I am hoping that Spring is finally here and we can get liberated from the scarves and the tons of clothing which I am finding is restricting my body language and sometimes I am also finding it difficult to read my client’s body language. This is especially true for clients in counseling who find it challenging to communicate using words and use their bodies primarily. We know that in counseling, body language is used to help build rapport, by observing the clients body movements and matching them in an appropriate way it can improve communication. On an unconscious level mirroring the clients movements can help them feel more comfortable with their counsellors; reason being people feel more connected to the people who are most like themselves. The counsellor observes the client’s body language at all times, noting any discomfort, as this could indicate difficulty verbalizing something, and further exploration can be carried out to connect to the client’s deeper feelings. Body Language is the unspoken communication that goes on in every face-to-face encounter with another human being. It informs us the true feelings towards us and how well our words are being received by others. I found an acronym in a website which helps me to remember that dos and don’ts of using body language as a counsellor-it is important though to remember that every client t is different and every situation is different so it is important to make sure that using body language takes into account the diversity,culture, gender , ethnicity etc. So the acronym SOLERF stands for
S – Squarely face person vs. sitting kitty-corner.
O – Use Open posture vs. crossed arms and legs
L – Lean a little toward the person vs. settling back in your chair
E – Use Eye contact vs. staring off into deep space
R – Relax; keep it natural vs. sitting like a board
F – look friendly vs. neutral or scowling.
For me, every client is always feeling much more than what they are saying and it is important to be aware of my own body language and making sure that I am keeping the communication simple and make sure that nothing is lost in translation.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA