Communication styles


Which communication

Communication is key in many relationships however we all have different styles of communication to make ourselves heard and understood. We are often encouraged to be more assertive with our communication styles to avoid being passive or aggressive. In his book, ‘The 5 languages of Love’; the author Gary Chapman suggests the 5 ways of communication in relationships:

  • words of affirmation: positive words to others
  • quality time: spending time doing mutual activities
  • receiving gifts: buying gifts to show love
  • acts of service: showing care by doing tasks or chores for others
  • physical touch: hugging; holding hands; intimate contact with partner to show affection

These are all ways of communicating that we care in relationships. However, conflict can occur when communication is misunderstood, albeit that we are speaking another ‘language’ from the 5 mentioned above.


body of water on beach shore
body of water on beach shore
body of water on beach shore

Communication & counseling 

However, how many of us take time to think about the importance of truly listening to others in our daily conversations to really make the other person feel seen, heard and understood. Indeed, with trauma a person may feel very disconnected from society and not feel ‘seen or heard’. Indeed, traumatic events often involve relationships and a breaking of trust in others. This can result in feelings of disconnection and isolation from others. Counseling can provide a therapeutic space through use of reflective listening; holding space; validating; being non judgmental and compassionate to allow those with trauma to develop trust in human relationships once more. 

However, therapeutic listening to others does not have to be confined to the therapy room. We can all naturally improve our listening skills when hearing the problems of friends and family. This may mean using some mindfulness skills such as making space for the person whom we are listening to and providing our undivided attention instead of the usual distractions from the phone or TV. This may also mean taking time to truly take time to understand what it may be like to ‘walk in their shoes’ without stepping in and feeling they have to be saved. Sometimes just letting some one know you are interested in their situation may be enough to allow them to be seen and heard to allow the trauma healing to occur. 

If you are interested in learning more about effective communication and listening skills, it may be worth exploring a short introductory counseling course to find out more. You can find out more information via the BACP website:

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