DSST Fundamentals of counseling

The amount of time spent discussing a particular

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The amount of time spent discussing a particular topic provides insight into a person’s priorities, which is an example of nonverbal communication through time. The more, or less, time spent discussing a particular topic provides insight into the person’s motivation, interest, discomfort, etc… with the topic and is thus useful for gaining a better understanding of his or her thoughts, feelings, or emotions. The most common manifestation of nonverbal communication is body language. A person’s body language speaks volumes about underlying thoughts and feelings. Most often body language is unconscious and is therefore considered to be very accurate. An important component of nonverbal communication that serves to regulate the relationship is eye contact. The saying, “the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul” is not far off the mark. Looking down, staring into space, glaring, shifting eye movements, covering eyes, and looking away when looked at are all signs of a relationship lacking in trust. When the counselor and the client can meet one another’s eyes and talk directly to one another, that is a very good sign that the relationship is healthy. Facial expressions are the aspect of nonverbal communication that are most likely to be involuntary. Facial expression provides insight into the affect of a person. Smiling, lip biting, raising eyebrows, wrinkling nose, or wrinkled forehead are all examples of involuntary communicating that convey true thoughts and feelings. Repetitive behaviors are often and indicator of nervousness . Foot tapping, fidgeting, playing with hair or clothes, or any sort of restlessness is quite often a sign of nervousness or tension. The person who is not relaxed is likely not willing to share as openly as is required in a counseling relationship. Using the body to give signals or commands is a direct form of nonverbal communication. Nodding the head, waving, or shrugging the shoulders all have quite distinct and universal meanings. Other body gestures such as winking or touching may be interpreted differently in different contexts. The tone of a person’s voice is an example of nonverbal communication. Using a vocal medium to communicate is very common and usually quite effective. Flat or monotone voices tend to indicate boredom or disinterest, whereas weak or broken voices usually indicate nervousness or hesitancy. Changes in inflection (questioning, high pitch, etc…) also provide clues to a person’s thoughts or feelings as does the loudness of a person’s voice.
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Nonverbal communication is provided by the rate and diction of a person’s speech. Is the person talking fast, medium, or slow? Does he or she pay attention to grammar or use a lot of jargon or slang?
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