"Communication is crucial to human relating within society" (Roxana Rudzik-Shaw)
What is Communication? What are the key features of effective communication? What are some of the barriers to effective communication? Consequences of communication breakdown? How counselling may be able to help?
What is Communication?
"Communication is the means through which we control our existence...Communication works through a two-way process by which messages are sent and understood between individuals or groups of people." (British Institute for Learning Disabilities).
What are the Key Features of Effective Communication?
- Linguistics - what you verbally communicate
- Paralinguistics - how you communicate verbally
- Non-verbal communication
Barriers to Effective Communication:
- Misunderstanding verbal/written/visual message
- Language barrier
Consequences of Communication Breakdown may include:
- Fear/Phobia (e.g. public speaking)
- Panic attacks
- Relationship breakdown
- Loss of contact with others including family, friends, peers
- Lack of social contact
- 'Acting out'/Aggression
- Feelings of 'stuckness'
- Altered perceptions
- Cognitive distortions
- 'Should have, Could have, Would have' thinking
- Internal locus of evaluation
- Suicide ideation
- Dependence on alcohol, drugs, etc
- Over-reliance on internet for relating to others (e.g. Second Life) in the absence of in-person relationship
- Addictions (e.g. online gaming, gambling, etc)
How Counselling may be able to Help Me?
The first step is usually the most difficult when choosing to seek help. However, seeking the right help at the right time may be invaluable and life changing.
I have worked with many clients on a vast array of issues relating to communication. For example, communication difficulties may be borne of anxiety, stress, loss and bereavement, bullying, victimisation, work-related issues, public speaking, relationship issues, etc. The most prevalent elements within the aforementioned issues has been communication or the lack/absence of communication.
While endeavouring to offer the core conditions, fostering a professional and non-directive therapeutic relationship with each individual client, I have strived to understand my clients' needs and goals. In so doing, we have a shared understanding of what we are realistically working towards in our work together.
I value the importance of offering a CLIENT-centred service in which I may offer reflections, understanding of the presenting issues and invite my client to perhaps consider a thought, question, technique, or guided-visualisation, which I offer with every good intention of us working towards my client's goal(s). Moreover, working within an integrative approach, I am able to incorporate elements of CBT, SFBT and TA theories or techniques as appropriate, to name but a few example, should I believe that introducing these theoretical perspectives may be helpful to a particular client.
An example of an incredible therapeutic hour spent mostly in silence... I recall vividly my invitation for a particular male client, reluctant to speak for holding back the tears, to explore a collection of therapeutic stones present in the counselling room. Fortunately this invitation to explore, seek, question, challenge, understand, change, and gain insight was accepted. Within 10-15 minutes, my client reconstructed recent life events with significant others through a visual representation of stones. Through our therapeutic stone work, we learnt about the roles he and she played in the demise of a once loving relationship, the dark depression and isolation, etc. This client started journaling after our 'almost silent' session, and shared extracts about his thoughts and experiences between sessions during our next scheduled counselling sessions. It was remarkable to see a change in him, and how he found his 'voice' again, re-connecting with himself. In a way, my client was communicating again with himself through journaling and I believe that an effective counselling may have also helped him on his life's journey.
Thank you for reading my article about 'Communication'. I hope this has been a useful read. If you think someone you know might benefit from reading this, please do share with them. Comments welcome.