Expertisecentrum Lichaamstaal Nederland


The Bodysystemics® method (BSM) was created from the limitations encountered by researchers in the field of non-verbal communication. Man is necessarily situated within a culture and a particular context.

Gestures can be misleading, even inverted, depending on elements such as the direction in which their language is written. Movements and facial expressions in these conditions cannot be strictly universal as defended by the naturalistic school of thought. They also depend on context. {more)

Creating an exhaustive list of non-verbal items is senseless without considering the subject’s relationships and can even lead to confusion. R. Birdhwhistell issued a pertinent warning to those who wanted to define the non-verbal as innate and universal.

Man cannot be excluded from the system with which he interacts. Bodysystemics can be summarised by one simple equation:


C = f(P,E) :  C = behaviorf = functionP = person , E = environment  


Bodysystemics is the study and understanding of thought processes based on non-verbal behaviour.  It follows for a large part

the paradigms developed by social constructivists and the Palo Alto group and focuses on understanding cognition and human behaviour demonstrated by non-verbal communication of the body according to the parameters defined by this group.

It is an integrated approach that includes the study of the relationship (the individual and his environment) in order to better understand the intention, emotion and motivation including the culture and verbal communication as part of the interactional context.


Analogous to spoken language, within the naturalistic approach (like that of P. Ekman) there have been attempts to compile a catalogue of names and concepts that correspond to items of non-verbal communication in the shape of an exhaustive ethogram: a dictionary.


The Bodysystemics Method focuses on understanding the system in which these names and concepts interact with each other. Therefore, a « dictionary » has been created which also includes the grammar of this 'language' in order to better understand the underlying logic, rules and principles which articulate the production of gestures, mimics and postures in their particular context.


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