1. Biosocial model: High degree of emotional sensitivity + invalidation over time = extreme behaviors (borderline personality disorder).
2. DBT therapists work to keep invalidation to a minimum while recognizing that validating 100% of the time is not possible or advised.
3. Therapist’s TIBs are examples of invalidation.
Invalidation in Therapy
You may recall that DBT’s primary theoretical stance on how problems arise involves consideration of the biosocial model. The bio half in biosocial accounts for the biologically inborn degree of sensitivity each of us is born with. And the social half accounts for the environmental influences we each experience on a daily basis.
According to the theory, it is the transactions over time between an emotionally sensitive individual who is born that way and an invalidating environment which lead to extremes in behavior that can be seen in borderline personality disorder and other disorders characterized by emotion dysregulation. Although an invalidating environment doesn’t have to be abusive, abuse and neglect are certainly examples of invalidation.