Non-Verbal Communication in Counselling

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Nonverbal communication is body language and plays a major role in relationship development because it is also the main channel we use to communicate our feelings and attitudes towards others. But because much of our nonverbal communication behavior is unconscious, most of us have limited awareness or understanding of it. The importance of nonverbals in communication cannot be overemphasized; they are crucial to getting the full message. Some writers have suggested that as much as 80% of communication takes place on the nonverbal level.

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General Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication:

1. Nonverbal Communication Uses Many Channels for Sending and Receiving – Messages may be sent in many ways, as the list below shows. This list is to help you become more aware of the variety of and complexity of nonverbal communication. With greater awareness you will develop greater understanding of the ways in which others interpret the nonverbal signals you send. Also, by improving your skills in reading the nonverbal responses other persons make to your communication, you will learn how you yourself are perceived.

I. Nonverbal communication behaviours using TIME:
· Recognition
· Priorities

II. Nonverbal communication behaviours using the BODY:
· Eye Contact – There seems to be more eye contact in interpersonal interactions between Arabs, South Americans, and Greeks than between people from other cultures. There is evidence that some African Americans looks at others less than whites do when sending and receiving messages. · Eyes

· Skin
· Posture

· Facial expression – the face is the exhibit gallery of our emotional displays. And although we often try to manipulate our facial cues to project a premeditated feeling, our faces may still betray our true emotions to others. Your face is versatile. According to one research team, it is capable o f producing over 250,000 different expressions. Research has found that facial expressions conveying...
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