This is an interview that I conducted with a psychologist. She works with trauma cases and relies on body language often to help "open" up the trauma victims. I plan on using this interview for parts of my CRIME subtopic.
|Scooped by Lizzie shumaker|
Interview with Cynthia Erlichman (psychologist)
LIVE Interview with Cynthia Erlichman 2/3/2013 5:43:46 PM
Lizzie: While working with trauma victims, are there any body language cues that you look for in order for them to open up?
Cynthia: So the way that I guess I would explain, when you say cues and how their behavior, how they respond in ways to help them, one of the biggest things that I look for are from a, let me think of the best way to answer how you’re asking that. So, when somebody has been through extreme abuse, one of the things that’s very difficult, their body themselves, is that they’re traumatized. So, arms folded and the way that they cross their legs or the way that they sit is usually very reflective of allowing somebody to let any kind of communication in. SO one of the things that is very important from the stand point of allowing deep communication is helping them recognize that. You know, a person opening themselves up to another from their body standpoint is usually key before their verbal side will open. So bringing their awareness to help shut off how they are in a dialogue, is key to getting them to emotionally open up.
Lizzie: Okay, and how about when they begin to start opening up, is their tone of voice like is there a specific way that they speak?
Cynthia: Um, yes. I would say that very categoric. Um when somebody has been through any kind of trauma, um speaking two dimensionally and speaking shallow from their lungs versus their diaphragm area and their stomach, because there’s an anxiety filled base when they start to talk. So a lot of times, real shallow breathing creates real soft communication and it can also be a dissociative way of speaking. If somebody talks with more strength, and more power, it’s usually speaking from their stomach area, versus their lungs.
Lizzie: Have you done any psychology regarding crime? If so what type of movements or expressions show if a person is not telling the truth?
Cynthia: When you say involving crimes, do you mean from the standpoint of the person that’s committed the crime, or have I helped, cause I’ve worked on the therapeutic side of crime from the victim. Do you mean from the victimizer, like somebody that has done and committed a crime?
Lizzie: Yeah, the person that’s committed the crime.
Cynthia: Um, I have only from the interrogation side of when they’re already known to have committed the crime. So, let’s say this way, I’ve worked with a lot of rapes, and violence, and abuse, but it’s usually when they have already been apprehended. Police stationed, so it’s already known that they’ve committed a crime. Or when people are behind the bars as far is in jail. I have worked a lot with prosecuted criminals. Because I try to work with them from a rehabilitation standpoint. I don’t know if I can answer that from a forensic piece, where I think you’re looking for an interrogation standpoint. I’ve not really worked with um criminals that way; I’ve only worked with them when they are, when it’s already known that they’ve committed a crime or when they’re behind bars already.
Lizzie: Okay so there’s no like, body language in terms of them hiding anything because its already out there?
Cynthia: Well, my answer to that would be absolutely. Um there is no question that the ability to recognize and read from the standpoint of how they interpret. You know for example, when somebody takes a polygraph test, and you watch the cues from the neurologistics of that standpoint, and their impulses, their body language responds very similar to how the dishonesty is there. Unfortunately, I’ve not personally ever spoken or interrogated anybody that way, so my answer I guess would be two parts. I guess there is no question it’s there; I’ve not personally had experience with it. So I’d hate to give basis of foundation when it’s not my personal interpretation.
Lizzie: As a psychologist, do you make a point to use body language? (I hate to use the word manipulation, but more of controlling the behavior or thoughts of the victim by purposely displaying concerned or open body language)
Cynthia: Oh absolutely, and you know what I think would probably be a better description than manipulation is almost a mimicking. There is a term it’s called kinesthetic body relating. And what that means is you trying to mirror and match a comfort level with somebody you try to put your body, your body language, and your body positioning in a way that’s very similar to the person that you’re in front of. And by allowing that to happen, it brings comfort to how the person’s reactions are. So and that happens with just not body movements, but also tone of voice, personality, things like that. It’s bringing comfort to the person that you’re working with. The kinesthetic belief is that when your body takes on an energetic component, it’s met in the other person in a way that brings them comfort and safety. So, it’s almost a mirror effect. It’s more felt that way, than let’s say manipulating. You’re allowing yourself to take on a very conscious connection to the person that you’re talking to and then they see themselves in so they feel very safe in that.
Lizzie: I know that you’re the founder of the “Women’s Sunshine Foundation”. During presentations or speaking to a group, do you have any, um, recommended ways of coming off as confident or a powerful figure?
