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The result, DBT is one of the most evidence-based and verifiable approaches to the treatment of people diagnosed with BPD. For now I'd like to spend a little time covering the very basic principles of what Linehan called the Invalidating Environment'.
“An emotionally invalidating environment is any environment in which a person's emotional experiences are not responded to appropriately or are responded to inconsistently.
It takes more than the odd inattentive moment from your father.
These are the normal experiences of the average childhood.
The validating environment is at least as likely (if not more so) to catch the child doing it right – especially in matters of emotional control.
So the child who feels angry but then manages to control their aggression is praised for their control – not criticised for the anger.
There's a time and a place for every emotion – even anger.
”Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, Ph D 2008When we discussed the role of trauma in an earlier post we made the point that trauma does not necessarily need to be acute (sudden/intense).It can be chronic (long-lasting) and might be relatively undramatic.This is the case with the Invalidating environment that Marsha Linehan identified.The angry emotion is acknowledged as valid even if it's not the best or most effective emotion that the child could have chosen.It's OK to explain that anger is not always an appropriate response in difficult situations (that' helps the child to develop understanding) but not to say that the feeling itself isn't valid.