How Communication Impacts Relationships and Mental Health

Credits: Flavio Gasperini/Unsplash

A communication model based on verbal cues and body language could help seafarers develop a stronger rapport with their crew or notice if a colleague is suffering from mental fatigue, anxiety or depression.

Four Sides Model of Communication

The Four Sides Model of Communication gives crew members from different countries and cultures a powerful tool to live and work harmoniously with one another, according to Sophia Onken, Partner and Clinical Psychologist at Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS).

Good communication comes from mutual respect and appreciation,” said Ms Onken, whose employer provides 24/7 professional mental health support to the shipping sector. Moreover, MHSS offers training programmes for building a strong rapport with colleagues and on communication, exploring how words, intonation and body language impact relationships with co-workers.

How we communicate with one another shapes relationships,” Ms Onken added. “A lack of quality in those relationships can kill us faster than obesity or doing little-to-no exercise, according to the Mental Health Foundation.”

The model can also reveal how someone who appears happy and content but is struggling mentally truly feels. “How do we know what’s really going on inside someone’s head if they appear bright and happy?” Ms Onken said.

The Four Sides Model of Communication

This is where the communication model helps. You can develop a greater understanding of how someone feels or thinks through their words, tone, intonation and mannerisms. The model gives you the skills to reflect on any message you receive or send when speaking to a fellow mariner.”

German psychologist Friedemann Schulz von Thun created the model, which shows how every message we deliver when speaking to someone has four sides. Each communication has a sender (the person speaking) and receiver (the message recipient).

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Source: Mental Health Support Solutions


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