Validation: The Intersection Between Clinicians and Administrators

by Alex Campos, Patient Care Manager

When was the last time you felt truly heard? Truly seen? Can you recall the situation?
Likely, it was during a conversation with someone close to you who was able to validate your experience and verbalize their understanding of it. It could have also come from someone you barely know – such as a customer service representative – helping you through an issue. Wherever or whoever it comes from, validation feels good.

Validation has become a widely discussed topic as stigmas of psychotherapy have been broken down over the last decade. This has brought about a much needed shift in our perspectives of both our inner and outer worlds. Why? Because validation makes us feel understood and heard.

As the Patient Experience Manager at a mental health practice, it is more-so than ever very important for me to have a supportive and validating team of administrative staff at my side. The team of Patient Care Managers at Center for Anxiety, as well as the Operations staff, works tirelessly to provide a seamless journey toward better mental health care and support. The reliance of clinical staff on the administrative staff, and vice versa, is inextricable.

Through validation, we are able to feel understood. Once we feel understood, we are able to offer our trust. Asking patients to put their trust in us comes from every interaction they experience – from the first phone call, to their final session. We would not be able to offer these services without the support of one another. With our skilled mental health clinicians, and attentive and caring administrative staff, Center for Anxiety clearly prioritizes patient care by providing ample resources, staff, and support for each and every one of our patients.

Want to work on your validation skills? Here are some behind-the-scenes steps you can follow to improve connections in your own life:

Pay Attention:
Look interested in the other person instead of bored (no multitasking).

Reflect Back:
Say back what you heard the other person say or do, to be sure you understand exactly what the person is saying. No judgmental language or tone of voice.

“Read Minds”:
Be sensitive to what is not being said by the other person. Pay attention to facial expressions, body language, what is happening, and what you know about the person already. Show you understand in words or by your actions.

Understand why the other person’s feelings, thoughts or actions make sense based on their past experiences and/or current state of mind or physical condition (i.e., the causes).

Acknowledge the Valid:
Look for how the person’s feelings, thinking, or actions are valid responses because they fit current facts, or are understandable because they are a logical response to current facts.

Show Equality:
Be yourself! Don’t “one-up” or “one-down” the other person.

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