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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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No Slouching Here

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 14th 2011

No Slouching HereRemember how mom or dad or your teacher pestered you to stop slouching and sit or stand straight? It turns out they were right. Posture really is important. For example, a patient who worked with me many years ago who, despite being tall and physically fit, slouched when ever he entered my office. It was a non verbal communication that clearly expressed his dark feelings of depression and fear. It was his way of avoiding success while being convinced that he was a helpless person.

Its an accepted fact that non verbal communication is very powerful. Things like facial expressions, tone of voice, frowns, smiles, position of legs and many other such non verbal messages communicate as much or more about you than strictly verbal comments. Perhaps that is one reason why E. Mails and Online discussions are easily misunderstood.

Aren Cohen, who writes for Positive Psychology News Daily, reported research that clearly shows how posture projects feelings of confidence and even impacts on how we view ourselves. In other words, good posture non verbally communicates openness and power while also helping yourself feel and behave in those ways. These are important ingredients necessary to get ahead at work as well as in other social situations.

If you are interviewing for a job, remember to sit up straight. It will improve your chances for getting that job. At the job, do not slouch. Getting ahead often has to do more with non verbal communications than your status in the company. Posture project confidence and employers want to know that you are confident and reliable.

Remember, non verbal communication affects your behavior. If you are standing straight, you will act straight, strong and capable.

I guess this is a variation on the old saying about "having some backbone." However, that was a negative way of putting the idea. Rather, have good posture. This is something we can all do. Practice it, get used to it and it can become part of your repertoire. Besides, it can also relieve and prevent back pain!

After working on his fears and reasons for depression, my patient was able to accept the observation about his slouching. He started to straighten his shoulders and look like the strong man he really was.

Don't Slouch, Stand Tall

Your comments, questions and experiences are welcome and encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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