Helical-Spiral Model Essay

Dance’s model emphasized the complexity of communication. He was interested in the evolutionary nature of the process of communication. Dance said that if communication is complex, it was the responsibility of the scholar to adapt our examination of communication to the challenge of studying something in motion. Dance includes the concept of time – this model emphasizes time in that each act can be said to be built on the others that come before it. Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model (1954) and Dance’s Helical model (1967).

Posted by topswot on January 01st 2010 to Communications Tagged models of communication My goodness this is a really old level 3 essay, i had a great laugh reading this one…as i am sure you will too! The aims of this essay are to describe in detail different forms and models of communication and to evaluate their influence on health and well-being. The models chosen to be explored are Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model (1954) and Dance’s Helical model (1967).

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Furthermore, this essay will look at the different forms of interpersonal communication and how they can impact both positively and negatively on health and well-being throughout communication. Additionally, it will explore ways in which professionals can modify and improve their interpersonal communication in health and social care settings. Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model of communication (1954) was an attempt to rectify the earlier linear models of communication. Schramm (1954) stated “It is misleading to think of the communications process as starting somewhere and ending somewhere.

It is really endless. We are little switchboard centers [sic] handling and re-routing the great endless current of information”. Therefore, the Circular model is devoted to two actors who reciprocate in identical functions throughout: encoding, decoding, and interpreting. Additionally the model offers some explanation in semantic noise and interpersonal communication and how these might affect the communication process as a whole. The model presented by Osgood and Schramm shows not only the transmission and hearing of a message, but offers explanations in how it can be perceived and understood.

The process of understanding what has been said can vary widely from person to person as there will always be a degree of semantic noise to be taken into account, such as cultural differences, background, socioeconomics, education and values. The degree of semantic noise may impact on how a message is perceived; it would also be fair to say that it can determine the feedback given, thus shape the development of future communication. One such example of semantic interference could be whereby a patient approaches his doctor who is foreign.

The patient will present and describe their symptoms, the doctor then decodes what they have heard offering a remedy. It could be that the doctor does not fully understand what symptoms the patient has verbally presented and therefore misdiagnoses. Alternatively the patient may not be able to understand the advice of the doctor due to a heavy accent. The semantic noise in this case would be language; this misinterpretation could have an impact on the health and wellbeing of the patient.

Additionally it should be bore in mind that this type of semantic noise could occur more specifically in the elderly, as they may not have a great deal experience of communicating with persons who have foreign accents. Semantic noise is hard to define, it is not always audible. An individual might be attracted to the person who is conveying a message; therefore they may not be listening to what is being said. This type of semantic noise is visual distraction. The depth of a person’s knowledge can also be seen as semantic noise.

An individual may not understand what is being said but feel they cannot express this for fear of being seen as inadequate or unintelligent; this could result in a breakdown of effective communication. Such a breakdown could be detrimental to the individual’s health and well being, particularly in social care settings. For example, a person suffering from depression may feel unable to convey their lack of understanding resulting in them being left uninformed and with feelings of inadequacy, thus isolating them further.

It should be noted that both past and present communication can play a significant part in the shaping of future communication throughout an individuals life. An individual’s history of communication and its importance is illustrated in Dance’s Helical model (1967) which depicts communication as forever moving forward. Whilst the circular model may be viewed as adequate to describe the process of communication, it has it short comings; communication cannot be depicted sufficiently at a fixed level, it is forever evolving. The Helical model attempts to show the growth of communication and how it influences future communication.

Dance’s model is a spiral that starts at birth and widens as life progresses, right through till death. It illustrates the development of an individual throughout life as their knowledge base deepens and expands through communication; thus the helical model can be seen as dynamic. Individual social factors such as environment, economic and relations change over the years. Therefore, as an individual’s life progresses and changes their cognitive field widens, not only through their own life changes but through various forms of communication encountered along the way: verbal, written and interpersonal.

