As a therapist and counselor I am always teaching clients about communication. A lot frustration between couples and definitely teens and their parents comes from communication. I specialize in couples counseling, empowering individuals through individual counseling and teen counseling that incorporates not only the teen but their parents as well. I love being able to put couples or families “on the court” during session and coach them through communication issues they are having. I allow them to show me what they are already doing by asking them to engage in a recent conflict or argument, and then I give them so new tools and guidelines. We then revisit the same conversation they just had but with my rules. It is amazing how it transforms their communication.
Most often we think that communication is very simple. Communication actually is VERY complex, and it has many parts. During sessions as I am teaching my clients about communication I like to show them 3 major aspects of communication, and I draw it out for them like so…
Most people have no idea that what we actually say, our words, only makes up 7% of our communication, ONLY 7%, did you know that?? Our tone and voice inflection make up 38% of our communication and our non-verbal communication, the largest part, makes up 55%.
As a therapist I have fine tuned my listening skills by observing years and years of people communicating. When clients often can’t find a word they are trying to express I can usually pick it up through what they are saying non-verbally with their hands, a gesture or even a posture.
I came across this video haphazardly one day during licensure supervision with my interns. Allan Pease does a fantastic job of demonstrating what our body language communicates. As you watch the video and he goes through the experiment they did ask yourself, “how does that make me feel?” Although we may not be aware of what we are feeling on a day to day basis as we communicate with others or response will sure give us an idea of how we felt.