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Anthony, E.J. (1977). Nonverbal and Verbal Systems of Communication—A Study in Complementarity. Psychoanal. St. Child, 32:307-325.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 32:307-325

Nonverbal and Verbal Systems of Communication—A Study in Complementarity

E. James Anthony, M.D.

Our brains are a cemetery of words. There is no way except with inner vision to explain how you feel. Thoughtless. Be careful or you will think with words. That's why I can do ballet. I can't write, I can't even spell. I am made in silence. As soon as I start speaking I stop seeing.


A STREAM OF COMMUNICATION, BOTH NONVERBAL AND VERBAL, FLOWS from every person at every moment as a function of self-expression, information, and interaction. The two systems do not appear to be in open rivalry with each other: yet, as development takes place, the verbal system gradually assumes predominance while the nonverbal one undergoes recession, becoming less noticeable and less noticed until it is almost completely overlooked except under special circumstances. This is equally true, unfortunately, even for the therapeutic situation.

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