טרום אישוש (PREVALIDATION) הוא מונח שטבע AL TURTLE, ומתייחס לכך שכל בני האדם בעלי הגיון, אפילו טרם פתחו את פיהם. אני נוהגת לומר שכאשר משהו נשמע לנו לא הגיוני, יש לנו רק שלש אפשרויות: א. איננו יודעים מספיק על הנושא שבו מדובר, לפיכך נבקש שיוסיפו ויסבירו לנו. ב. אנו רוצים שהגיון של האחר, יהיה כמו ההגיון שלנו – נזרוק הפחה. ג. אנו איננו אוהבים את הגיונו של האחר – נשליך הפחה. קראו את מאמרו של AL TURTLE על הטרום-אישוש.
Pre-Validation / The Two Icebergs
By Al Turtle ©Al Turtle 2003
This material is based on discussions with Ted Smith of New York, many years of dialogue with my wife, Sandra, and repeated experiences on the Fire-Pit, sponsored by the Peace Project, a committee of Imago Relationships International. It was first presented formally in a telephone interview with Althea Chadwick on August 1, 2002, recorded and made available on the internet at Internet Audio Sharing Imago Relationships International.
Pre-Validation: The posture of awareness that anyone you meet, no matter what they are doing, make sense before they open their mouths. A learned posture of contentment with another person’s differing point view.
Pre-Invalidation: The posture of persuasion, based on the internal assumption that others don’t make sense. The home of “facticity.” (See MasterTalk and Master/Slave.)
Teaching Pre-Validation. I use the chart here. The text of this lesson follows the chart.
Lesson on Pre-Validation
Each of us is like an iceberg floating in the ocean. Take a look at one iceberg. Part of it is visible, but most is invisible. As you look at the visible part, your mind remembers that there is a whole lot of ice below the surface. You know that every molecule of ice above the surface, is supported by all those molecules that are below the surface. Still all others can see is what is on top. I can see your behavior, and hear your words, but I can’t see why you do that or why you say that. Your “sense” is largely invisible to me. It is below the surface.
So I can ask you, “Why did you say that?” Now, at first you may tell me things, the meanings of your words, the lessons in your life, your history, your thinking. But after a bit you may stop at the first barrier – the wall of privacy, sometimes called the wall of shame. Below this line are things that you know about, but don’t want to share. Perhaps you fear being mocked or made fun of, or shamed. Whatever the reason, unless you tell me, I won’t be able to really see your sense. It doesn’t mean that your sense is not present, just that I won’t see it unless you tell me.
So let’s assume you can tell me anything without fear of shame. Now as you tell me more of your sense, you will run into another wall – the wall of the unconscious. What is down there? All the stuff behind your answer of “I don’t know why I do that.” This is all the stuff that moves and drives you, upsets or entertains you, and you don’t know why. This is the unknown. Some people call this your Shadow. Some people call this your Denied Self. But, bottom line is that you don’t know what this stuff is. Still this stuff is part of your “sense.” I can’t really understand your sense unless you and I know this stuff. Down there is your history, your life as a little kid, your mom and your dad.
Once you see yourself like an iceberg, you will probably realize that you are not capable of doing something that is not a result of all those molecules in that iceberg. To say it stronger, you are not capable of doing something that is not a result of all that stuff. You always make sense within yourself — even if some of the components of your sense are out of your own sight (unconscious), you always are congruent. Every act, every word out of your mouth makes sense — within you. You always make sense.
Now lets look at the full picture with two icebergs. Over here is your partner. They have the same structure: visible part, privacy wall, unconscious stuff, etc. They also always make sense – within themselves. They too are always congruent. So we can arrive at two conclusions. “All people make sense all the time.” is the first. All people are always valid. Cannot be otherwise. But note that at the same time there is not one single molecule in your iceberg that is in your partner. Not one. So the second conclusion is that “two people never make exactly the same sense, ever.”
The question is not whether your partner makes sense. The question is whether you can see or hear the sense they are making. When you think your partner is doing something “odd”, the situation is that you are uninformed about the sense they are making. If you were informed you wouldn’t think their behavior odd. The word “odd” in this usage is one of those misleading words. When I see my partner as “odd”, normal behavior is to focus on them, when the real problem is in me. I repeat, “When I think you are odd, it means I am uninformed.”
So try this dialogue, which I call the Odd Dialogue. Pick something your partner did that you think is odd, weird, backward, dumb, etc. Go to your partner and start by this leading sentence. “I saw you do so-and-so the other day and that appeared odd to me. Now I know you make sense all the time, so could you share with me what was going on that lead you to do that.” Then listen (mirror) and see if you are not led to an awareness of those two conclusions: “all people make sense all the time” and “two people never make the exact same sense, ever.”
When you do this exercise, you are practicing Pre-validation.
History of Pre-Validation
Some years ago Ted Smith, a great Imago Therapist from New York, and I spent some time comparing notes on our methods of working dialogically with individuals. We found we were using a common approach. We observed that clients, as they approached our offices, were doing things and were involved in patterns of behavior that made sense to them. We both experienced that people changed their behavior when the added new data to their thinking. That the best environment for taking in new information was one where they were validated for what they were or had been doing. If we as therapists didn’t approach them as valid, they would not join with us in finding new patterns. So we both had come to “approach the person walking into the office as valid before they open their mouths.”
