Helical-Spiral Model

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Dance’s model emphasizes the complexity of communication and its evolution. He proposes that researchers should tailor their examination of communication to acknowledge its dynamic quality. Dance’s model also acknowledges the importance of time, as each action is influenced by previous ones. This aligns with 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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This essay will analyze different forms of interpersonal communication and their impacts on health and well-being. It will also investigate strategies for professionals to improve their interpersonal communication in health and social care settings. Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model of communication (1954) was developed to rectify previous linear models. As stated by Schramm (1954), “It is inaccurate to perceive the communication process as having a beginning and an end.”

The text suggests that communication is continuous and infinite, with individuals acting as switchboard centers that manage a constant flow of information. The Circular model emphasizes the roles of encoding, decoding, and interpreting performed by two people. Additionally, it takes into account the effects of semantic noise and interpersonal communication on the overall process. Osgood and Schramm’s model not only illustrates message transmission and reception but also offers insights into perception and comprehension.

Understanding a message can vary among individuals due to factors such as cultural differences, background, socioeconomics, education, and values. These factors contribute to semantic noise, which can impact how a message is perceived and influence the feedback given. As a result, semantic noise plays an important role in shaping future communication. An example of this type of interference can be seen when a foreign patient consults with a doctor.

The process of diagnosing a patient involves the patient describing their symptoms and the doctor interpreting them to find a solution. However, there are instances where the doctor may misinterpret the symptoms, leading to an incorrect diagnosis. Similarly, patients with difficulty understanding due to strong accents can experience a language barrier as a form of semantic noise that could impact their overall health and well-being.

Moreover, it is crucial to acknowledge that semantic noise may particularly arise among the elderly because they lack familiarity in communicating with individuals who possess foreign accents. Semantic noise is challenging to define and does not always manifest audibly. Occasionally, an individual may become so engrossed by the messenger that they neglect to focus on the actual message being conveyed, resulting in a form of visual distraction. Additionally, one’s level of knowledge can also be regarded as a type of semantic noise.

Ensuring effective communication is essential in social care settings for the well-being of individuals. However, there is a potential risk of breakdown in communication if someone doesn’t comprehend the message but hesitates to express their confusion out of fear of being judged. This can result in feelings of inadequacy and isolation, particularly for those already struggling with depression. Therefore, it is crucial to tackle any obstacles hindering effective communication to avoid adverse effects on the individual.

Both past and present communication have a significant impact on future communication in an individual’s life. The importance of an individual’s communication history is shown in Dance’s Helical model (1967), which portrays communication as constantly moving forward. Although the circular model is sufficient for describing the communication process, it has limitations. Communication cannot be adequately represented at a stagnant level, as it is constantly changing. The Helical model aims to demonstrate the development of communication and its influence on future communication.

The model proposed by Dance depicts the continuous growth and expansion of an individual’s knowledge base throughout their lifetime. It represents a spiral that starts at birth and expands as life progresses, encompassing various social factors such as environment, economics, and relationships. This dynamic helical model emphasizes the deepening of cognitive understanding through communication. As individuals experience changes in their lives and encounter different forms of communication, including verbal, written, and interpersonal, their cognitive field expands.

The helical model visualizes how an individual’s knowledge grows, depicting it as a spiral pattern that expands their understanding. This highlights the positive aspect of Dance’s model. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognize that not all past forms of communication are beneficial. Previous communication can impact an individual’s behavior, values, beliefs, and knowledge to some degree. As a result, if someone encounters negative communication throughout their life, it will inevitably influence their knowledge and future communication. Given this perspective, the spiral could be seen as having a negative effect rather than a positive one.

One possible situation is when a person is raised in a household that diminishes and stigmatizes mental illness. As they age, they may encounter their own mental health problems, and their previous experiences will probably impact how they cope with those difficulties. They might choose to ignore their illness out of concern for being criticized, categorized, and isolated, which can result in the advancement of their condition and potentially harmful and enduring consequences on their general health and well-being.

In the field of health care settings, the Helical model is seen as positive because it highlights that receiving more information contributes to a larger knowledge base. This idea of the model is empowering. If a health care worker can understand and relate to the service user and effectively communicate information in a way that they can comprehend, it can result in a deeper understanding for the service user. Ultimately, this enables the service user to progress and advance.

Both the Circular and Helical models acknowledge the importance of interpersonal communication. They recognize that it is essential for how messages are perceived and understood. Interpersonal communication will undoubtedly be present throughout. Communication involves the exchange of symbols. People use various forms of interpersonal communication with different meanings, which complicates the process further. Communication is unavoidable. Even attempts not to communicate still convey a message, as depicted in The Spiral of Silence model (Noelle-Neumann. E, 1984).

Furthermore, various forms of communication include voice tone, gestures, posture, and facial expressions. Facial expressions have the ability to convey emotions, opinions, and moods universally. However, cultural norms can also influence facial expressions. For instance, in Japanese culture, individuals are often taught to conceal negative emotions with smiles and laughter. This difference may make it challenging for some Westerners to comprehend their true feelings.

In addition to this, Mehrabian (1971) conducted a study that determined communication comprises 7% spoken words, 38% voice tone, and 55% body language.

Interpersonal communication plays a vital role in the perception and understanding of messages within a healthcare environment. It is essential for healthcare professionals to recognize this impact, irrespective of the message content. Striking a balance between verbal and interpersonal communication is crucial, requiring objectivity and the setting aside of personal morals and beliefs. Nevertheless, there are occasions when an individual’s nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language, may contradict their spoken words and convey an entirely different message.

Interpersonal communication is influenced by various contexts such as psychological, relational, situational, environmental, and cultural factors. Health care professionals must be aware of and comprehend these contexts when interacting with service users. They need to adjust and manage their interpersonal communication in order to ensure that their intended message is received correctly.

The perception of something as improper by a health care professional may differ from that of a service user, who might view it as acceptable and rational based on their psychological state. Misinterpretation in communication can occur when someone is suffering from mental illness, leading to differences between what is said and what is understood. This misinterpretation can greatly impact an individual’s health and well-being. As Don Quixote stated in 1604, “There have been many who, not knowing how to mingle the useful and the pleasing in the right proportions, have had all their toil and pains for nothing.” In conclusion, communication is not a static process but rather influenced by various factors that affect its delivery, perception, and ultimate comprehension. While Osgood and Schramm’s Circular model offers some explanation of communication processes and contributing factors, Dance’s Helical model better captures the true dynamics of communication.

Communication has a significant impact on our identity, beliefs, values, health, and well-being. Healthcare professionals must be able to understand and empathize with their patients in order to communicate effectively. They should also be aware that both spoken and unspoken messages can influence how a message is understood. It’s important to remember that once a message is conveyed, it cannot be reversed.

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Helical-Spiral Model. (2018, Apr 16). Retrieved from


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