Psychotherapy is essentially a process of communication. The student of psychotherapy needs first to learn how to perceive and interpret signals from his patient and from himself in forms differing from conventional communication. In our culture we utilize explicit verbal and behavioral expressions and hide or ignore the more affective personal signals. In most social situations, this mode of communication is adequate and is condoned as appropriate, but for the psychotherapist much more is necessary. He must be able to receive messages from his patient and himself, which arise from beneath the surface of their social façades.
Skill in psychotherapeutic communication depends upon development of the following capacities:
The recognition of the existence of nonverbal signals within behavior, and the capacity to accept their messages within the span of his own consciousness.
The ability to understand the meaning of these nonverbal, as well as the usual verbal, cues.
FLEMING J, HAMBURG DA. An Analysis of Methods for Teaching Psychotherapy with Description of a New Approach. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;79(2):179-200. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340020059014