Intense Emotions. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. But the students seemed to understand the skills we were teaching, played along with the practice exercices and laughed at the right times. Emily was in the class and told me later she heard only positive comments.
The section I showed was on Validation Plus statements. It builds on Marcia Linehan’s notion of pairing validation statements with change statements. Example: “Of course you are upset that your Mom didn’t visit; anyone in your situation would be upset. At the same time, you have to figure out other ways to express how upset you are other than hitting the wall. It is dangerous and causes damage.” We play on that to think of all kinds of statements that can be paired with validation to help caregivers say what needs to be said and have youth be able to hear it because it follows a well crafted validation statement. After a few practice attempts, the students’ efforts were pretty good.