Academic journal article Annals of Psychotherapy and Integrative Health

Ventilate and Validate

Academic journal article Annals of Psychotherapy and Integrative Health

Ventilate and Validate

Article excerpt


During Ground Zero a group of chaplains developed a process known as Ventilate and Validate. The concept of this process is to prompt the victim or witness of a traumatic event to talk about it for five minutes. By doing so, they relive the initial impact of the event.

We know that defusing, or debriefing, is a post-event process; however, Ventilate and Validate can be used during a prolonged event when the chaplain wants to help take the edge off of what a person experienced.

The concept is simple: allow the responder to move at their own pace and do not delve into the emotional realm. Additionally, the Ventilate and Validate process allows for an educational prompting, especially of things the responder might do while still on their post.

One of the most useful educational tools is a deep breathing exercise. This allows for a degree of relaxation without any special knowledge and can be repeated as often as necessary to assist the responder in relaxation.

We used the Ventilate and Validate technique at Ground Zero to ask the responder how they found out about the event. Then we simply allowed the person to respond while we offered encouragement. We then asked what some of their first thoughts were about the trauma.

The key to this process is the validation. This is important because often a responder will think they are the only one experiencing certain thoughts, feelings, and emotions about the event. We help the responder become aware that most everyone we have spoken with who was connected with the event had similar reactions. …

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