Affirmation therapy involves the therapist’s affective, not effective, presence with a client—in other words,
it is a way of “being” with a person as opposed to “doing” something for him or her. Affirmation therapy can be formally described as a way of being affectively present to
another human person in a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist reveals to the client his or her intrinsic goodness and worth. Affirmation is a profound way of
being with someone that should not be mistaken for a set of simplistic techniques such as giving a pat on the back or a superficial or shallow compliment. Any actions or
interventions on the part of the therapist are secondary to the therapist’s affective presence and are only healing in the context of the loving and nurturing environment
created by the therapist.
The authentic care, concern, and love for the client by the therapist is communicated on an emotional level through the therapist's eyes, facial expression, countenance
and other nonverbal communication, as well as gentle words of acceptance and encouragement emanating naturally from the therapist’s heart. This affective presence allows
the client to feel loved and worthwhile instead of simply trying to believe it with his or her intellect based on the words of the therapist. As the client accepts or
receives affirmation from the therapist, emotional growth occurs naturally and is allowed to unfold at the client’s pace. This emotional growth is comparable to the growth
and development of a child as it receives the nurturing love of a parent.
In affirmation therapy, the therapist’s role can be likened to that of a parent—nurturing, loving, understanding, giving example, teaching moral truths according to the
capacity and belief system of the client, and seeing to the individual’s intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs.