Session Tag: Relationship

Session 2: Application of the communication model in the case study

Learning Outcomes

  • Being able to apply appropriate ways (verbal and nonverbal) to communicate.

Session Content

Read the case study about the two nurses. Try to analyze the communicative situation using Schulz von Thun’s communication model (the four ear recipient).

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Session 1: What is COMMUNICATION?

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session students should be able to:

  • Explain what communication means
  • Understand and explain the link between communication and relationship
  • To introduce the 5 axioms of communication

Session Content

Communicators are born, but good communicators are made!



DEF: “To communicate” comes from the latin word “comunicare” that means “to put in common, to share””

What is shared in communication are not material goods, but messages expressing intentions, sensations, thoughts, feelings, information.

Communicating is different from speaking, passing information, making monologues, criticizing, judging. It does not mean “sending” messages, but it is a social and reciprocal act of participation, through the use of meaningful symbols between different individuals and groups (therefore interacting, relating).

Communication establishes a relationship with another individual.


Communication and relationship

It’s now clear that “communication” is and ever present feature of human interaction, the basis of every human relationship and the relationships between human beings are determined by emotional, cognitive, motivational and physical factors, therefore, communication involves all levels of human and social reality.

Communication is a dynamic process, that is, it implies a response from the recipient.

Since communication is relationship, and it reaches its goals only in relationship, the ideal situation to communicate is one full of feedback and direct contact, that is face-to-face communication.


The five axioms of communication


The Austrian psychologist, communication theorist and philosopher Paul Watzlawick has finally formulated five axioms of communication, helping to describe the processes of communication that take place during interaction and better understand “what communication process is”.

The five axioms:

  1. One cannot not communicate.

It is impossible not to communicate because it is impossible not to have behaviors.

Everything one does is a message, everything is communication and has a message value (activity or inactivity, words or silence, …)


  1. Every communication has a content and relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former and is therefore a meta-communication.

Communication is made by content and relation of the people in communication process.

Content refers to the actual subject matter of what is being discussed.

The relationship level of a communicative act has to do with how the two communicators view one another and how they convey it.


  1. The nature of a relationship is dependent on the punctuation of the partners’ communication procedures.

It is concerned with how participants punctuate their communicative sequences. Different punctuations make people see the sequence of events differently and may lead to endless conflicts that make pointing the finger at each other a pointless exercise. No one participant’s behaviour can be said to cause the other’s.


  1. Human communication involves both digital and analogic modalities”

The digital code is what the person says, what the words actually mean: the verbal communication

The analogical code has to do with how something is said or the nonverbal cues that go along with it.

This means that someone can convey two opposing messages at once, which may cause problems.


  1. Inter-human communication procedures are either symmetric or complementary, depending on whether the relationship of the partners is based on differences or parity.”

This means that either the participants in the system are on equal ground with regards to power relations (caregiver-caregivers), or one of them is over the other (caregiver-older person).

If it is true that one cannot fail to communicate because each of our words or actions is a stimulus that is sent and interpreted by the external world, it is also true that the awareness of such communication is not always so clear.

Communication is an interactive process between a sender (the one who sends the message) and a receiver (the one who receives it).

This process is not linear but circular, since both the sender and the recipient damage and at the same time receive information: the message is sent by the sender, it is decoded by the receiver who gives a return response, which is in turn received and decoded by the person which has now become recipient.

We’ll analyse it in Session 2.