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How one is breathing is one aspect of behaviour-expression not to be undervalued. Breathing is, in a way, the fuel of self-expression. (“Then I had better hold my breath and …!” or “Take a deep breath and then …!”). Breath which is shallow (above the diaphragm), inhibited (reducing the volume of breath), constricted (interfering with the respiratory flow), held (disabling that which is just happening) are usually signs of restricted inner freedom. It is certainly so when this is the case habitually or if it is generally done at a specific moment (such as in the case of criticism, fear, or threatening proximity etc.). Usually the client doesn’t notice this. That is why the attentiveness of the counsellor to such action is important. You can then simply utilise instructions (“Keep breathing!”), focus the attention to it (“You are now holding your breath. Are you aware of that?”) and encourage reflection about it (“What is the benefit, if you always hold your breath when you notice how annoyed you are about your boss’s comments?”).

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