Body language is a form of nonverbal communication that accompanies speech. Common forms of body language are eye contact, posture, facial expression, and fine and gross movement. Social workers must understand how these seemingly simple, sometimes unconscious, body language responses may have a lasting effect by encouraging or discouraging a client. Body language with a negative connotation can create barriers and dissuade a client from establishing and developing the helping relationship. In contrast, when the social worker’s body language conveys interest and empathy, the client is more likely to feel comfortable and receptive to assistance.
Because nonverbal communication can hinder a successful client relationship, social workers need to understand the way in which they present themselves. This extends to what is presented via the environment, as well—social workers must also consider the interview room’s layout and the tone it conveys.
In this Discussion, you explore body language and the helping relationship by assessing a social work scenario.
watch the video Southside Community Services: Mrs. Bargas, Episode 2.
Cummins, L., K., & Sevel, J., A. (2017). Social work skills for beginning direct practice: Text, workbook, and interactive web based case studies (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2016). Southside Community Services: Mrs. Bargas, episode 2 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
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