The helical model depicts this growth, the more knowledgeable an individual becomes the wider the spiral. In this respect Dance’s model can be seen as positive. However, not all past communication is positive. Past communication can determine, to some degree, an individual’s behaviour, values, beliefs and knowledge base. Therefore, if an individual encounters negative communication throughout their life it will undoubtedly have an impact on their knowledge and future communication. With this in mind the spiral could perhaps be viewed as a negative rather than positive.

An example could be that an individual was raised in a home where mental illness was ridiculed and stigmatized. As this person ages they may well encounter mental health problems of their own; their past communication will almost certainly have an impact on their approach to dealing with their own health problems. They may choose to ignore the illness through fear of rejection, labelling and isolation, thus resulting in the illness progressing and perhaps having a damaging and prolonged impact on their health and wellbeing.

However, in the field of health care settings the Helical model could be viewed as positive, it indicates that the more information received the greater the knowledge base: in this sense the model is empowering. If a health care worker can empathise with the service user and provide them with information at a level of which they understand then this could lead to a greater depth of knowledge; thus allowing the service user to move on and upwards.

Both the Circular and Helical models pay acknowledgement to interpersonal communication; recognizing that it plays a vital role in how messages are perceived and understood, this form of communication will, without doubt, be present throughout. Communication involves the swapping of symbols. People use not only words but interpersonal communication in different ways, with different meanings, this complicates the process further. Communication is inevitable, even attempts not to communicate communicates something as depicted in The Spiral of Silence model (Noelle-Neumann. E, 1984).

Furthermore, voice tone, gestures, posture and facial expressions all communicate something. Facial expressions reveal emotions, opinions and moods. Whilst facial expressions are universal many are shaped by cultural usage and rules. The “Japanese are taught to mask negative facial expressions with smiles and laughter and to display less facial affect overall, leading some Westerners to consider the Japanese inscrutable” (Burgoon. 1989). Additionally Mehrabian (1971) concluded that in all communication 7% happens in spoken words, 38% through voice tone and 55% by body language.

Therefore a health care professional must acknowledge that regardless of what is being said, interpersonal communication has a dramatic impact on the recipient’s perception and understanding of the message. In a health care setting it is imperative to balance both verbal and interpersonal communication; the professional must be objective, casting their own morals and beliefs to one side. However, at times an individual’s interpersonal communication can be conflicting with the spoken words; whilst saying they understand their tonality, facial expressions or body language could be saying the complete opposite.

Similarly like verbal communication there are a number of contexts that influence interpersonal communication: psychological, relational, situational, environmental and cultural. Therefore, health care professionals will need to acknowledge and understand these contexts in relation to the service user. Being mindful that they will need to modify and control their interpersonal communication in order for the message they give to be perceived in the manner in which it is intended.

For example whilst a health care professional may find something improper it may seem perfectly acceptable and rational to the service user in relation to their psychological state. When a person is suffering from mental illness communication may be perceived and understood in a way in which it is not intended, as can the communication that the sufferer extends. This misapprehension can have a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of any individual. As expressed by Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1604) “There have been many who, not knowing how to mingle the useful and the pleasing in the ight proportions, have had all their toil and pains for nothing”. In conclusion, it appears that communication is not a static picture or indeed carried out at a singular level; there are many factors that affect the way in which communication is given, perceived and ultimately understood. Whilst Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model goes some way in explaining the processes and contributing factors of communication it does little in showing the true dynamics of communication as depicted in Dance’s Helical model.

With that in mind it would be fair to say that communication determines, to some extent, who we are and why we hold the beliefs and values that we do. The impacts that communication can have on health and wellbeing are enormous. It is vital that health care professionals be able to empathise with the service user for successful communication to take place. They should be mindful that it is not only what they say but the unspoken words too that impact on how a message is perceived and understood. All elements of communication are irreversible: once communication has happened it cannot be erased.

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