Nonverbal Communication and Body Language Essay

Submitted By steveandyhen
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Course | Level 4 – NCFE Diploma In Counselling | Module Number | 3 |
Stephen Hendricks


The observations discussed below were carried out at a coffee house in my local shopping Centre. The total observations lasted for approximately 45minutes, but were broken down into groups. A total of 9 people were observed, their age range varies from a small child to a grandparent. For the sake of this study, I will name the groups as 1,2,3 and 4.

Group 1 – 1x male & 1x female, both around mid 20s.
Group 2 – 3x females, all around late teens.
Group 3 – 2x males, both mid to late 30s.
Group 4 – 1x male & 2x females, young child, mum and possibly grandmother.

Body Language

Kuhnke (2007) explains that Body Language is the method of non verbal communication. She then proceeds to indicate this method of language can display a persons thoughts, attitude and emotions just by their gestures and actions. Charlie Chaplin, according to Pease (1988) was just one of our pioneers of this non-verbal communication method. Although research on this subject is recent within the last 60 years, both Pease (1988) and Kuhnke (2007) agree that the practice of non-verbal communication has probably been practised since the birth of human kind. During the observation of group 1, the male was initially at the counter, the female was sat at the table using her phone. I then noticed her looking several times towards her male companion and then began gripping her hands together on the table. Pease tells us that “this gesture allows a person to relive the emotional security that he experienced as a child when his parent held his hand under fearful circumstances” (1988 p62). When the male arrived at the table, her smile to him indicated approval or happiness according to Cherry (2013), whereas Kuhnke explains a smile, could be interpreted as a means of acceptance. The dynamics between the couple was displayed as the female held the males hand then both made eye contact with a smile indicating mutual affection. As a counsellor, these gestures of non-verbal communication could indicate the client's apprehension, lacking in confidence or self- esteem. The smile may indicate the acceptance of the counsellor or even the feeling of security - client feels safe in the counsellors presence.

Group 2 generated several problems for me to observe successfully. The three females were sat around the table and it was very difficult to see which person if any was the dominate person. At times, either two or all three would be speaking at the same time, there was lots of eye contact in the group and plenty of jovial laughter, the group came across to me as close friends. At one point, whilst only one was speaking, the other two were lent towards the speaker, and whilst one of the females placed her open hands over her open mouth, the other female changed her posture from leaning forwards to bolting upright also with an open mouth. “When people want to hide an emotional reaction, they might cover their mouths” Cherry (2013 p4). Kuhnke (2007) says “a position for showing disapproval is with the head held firmly upright over a straight body”(p63). Despite not hearing the words, the non-verbal language indicated that of shock, disapproval or even a unknown disclosure of some kind being told to the two listeners. I can recall a similar feeling with myself when my counsellor spoke to me about my sexuality. I bolted upright also with an open mouth in disbelief. Due to my response, it indicated to my counsellor that I had not addressed my own sexuality and allowed him to explore the issue with more open questions.

The two males in group 3 were stood near the doorway, it appeared that the conversation between them was led by one and the other only listening and responding as he hardly spoke at all. The main noticeable behaviour I observed was the listener was constantly looking around and out of the window