Becoming Emotionally Intelligent

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photo credit: Intersection Consulting on Flickr Creative Commons

“What really matters for success, character, happiness and life long achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ – not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.”  –Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

I’m sharing this article my counseling practice site.  Many people wonder what goes on in the counselor’s office, and what we counselors are trying to help our clients with.  I hope you find this article helpful in that regard:

You may wonder what the counseling process is all about. Part of that process is to help increase the quality of life for the counselee in all areas of their life: their relationships, career, school, and personal sense of who they are and what they are accomplishing. There has been a big emphasis on intelligence as measured by IQ. However, in the last 10-20 years, psychologist Dan Goleman has shed light on a very important area of intelligence, known as Emotional Intelligence.

Here is a great definition of emotional intelligence, as written about over at Pick the Brain:

Emotional intelligence: “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.” – Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer.

“The abilities to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others” – Daniel Goleman and Gary Cherniss.

In light of this definition, I work with my clients to do increase their emotional intelligence (or ‘people smarts’ as my younger clients would call it) in the following areas: (and I quote the following from Margaret Meloni)

Self-Awareness – A person who is self-aware understands their own moods and emotions and also how those moods and emotions may impact others.

Self-Regulation – Someone who exhibits self-regulation thinks before they act. Remember that person you worked for? The one who used to get red in the face, yell and scream and throw notebooks across the room? They were not exhibiting self-regulation at all.

Motivation – If you love to work and it is not just for money or for status; if you have a strong drive to achieve; then you know about motivation.

Empathy – The empathetic individual is able to understand the emotions of others and also learns to treat them as they wish to be treated.

Social Skill – Do you know someone who is able to meet new people and immediately develop a rapport with them? It is likely that they are very accomplished in the area of social skill.

I hope this takes some of the mystery out of that thing they call “psychotherapy.”

Here are some helpful resources which will help you build your people smarts:


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 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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  • yreadthis

    Thanks for sharing this makes all to think and know what is “Psychotherapy”.

  • steveborgman

    You are most welcome. It's not the sum total of everything that psychotherapy is, but it does describe a large part of what I do with my clients.

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  • veterinary technician

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  • James D. Becker

    I found the article to be too general. How do HFA people go about reaching these goals? What specific techniques can be used? How does the E.Q. relate to poor theory of mind? Perhaps a recommendation for more specific techniques could be suggested. Thank you.