Cynthia: Just speak from the heart. Always. And speak from a genuine place. I think the thing that always comes into play when you speak from a psychology stand point from a promise standpoint, or when your personal story or the story of those you’re speaking to are such a significantly trauma filled place the way that you can always put yourself in a position of support from those that you’re trying to speak to are to speak from a real genuine place and an authentic place. And so when I address a room, or when I address an audience that I know are affected by that type of experience, allowing me to speak from the heart, is how it’s really engaged in communication standpoint. I don’t speak about the group, I speak to the group. And I speak from a very raw place. True experience and true personal accounts, are where most people relate to and relate from. And I think while that can also be seen as a lot of emotion in a room, for most people find their deepest level of connection. I would say that on any regard, actually, quite honestly. When you speak and address from a place of your own self and your own experience, that’s always what’s going to capture a room the best. Even if it’s a topic that you don’t understand fully, I mean we’ve all been there. You’re in high school, I’m sure you can relate. To speak about something. If you believe in what you’re speaking about and you put truth and honesty in it, content takes second to the heart that’s delivering it. I think you can completely understand that statement. That’s certainly the basis of any therapeutic practice. My heart being present to somebody is volumes above what I say to the person it’s who I am to the person. That’s where it all stems from.
Lizzie: That’s a good explanation
Cynthia: Absolutely. And that’s the way I think if life were to be defined by something in any capacity of any career, who you are is volumes above what you know. Absolutely, any day. We’ve all been in a room with somebody and hear them speak, and can capture us usually is not just what they know, it’s how it’s delivered. Absolutely.
Lizzie: Okay, and when you said how it’s delivered, are there any like, body movements that you do to come off as a power figure?
Cynthia: When you speak on the stage, or when you speak in front of a room, or when you even speak one on one, I think one of the things that is always defined for me personally is opening my heart and my soul to a place of delivery. And when I actually concentrate I feel my own body language do is the thoughts that say “please allow me to give everything of myself that’s gonna touch every person in front of me in a way that is best meant for them”. And so when you speak from, I was saying this before when we were talking about a victim, when you open your heart, and you speak from your core, that delivery is absolutely felt by every person in the room. Power comes from within, so it’s not necessarily the abrasiveness and the aggressiveness, it’s the genuineness, absolutely, every time. The most soft spoken person can come across. Look at somebody like Gondi. A figure like a Gondi type personality. They can level a room with the power they, and that’s not a person that speaks in an accelerated volume, they speak from a place, of core-driven passion. It’s the passion of what you’re speaking about, that’s what gives the strength to the room.
Lizzie: While you’re not working, foresay like your just out in public or anywhere, can you ever tell if someone has experienced trauma, just by studying like their voice, or their body language or expressions?
Cynthia: Yes. I can certainly. When I interact with somebody, there is. When somebody has been wounded, and this is for me personally. When somebody has been wounded, and they have been affected in a way that it shattering of the soul, the amount of energy that can come from that gives the ability to be able to see and feel that depth. Because my heart for me personally lives very open to the work that I’m devoted to. So the connectivness life seems to have the ability. When we walk through life genuine and driven, the work that we commit to for me personally, I seem to be able to connect to that in a way that even when the emotion of the words, are spoken differently, The soul seems to bleed that in a way. That there’s a known when there’s been that kind of abuse and that kind of trauma. Um people’s ability to keep that hidden from themselves actually can have a less ability to keep that hidden from the world around them. It’s very powerful when you can meet somebody who you know has been affected, yet they don’t have to say a word. Body language in a frailty, and in a victimized place, there’s an armor that they think they’re putting up, but in reality, its seen very differently by somebody who can understand that and identify that. I think most people, if you have a specialty, for me it’s certainly the world that I breathe in and I think a lot of people it’s what they do every day, they become in touch with the cues that they see in somebody and so I’m sure that they’re similar to other careers.
Lizzie: Yeah, like they can pick up on things like outside their job.
Cynthia: Yeah, Absolutely, I just happen to have it in a realm of very extreme human emotions. So for me I’m very in touch with people’s feelings and who they are.
Lizzie: Okay well that’s all the questions I have right now. I might want to do another interview later on sometime...
Cynthia: Oh honey, absolutely, I’d love for us to get together and talk in person. I’m sorry that we couldn’t this time. But I hope this helps get you your start and just let me know how I can help!
Lizzie: Oh definitely. This helps a lot, so thank you so much!
Cynthia: Oh, sweetie, thank you, I’m glad you asked. I’m glad I can help.