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Links:
Grave Words: Notifying Survivors About Unexpected Deaths Grave Words: Notifying Survivors About Unexpected Deaths
The Gravest Words Video The Gravest Words Video
Teaching Slides on Death Not Teaching Slides on Death Notification
Pocket Protocols for Notifying Survivors about Sudden Unexpected Deaths Pocket Protocols for Notifying Survivors about Sudden Unexpected Deaths

Non-Verbal Messages

Bodily Contact-Generally, touching the key survivor's shoulder, hand,
or arm is welcomed as a sign of closeness, no matter what the gender or
age of the parties involved. The circumstances and following the survivor's
lead should govern any additional contact.

Body Posture- The way the torso is positioned delivers the most obvious
message. Sitting forward connotes empathy. Sitting too relaxed, e.g., sitting
back or with arms draped over the furniture, connotes disinterest, fear, or anger.

Eye Movements-One of the most culturally unique factors, direct eye I
contact, suggests that the speaker is listening to the other party. (Persistent
eye contact suggests that you are in control-a necessity when survivors
are threatening to act violently. (In some cultures, how- ever, direct eye
contact is a sign of disrespect.)

Facial Expressions-How the mouth is held and how the eyebrows and
nose move during speech or in response to another person says volumes
about what the person really feels. We commonly use our eyebrows to
express disbelief, surprise, puzzlement, or anger.

Hand & Foot Gestures-Other than when making bodily contact, hands and
feet should be comfortably at rest. Sitting on one's hands or having fidgety
hands or feet suggests disinterest or deceit.

Head Position-Anything other than a neutral position connotes disinterest.
(This means that the chin should be centered over the chest- not turned away
from the survivor.) Nodding the head reinforces survivors' statements and
suggests that they should continue speaking.

Physical Proximity-Sitting next to the key survivor, or crouching in front or
beside them suggests empathy.

Relative Position to Survivors-Positioning oneself on the same level, usually
sitting, as the key survivor eliminates any suggestion of an Imbalance of power.
(The uniform or white coat is enough of a power statement.)

 

 

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