Being approachable is an incredibly important life skill. It defines your interactions with others — whether in professional or social settings. Being approachable is especially important in the realm of psychotherapy, where approachability affects trust between patients and clients.
Although approachability is essential, it is unfortunately rarely discussed and as a result, most people assume it is a natural trait based on charisma. In reality, being approachable simply requires a key few steps. Read on more to find out how you can be a more approachable person.
APPROACHABILITY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
In a previous article, we discussed habits that psychotherapists have which affect their patients. Plenty of these habits, ranging from being distracting to constantly watching the clock, all have an undertone of unapproachability which could sour your client-therapist relationship. Being approachable is thus important in order to encourage others to open it. It’ll make clients feel more inclined to share their genuine feelings, making it easier for you to make genuine progress with them.
APPROACHABILITY IN SOCIAL SETTINGS
Humans thrive on social interaction, and in order to attract more human interaction, one must seem approachable. Being approachable helps you foster stronger relationships with friends and family, even helping you branch out of existing circles to meet new people.
HOW CAN I BE MORE APPROACHABLE?
#1 BODY LANGUAGE
Body language is a tricky thing because we often don’t notice the signals we give through our bodies. If you’re trying to be more approachable, be extra aware of your body language. Avoid crossed-arms and pointed fingers. Try eye contact, open posture and nodding instead.
#2 THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
This is especially important for psychotherapists! Approachability involves letting someone feel comfortable as they open up to you. This means no blatant criticism or negativity. It is possible to help someone learn from their mistakes without being mean! Avoid attacking a person’s actions or personality directly, instead gently guiding them to their own realizations without being discouraging.
It seems silly but smiling is one of the best ways to be approachable. It shows that you’re warm, friendly and encouraging as a person.
THAT’S ALL YOU NEED!
Does it sound way too simple? That’s because it actually is! Being approachable is all about enjoying the company of the individual you’re with, and in turn, making them feel comfortable in being with you. Don’t be afraid to open up and always be mindful of the little actions that count!