Importance Of Nonverbal Behaviour In Counselling

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Non-verbal behaviours are messages sent between people that are used to build and maintain relationships and are largely sent and interpreted unconsciously (Forbes & Jackson, 1980). Studies have indicated that when a person’s verbal behaviour contradicts their non-verbal behaviour their verbal communication is likely to be discounted by the recipient (Forbes & Jackson, 1980). Non-verbal behaviour is a way of tuning into the person you are communicating with. It is used in regulating conversations, communicating emotions, and providing clues to what a person is thinking; rather than relying purely on the spoken word which can be deceiving (Egan, 2014). Non-verbal behaviours can be seen to be ‘honest signals’ as they are often unconscious …show more content…
It is necessary for the counsellor to interpret their client’s non-verbal behaviour as well as manage their own. The portrayal of non-verbal behaviour and related meaning can differ between cultures; it is necessary for the counsellor to have an understanding of the relevant culture in order to identify and acknowledge the differences in order to accurately understand the client. The assumption that all non-verbal behaviours are the same across cultures can be damaging in a therapeutic relationship as the counsellor and client may misinterpret one another (Egan, …show more content…
The non-verbal behaviour may serve to confirm and emphasise what is said verbally, or alternatively it may carry a different, usually more honest answer as it contradicts what has been said. For example, a client may deny being upset, however, their quality of voice may falter and facial expressions may indicate otherwise; portraying a more authentic message. Non-verbal behaviour tends to be authentic as it is not easy for this form of communication to be faked by the client (Wahlstein, 1991, as cited in Egan, 2014). The client’s non-verbal behaviour may also serve to add intensity to verbal messages or control what is happening (Egan,

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