Pre-Validation as a Spiritual Practice
A spiritual dimension of this is the idea that “God lives within us and knows that what we do is valid to us.” God knows we are doing our best. But humans often forget this Godly lesson. And so it is helpful that humans remind us, by taking that as-if-I-were-God position. And thus validation often becomes a celebration of each person’s spiritual worth – of the sense we already make.
Thus Imago Therapy often becomes quite a spiritual event, where the therapist sees the god in each partner. There is no sense of taking sides, in dialogical space, as both make sense all the time. At the spiritual level couple’s therapy becomes “God holding God meeting God” (Althea Chadwick Aug, 2002).
Some Theory: PreValidation
I call this attitude or skill, Pre-Validation. It is a mind set, an internal stance of listener. It is the position that before you open your mouth you are valid. As you speak you share with me your validity. Until you speak your validity may be hidden from me. Hidden or not, your validity is nevertheless always there. Your validity is not conditional. Whatever you are going to say is valid for you.
This makes the idea of “making sense” to shift from an external point of view to an internal point of view. All people make sense all the time —- to themselves. Internal logic is there whether shared or not.
The sentence “You don’t make sense.” can mean one of three things:
a) I don’t yet see the sense that you do make. So tell me. Or
b) I don’t like the sense that you make, which is about me and not about you. Or
c) You don’t make my sense. Which is silly.
Definition of Validation
Pre-validation brings about a very exact new definition of validation. In the past, people have used validation as if there were a decision to be made – i.e. “a person either makes sense or does not.” This often slips into the completely silly thinking that “you don’t make sense.” I think this happens because of the way we often teach validation in the traditional MVE pattern. By waiting till the end of the mirroring to say the phrase “you make sense”, it is a small step to activating the judgmental part of the brain. Also that particular phrase easily implies a judgment, as if “you cannot make sense.” I split validation into two pieces: Part 1 and Part 2.
Part 1 is the Pre-validation statement. “Of course you make sense.” “You always make sense.” “I’ve never known you to not make sense.” “Please share with me your sense.” etc.
Part 2 I call “Bearing Witness.” After I see my partner’s sense, after I grasp their internal logic and consistency, then I speak up and say, “Oh, I see it. You did that because………. I see. That makes sense.” I visualize this as kind of a court room situation, where I am standing before the judge explaining why my friend did what they did, why they made sense. As I am “bearing witness”, as I am “validating” my partner, I watch them to see if I truly have gotten their sense. If not, I ask them to explain more. Since people always make sense all the time, this is usually not difficult. Just takes practice.
If the situation doesn’t have time for me to do a “bearing witness” I will still almost always throw in a Part 1. How about this one, “I don’t see why you did that, but I know it made sense to you. When you have time, let me know your sense.”
I try to never compare their sense with mine except obliquely. “Your sense seems kind of like mine.” I think it quite silly to suggest that a person makes sense because they did something the way I do.
I believe it is important to get rid of the judgmental phrase, “you make sense” after mirroring. Replace it with liberal injections of “you always make sense. What is it this time?”
Importance of Validation
Somewhere along the path to having an adult brain, each of us discover that we see things very differently from the way others see things. My belief is that this awareness of difference is frequently scary. Our brains question themselves – wonder if they themselves are “crazy.” I believe this natural, common, fear is the primary source of people saying, “Did that make sense?” “Do I make any sense?” after they say something. They want reassurance that they are not crazy and are still acceptable even though different.
Pre-validating is immensely reassuring. Seeking to validate (Part 2) invites people to dig down and see their own sense. When you bear witness to their sense, you help strengthen their self-hood, their sense of integrity.
Persuasion is Pre-Invalidating
Because we make sense all the time, our current point of view is the best we can come up with at any point. What we are doing is our best. We will change it when we have a new point of view, new data. Sharing data allows us to change our points of view based on more data. Dialogue is a wonderful way to share data. But persuasion is based on the internal belief that someone should do it our way. Persuasion is based on an assumption of the invalidity of the other. Persuasion is built upon pre-invalidation. Persuasion is Master/Slave – an attempt to control, a subtle form of war.
Our Culture is based upon persuasion and pre-invalidation. At its most basic, our culture is a Master/Slave culture and thus a culture of critical disconnection, alienation from each other and loneliness. Our culture tends to be a powerful proponent of emotional symbiosis: the delusion that others see, feel, appreciate, value things the way we do. Most therapists who teach dialogue but don’t practice it themselves, usually seem to be involved in this persuasion tactic. Give it up. It doesn’t work.
I used to say, “You should like this movie.” I have given up being persuasive. In giving that up I have gained a great sense of inner peace. And I pre-validate myself. .
Pre-Validation creates Peace
The dialogical alternative is a) sharing data in dialogue and b) pre-validating that the other will always make the best decision they can.
Pre-validation is a form of healing for our culture. The heart of our culture is coming from a place of invalidating – persuasion.
Shame: a developed habit of pre-invalidating oneself. Heal shame by practicing pre-validation. As you pre-validate others you will come to break that shame habit. As you validate them, their resentment will vanish.
Resentment: the memory of having been invalidated. Heal resentment in two steps: 1) by validating the original invalidating experience and 2) validating any invalidating experiences that have occurred in the time between the original and the present. Resentment can easily be healed by intentional validating activities by the “offender”.