“Easy to Sense But Hard to Define”: Charismatic Nonverbal Communication and the Psychotherapist

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Social psychologists have described charisma as the ability to move and inspire others via dramatic flair. The use of charismatic nonverbal behavior is a learnable social skill empirically linked to the success of leaders, physicians, educators, and others, but examined only rarely among psychotherapists. The present article overviews positive effects of charismatic nonverbal communication style, points to literature on its role in social influence, offers possible mechanisms for its utility in psychotherapy, and suggests research on its application in the therapeutic arena.

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