Two studies explored the link between health care providers' patterns of nonverbal communication and therapeutic efficacy. In Study 1, physical therapists were videotaped during a session with a client. Brief samples of therapists' nonverbal behavior were rated by naive judges. Judges' ratings were then correlated with clients' physical, cognitive, and psychological functioning at admission, at discharge, and at 3 months following discharge. Therapists' distancing behavior was strongly correlated with short- and long-term decreases in their clients' physical and cognitive functioning. Distancing was expressed through a pattern of not smiling and looking away from the client. In contrast, facial expressiveness, as revealed through smiling, nodding, and frowning, was associated with short- and long-term improvements in functioning. In Study 2, elderly subjects perceived distancing behaviors of therapists more negatively than positive behaviors.