Kinds of Communication

  • Joyce Lishman
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


As we have seen, our clients evaluate and interpret our communications, both positively and negatively:

‘Well, she’s ’omery. She doesn’t talk posh so you can talk to her properly’ (Cohen, 1971)

‘She’s easy to talk to. I just relaxed. She has a calming effect’ (Lishman, 1985)

Such apparently simple judgements are likely to reflect a social worker’s use of a complex interaction of verbal, non-verbal and symbolic communications. This chapter introduces and defines these three kinds of interpersonal communication: symbolic, non-verbal and verbal.


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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce Lishman

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