What are communication skills?
Communication skills refer to a person's ability to convey information, thoughts, feelings, and ideas through either verbal communication skills or nonverbal communication. Verbal and nonverbal communication play an essential role in a good communication style.
Verbal communication refers to communication between two or more people. These can be:
- Face-to-face conversations
- Telephone/Mobile phone conversations
- Public speaking
- Classroom conversations
- Instruction or guidance
During these interactions, individuals typically communicate ideas verbally. Effective verbal communication involves careful, precise, and thorough consideration of the context.
On the other hand, nonverbal communication is also an essential communication style we humans engage in. The more you look for nonverbal communication cues, the more there are many ways we can communicate without using verbal cues. Instances of nonverbal communication techniques can be:
- Facial expressions
- Body language
- Eye contact
Being able to understand nonverbal communication is important when it comes to being able to communicate effectively. It's essential to comprehend that nonverbal cues often go hand in hand with verbal communication. It aids as a provider of additional context and supports interpersonal relationships.
Passive, aggressive, and assertive communication
There are a range of different communication styles that are important to note.
Passive communication is a type of communication that often leaves individuals not expressing their own needs, wants, and desires. They often focus on the requirements of others as well as trying to avoid conflict. Often, individuals will engage in the following:
- Avoidance of conflict
- Having a difficult time saying "no"
- Indirect communication
- Depending on other's approval
- Difficulty expressing emotions
Unfortunately, engaging in passive communication styles often may lead to personal needs not being met, as well as impacting the mental health of that individual. Catering to the requirements of others all the time can take a significant toll on someone, and being unable to communicate differently can be difficult.
Another essential communication technique that can cause significant issues is aggressive communication. This is often where individuals will engage in:
- Asserting dominance often
- Intimidating others
- Blaming others
- Interrupting others
- Demanding language
- Physical aggression
This communication style often worries others about conversing with them, not having a great group of friends, or even falling into the wrong peer group. This style often hurts others. Often, those using this communication technique should try to reroute their conversation style into another more helpful or productive one. This is where therapy sessions can support these individuals.
Finally, an assertive communication style is simply the middle ground between passive and aggressive. Individuals who utilize powerful communication techniques are often:
- Have a respectful tone
- Active listening
- Setting boundaries
- Able to problem-solve
- Confident body language
- Open to feedback
Being assertive in communication is the ideal middle ground. Individuals who engage in this style often have a positive relationship with others and often increase their understanding of others. An assertive style is something that individuals can work towards through practice. Individuals may choose to attend therapy sessions to work on their behavior and enhance several techniques that can have beneficial outcomes.
Being able to communicate effectively is an essential part of being able to hold positive relationships. These skills also transfer to workplaces, education settings, family and romantic relationships, and understanding the positions of people you may not know.
Why is communication important in therapy?
Effective communication within therapy ultimately supports the therapeutic alliance. When the patients feel like they can share their ideas and contribute to their treatment plans, there is a higher likelihood of positive clinical outcomes and a higher participation rate in the treatment plans (College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia, 2019). Communication often helps therapists build rapport with their clients.
Communication in therapy can also mean a range of different things. For example, an individual talking about their thoughts may indicate that they feel frustrated through their facial expressions rather than what they say to you. It may be a good idea to delve more into their feelings to understand their point of view during this time effectively. You may counter this with open-ended questions to allow the individual to express more.
Effective mental health treatment plans can be complicated if the individual has some factors they need to work on within themselves. Often, issues such as depression, resources, and concerns can make the process difficult and may elicit conflict behavior. Being able to communicate the importance and control that the individual has can help them to find the words on how they are feeling and improve the outcomes for the patient.
Understanding when clients need to improve communication
There may be a range of reasons why a patient may come to you for support in their mental health journey to improve their communication. Here are a few examples:
If a patient misunderstands what is being said during a session or notes that their family/friends are having difficulty understanding them, it could be time to improve communication skills.
Lack of clarity
When it comes to being clear and concise, individuals having difficulty with communication may find it hard to do both. When someone cannot communicate how they're feeling to others, or it just isn't making sense to them or yourself, it could be time to think about communication skills.
Struggles in relationships
You also may find that individuals who come to you as mental health professionals seek support for differing issues. During your time together, you may hear that they struggle with communication in their relationships with others. Consider a treatment plan incorporating this aspect may be a good idea.
Communication Skills Treatment Plan example (sample)
Here at Carepatron, we're dedicated to making your life as a mental health professional much easier. That's why we've uploaded a completed plan for your reference.
Please note: This example will differ depending on your client's goals or what they're experiencing. This is a fictional character who has a passive communication style.
The benefits of improving communication skills
There are various benefits of improving communication skills for individuals who are having difficulty managing positive relationships, maintaining positive self-care as well
Enhancing Social Skills
First and foremost, enhancing communication skills can support overall social skills. Individuals struggling socially may find their current communication techniques not working well. Good communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. Improved interpersonal skills can foster healthy relationships as well as future positive connections.
Enhancing communication skills also supports conflict resolution within relationships. Individuals who can freely express their opinions, thoughts, and advice respectfully are likelier to foster positive relationships with others.
Improving Self-Care Habits
Another great benefit of improving communication skills is being able to notice when it's time to give yourself a break from others, as well as being a part of the treatment strategies that are put in place.
Communicating needs, wants, and opinions effectively can be complex for someone who is a passive person andgling with an aggressive communication style. By improving the techniques they use to communicate, individuals may be able to manage their stress levels, resolve conflict more quickly, set better boundaries, and even seek support.
These behaviors can support self-care habits that can be implemented into their lifestyle.
Another benefit of improving communication may be an enhancement of self-esteem. Individuals working on their skills may feel more confident in their ability to engage with others in a meaningful conversation clearly with others. This can empower them to overcome new challenges and work towards their treatment plan and goals.
Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?
Carepatron is just the place for all your therapy software requirements.
Here at Carepatron, we're dedicated to simplifying life for all healthcare professionals, especially those who deal with the importance of mental health support. With over 1,000 templates or therapy techniques, you can ensure you're obtaining only the best and most trustworthy information to utilize in your practice.
We're not only dedicated to supporting you on the front line. Carepatron has a range of tools that set us apart from any other ordinary healthcare OS system.
When you choose Carepatron, you can access therapy practice management software that supports you and your co-workers. You can look forward to our ability to set patient reminders with our patient appointment reminder software, the ease of our clinical note system with our clinical documentation software that allows you access from home or the office, and the bills with our medical billing software. With Carepatron, don't worry about setting time aside to complete those pesky administrative tasks. We've got you covered.
Carepatron is the best option for you as a mental health treatment planner and someone who genuinely cares about your patients.
What are you waiting for? Sign up today!
College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia. (2019). Communication in the Therapeutic Relationship. https://cptbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CPTBC-making-a-connection-2019.pdf