Substance use disorder (SUD) can stunt the development of social skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication. Effective communication decreases the risk of relapse and enhances treatment. Many people in recovery need to practice interpersonal skills and healthy self-expression to improve their communication. According to the Journal of Oncology Practice, “The starting place for effective communication is effective listening.” Body language is equally important. You can show interest by facing the other person, keeping open body language, and maintaining eye contact. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses evidence-based methods to teach clients effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills during recovery.

The Importance of Effective Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Skills

Effective communication ensures you can express your needs and wants during rehabilitation and ongoing recovery. In addition, it helps you learn to understand the people around you better. Being honest about how you feel and actively listening to peers will help you connect with them on a deeper level.

Treatment programs like the ones offered at Newport Beach Recovery Center help clients learn to express themselves more clearly by teaching interpersonal communication and conflict resolution. Skill development allows individuals with SUD to learn healthier coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques.

Experiential treatments, peer activities, and talk therapy can help you learn to communicate more easily with others. The ability to effectively express yourself does the following:

  • Reduces the risk of miscommunication
  • Increases positive social interactions and mutual respect
  • Provides a solid foundation for sharing and expressing ideas
  • Boosts empathy and compassion
  • Decreases communication barriers

You can form more profound bonds with others if you know how to listen and communicate in a way that avoids misunderstandings. The treatment programs at Newport Beach Recovery Center allow clients to improve verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

How You Talk About Substance Abuse Matters

Your choice of language matters when you talk about SUD and mental health topics. Educating yourself about what terms to avoid and using person-first language is important. For example, you should use the phrase “person with SUD” instead of “addict.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “For people with an SUD, stigma may stem from antiquated and inaccurate beliefs that addiction is a moral failing, instead of what we know it to be—a chronic, treatable disease from which patients can recover and continue to lead healthy lives.” By changing our vocabulary, we allow others to see substance use in a different way. The different perspective benefits you and everyone else going through SUD.

Communicating Your Needs to the Care Team

It’s crucial to communicate your needs to your care team. The better they understand your needs, motivations, and goals; the easier it will be for them to tailor your treatment program to ensure a positive outcome. Communicating openly with your care team provides vital insights they can use to create a personalized treatment plan. Realistically, communicating effectively is the only way your care team will know if you feel comfortable with your current recovery progress. As you learn verbal and nonverbal communication skills, it will become easier to speak clearly with your therapists. The more confident you feel about your ability to overcome communication challenges, the lower your risk of relapse.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Improving your communication skills should not be a complicated process. A few easy changes can have a significant effect on how you communicate. Below are three ways to express yourself more effectively.

#1 Active Participation in Individual and Group Therapy

Actively listening and participating in individual and group therapy will help you practice verbal and nonverbal communication. The inclusive and friendly environment at Newport Beach Recovery Center makes it easier for you to feel comfortable expressing yourself. During individual therapy, there is no “wrong” way to communicate, which makes it an excellent place to begin trying different things like more open body language.

#2 Set Clear Boundaries Using Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

You can use verbal and nonverbal cues to set clear boundaries with your peers, family, friends, and the people you interact with socially. Nonverbal communication changes depending on the context and specific situation. However, you can set boundaries and let others know how you feel by doing the following:

  • Displaying closed body language, including crossing your arms and slightly leaning away from the other person if you want them to back off
  • Openly discussing if something makes you uncomfortable
  • Using positive body language to encourage engagement, including having your arms at your side, slightly leaning toward them, and maintaining eye contact
  • Letting the other person know what you need to feel comfortable
  • Saying “no” or “stop” if you do not consent to what the other person wants

Despite what some people will tell you, there’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries. In fact, it’s a normal and healthy action to take. Setting social and personal boundaries will help you create a comfortable and safe space for healing.

#3 Respecting the Boundaries of Others

Part of setting clear boundaries involves accepting and respecting the boundaries of others. Effective communication requires everyone to be on the same page. You all need to feel safe and comfortable expressing yourselves. Your therapist can help you identify areas where you can improve your personal boundaries and active listening skills.

Verbal and nonverbal communication plays a vital role in how people relate to one another. Substance abuse can affect the development of healthy communication and social skills. In addition, some substances can cause physiological changes that interfere with effective communication. If you struggle to maintain healthy boundaries and relationships, you can benefit from improving your communication skills through individual and group therapy. Newport Beach Recovery Center offers a wide range of therapy options for people in recovery from substance use disorder. Effective communication can improve your rehabilitation experience. Our team can help you expand your verbal and nonverbal communication skills. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (888) 850-0363.